Keeping Up With the Playtesters…Winter Olympics Edition

Here at Tennis Warehouse we are anxiously counting down the days until the BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells! So to pass the time until then, we are keeping tabs on the ATP and WTA tournaments going on, but have also found ourselves fixated on the Winter Olympics around here! You may have heard the shriek from our office that we let out when we watched Shaun White’s two runs in the Half Pipe the other day! Not to mention, we have all been rocking some red, white and blue apparel and are learning about new athletes, not to mention we are intrigued by the winter sports and determined to try and perfect them ourselves.

So I asked some of my fellow playtesters 3 questions about this year’s Winter Olympics:

  • Favorite Winter Olympic Sport to watch?
  • Favorite Olympic Athlete?
  • If you could compete in any winter sport, what would it be?

Check out their answers and be sure to check out some of our patriotic gear!

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Keeping Up With The Playtesters…

It is playtest season here at Tennis Warehouse! Which means we are furiously playtesting new racquets daily! Which brings about this week’s question for my fellow playtesters,

“If you can’t use your ‘go-to’ racquet of choice, what racquet will you use?”

Here’s how they answered…
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Keeping Up With the Playtesters

I always get a bit bummed the couple days after a Grand Slam ends. For two weeks straight I had hours on end of awesome tennis to watch (good thing Davis Cup is back in action this weekend), and now football is the only thing I see when I turn on the TV (which, isn’t a bad thing, go Niners, it just isn’t tennis!). Anyway, to recap our US Open picks, my picks were knocked out by the 4th or 5th day of the US Open, while Karly and Jason were the only two playtesters who called the US Open 2013 Champions — and Tiffani was oh, so close with her Gasquet pick! This week, since I don’t have any live tennis to watch today, I decided to bug my fellow playtesters and ask them,

“Who from the WTA or ATP would play doubles with? (We already answered the mixed doubles question, so stay within your gender on this one!)”

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Keeping Up with the Playtesters…US Open Picks!

The US Open is just days away (I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!). Working at TW is always fun during the tournaments because we all have our favorites and are glued to the matches, so of course I wanted to know who the playtesters were picking to win it all this year! Check out their answers and let us know who you pick to win it all this year at Flushing Meadows!

“Who are your picks to win the 2013 US Open?”

Granville: “It’s not going to be pretty – Djokovic and Radwanska (Aggie).”
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Keeping Up with the Playtesters…round 3!

This week I wanted to know what items the playtesters have been favoring over the summer months. If you have a question you want answered by the playtesters, be sure to email us and let us know what you would ask the playtesters! (feedbacktw@tennis-warehouse.com)

TW Playtester Favorites - Summer Edition

Check out what our TW Playtesters had to say when asked,

What is your favorite tennis related item or accessory this summer? Continue reading

Keeping Up With the Playtesters…round 2!

This week’s question is a fun one. As you may or may not know, our playtesters are a competitive bunch, so check out how they answered when asked,

If you could pick anyone from the ATP/WTA to play MIXED doubles with, who would you pick and why?!

photos courtesy of Cynthia Lum

photos courtesy of Cynthia Lum

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Keeping Up with the Playtesters!

Welcome to the first installment of Keeping Up with the Playtesters!

Everything you ever wanted to know (and more) from our team of playtesters at Tennis Warehouse. Feel free to email in any questions (feedbacktw@tennis-warehouse.com) you have and want answered, whether it be about equipment, apparel, court rituals, tennis, etc.!

So let’s get to it!

Question: What is your favorite pump-up/pre-match song?
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Meet the Playtesters – Jason Huang

Hi!

Let’s take a second to introduce you to our newest weekly blog. Each week we will randomly select a Tennis Warehouse playtester and conduct an interview along with a short clip of his/her playing style. While we already have a Playtester page that tells about each playtester’s favorite racquets, strings, shoe, etc., this blog will go into a more detailed look at each playtester’s tennis career as well as give some insider info on being a TW playtester.

First up, we have Jason Huang.  Jason is the social media mastermind of our Facebook page and Twitter account.  You can see him on many racquet and shoe reviews in addition to a couple of surprise cameo appearances in a Liquidation Vlog.

Click to view Video Footage of Jason

Racquet of Choice: Boris Becker Delta Core London (customized)

String of Choice: Polyfibre TCS 16L

Shoe of Choice: Asics Gel Resolution 3

Apparel of Choice: Tennis Warehouse gear of course!

When/Why did you start playing tennis?

I started playing in junior high when my dad would take my sister and me to the courts. But I didn’t really get more serious about it until high school when I joined the tennis team. Made varsity doubles my freshman and sophomore years and varsity singles the last 2 years. Yea, we weren’t very good.

Who inspires you to play tennis?

Anyone better than me. Whether I’m watching tennis on TV or at the TW court, when I see players play and hit the shots that I can’t hit, it makes me want to play and practice more. What really inspires me is the idea of continuing to better myself on the court.

What is your favorite shot to hit and why?

High backhand down the line or reactionary volleys. Oh, sorry, it says “favorite,” not “despised.” My favorite shot to hit on a consistent basis would be my forehand down the line. But the shot that I love, but don’t hit often, is the drop shot. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing your opponent running as hard as they can to a ball only to watch it double bounce before they can get to it. I think it’s probably due to the fact that it has happened to me so many times (thanks, Chris).

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

I first started with a Wilson Sledge Hammer 2.3 or something like that. