Meet the Playtesters- Jose Angulo

Hi Hi!

Next up on the list of our Tennis Warehouse Playtesters is Jose. He is a Customer Service Representative and a Master Racquet Technician.  He playtests both racquets and shoes. Check out his interview below.

Click to View Video of Jose

Racquet of Choice: Prince Exo3 Tour 18×20
String of Choice: Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power
Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 4
Apparel of Choice: Nike

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing tennis in high school.  The only reason I tried out for tennis is because I was short a PE unit to graduate during my sophomore year.  I tried out for every sport and the only sport that took me in was tennis.  Just like any other sport, I get really competitive and I was tired of being the rookie so I decided to work on my tennis.  By the time I became decent, I managed to fall in love with the sport and continued to played throughout college at Allan Hancock Community College.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Rafa! Just the heart that Rafa puts in the court makes me want to play more tennis.  But overall, just watching professional tennis players and seeing what they do is impressive to me.  I could go watch them play live and I find myself to be more interested in watching them practice than to see their actual match.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

SERVE!  I love the serve because it gets me a lot of easy and free shots.  It is the only shot that I could really take my time on with out feeling pressure from my opponent.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

I started tennis with a inexpensive frame called the Prince TT Thunder.  If I remember correctly it was an oversize frame that was head heavy and a real light static weight.  I ended up throwing that frame away when the strings broke since back then I had no idea you could restring a racquet.  By my junior year of high school, my coach hooked me up with two Head Intelligent Instincts that I used for the whole year.  By my senior year, I needed to get something with more control and upgraded to the Head Prestige Mid and finished high school with that frame.  My first year of college tennis, I played with the Wilson K Six tour 90 (Roger’s Frame).  I figured since the great Roger was using that frame it would benefit me.  I was wrong!  That frame was demanding and I was shanking a lot of balls.  My last year in college I went back to Head and customized two Head Extreme racquets to 12.3 ounce static weight and about a 330 swingweight.  After college, one of my friends and former play-tester Danny Castro got me hooked to the Volkl Power Bridge 10s.  But after a while, I ended up going back to 100 square inch headsize with my current frame the Prince EXO3 Tour 100 18×20.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

I would say Pete Sampras but without his accuracy or power.  I am having a hard time breaking 110 mph on my first serve let alone 135mph.  I like playing aggressive and putting away points early.  Or just like Pete, I let my serve do a lot of my talking.


What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

Rafa Nadal vs Roger Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon Final where Nadal beat Roger 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

At the Avila Bay Club in the first round of a tournament.  I had to play a close friend of mine, Rob Hansen.  He had a higher ranking than me when we played college together but I wanted to earn his respect since I have never been able to beat him in a match.  The final score was 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.  It was really close match and I remember our match gave the tennis director a hard time because it was so long he got behind schedule.  During the match, I was having a hard time talking to him during change overs.  We were both in the zone and I knew I had an advantage since he had stopped playing for a while and his timing was not there.  But at the end of the day, we still managed to grab a beer and make a memory.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?

First day of practice in high school during my senior year I decided to be cool and wear big studs earrings.  During our practice we were practicing closing the net out from a volley position.  One of my team members ended up hitting an overhead at me and knocked out my right earring out.  I guess since it was so bright it gave him a target.  Now I either take them off or wear small ones.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

The worse injury was a left groin injury that I had pulled during practice in college.  The Alan Hancock Community College staff did a great job on helping me heal but I did have to miss a couple of matches and was in about a month and a half of pain.  But other than that, I have had no serious injuries.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Being able to try new material before it hits the market.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

Troy since we both understand our games. Plus I am trying to fix my weak areas and he does a great job on exposing them for me.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

Mr. Troy Lara and Chris Edwards.  They both like to move me around and for some reason my serve does not affect them at all.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Head Prestige Mid since I really hard a good comparison from the old models.

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Please check back next week when we highlight our last playtester in the final installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”

Brittany, TW

Meet the Playtesters- Sean Hemmer

Howdy!

Our next featured Tennis Warehouse Playtester is Sean.  Sean can be seen on  playtests of all different racquets and shoes. He is a certified Master Racquet Technician and is a supervisor for our Customer Service department. Check out his interview below.

Click to view Video Footage of Sean

Racquet of Choice: Head Youtek Prestige Pro
String of Choice: Kirschbaum Pro Line II Black
Shoe of Choice: Nike Court Ballistec 2.3
Apparel of Choice: Preferably no shirt in the California sun but more  often than not I gravitate towards Nike

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started getting into tennis as soon as I moved out to California in 7th grade about 12 years ago.  My dad got me into tennis after my little league baseball career in Texas ended in failure.  I’m also not much of a team sports person so tennis worked out in that regard as well.  My theory is if I win I want all the glory and if I lose I want all the blame which is why I much prefer singles over doubles.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Everyone who I play against inspires me to continue to improve.  My competitive nature on the tennis court drives me to constantly want to become a better player and when I don’t play well or are straight up outplayed, it makes me want to come back stronger the next time.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

I love hitting my forehand when I’m on the run and can barely get to the shot.  Because my forehand is so wristy, I’m able to come up with some pretty amazing passing shots from that side both down the line and cross court.  That look of disbelief on my opponent’s face brings a smile to mine.

What racquets have you used  (not tested) during your tennis career?

My first racquet was definitely a Head Titanium Ti.S6 (wonder where I developed a power oriented game).  In high school I moved on to using the Wilson Hammer 5.2 frame with the sweet orange paint job.  After that my local pro shop hopped on the Babolat band wagon and my coach convinced me to try one out.  I ended up with the Babolat Drive Z-Tour which I still have a few frames of to this day.  In an effort to replace those racquets I was using a customized Babolat AeroPro Drive for a while until I settled on the Head Youtek Prestige Pro about 6 months ago.

If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?

It’s too difficult pick just one player that I like to tailor my game after.  It’s more of a combination between Michael Chang speed, some Rafa buggy whip forehand, some Fed slice backhand in there, and a serious case of Safin temper.

What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?

One of my favorite matches off all time to watch on TV was the 2000 U.S. Open final when Safin completely outplayed Sampras to take the title.  By far the most incredible match I’ve seen in person was last year at the BNP Paribas Open tournament where Agassi / Sampras / Federer / and Nadal threw down on some epic doubles.

Do you have any superstitions before playing a match?

I actually hate the whole superstitions thing so much that I make a point to break all of the superstitious rules that I can just to prove to myself that they have no bearing on the outcome of the match.  I enjoy walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, not knocking on wood, throwing the entire salt shaker forward, and stepping on every line on the court.

Do you have pre-match meals you like to eat before a tournament?

I try to make sure to eat a huge meal the night before I have a match, usually some kind of pasta.  Of course now that I think about it, a huge meal of pasta is something I enjoy a couple nights a week, so nothing new there.

What has been your most memorable tennis match (win or lose)?

I typically remember the matches in which I become the most angry, at my opponent or myself.  I was playing an important doubles match in my high school playoffs and I had gotten on the other team’s case about sketchy line calls.  They took offense to this and decided to call a line judge over because he claimed our calls on his big first serve were complete crap.  I had a little bit of a Sampras vs. Courier in ’95 flashback and when I get angry I can play some fantastic tennis.  I took over and we dominated them for the rest of the match.  Definitely a gratifying feeling.

I also got to attend a charity even before the BNP tournament a couple years ago where I got the opportunity to play with some of the pros.  I played a few games with Ivan Ljubicic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Shahar Peer,  Jensen Murphy and Fernando Verdasco which turned out to be one of the more memorable tennis experiences of my career.

Have you had any injuries? For how long?  How did you deal with them?

Unfortunately I’m fairly injury prone when it comes to any activity outside of tennis but I’ve only had one real tennis injury that’s affected my ability to play.  A couple years ago I severely sprained my ankle to the point where I needed crutches to walk around normally, not that I actually used the crutches like the doctor recommended.  The injury kept me off the tennis court for 6 to 8 weeks which was just about the most frustrating part of the injury.

Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?

I know this is the politian answer to the question but I like hitting with everyone who playtests with me.  Tennis is a game where no two players have exactly the same style.  The challenge is to make myself such a complete player that I’m able to deal with all sorts of shots and styles.

Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?

My toughest matchup is definitely against Chris.  He uses all of these stupid drop shots that I can get to without problem but then he’s too good around the net for me to win the point without coming up with multiple great shots.  Plus, I’m used to getting some free points off my serve and Chris hasn’t missed a return against me in what seems like years.  I’m coming for ya Vlogman…

What has been your favorite review and why?

The Yonex V Core 100 S has been one of my favorite playtests to date simply because of how I was playing that day, not necessarily because of the racquet itself.  It just happened to be one of those days where I couldn’t miss a shot and every forehand I hit found a line.  If you check out the playtest, Brittany and I have some great points.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

The Hammer, Hemmer Time, Sean “2nd Gear” Hemmer, that guy with the forehand

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Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of, “Meet the Playtesters.”

Ad out,

Brittany

Pete vs Safin

What better way to spend a Monday than at the LA Open watching the exhibition between Pete Sampras and Marat Safin? We felt priviledged to visit the beautiful campus of UCLA to hear the “Ooos” and “Ahhhs” from those supporting Team USA or Team Mother Russia. Not only was it great tennis, but also truly an honor to watch two prestigious men playing the game we love.

Here are a few pictures from our trip. We also give a shout out to those of you who support Tennis Warehouse and recognized us at the event! I might be down there again Saturday and Sunday, so if you see me feel free to say Hi! =)

Peace Sign,
Kana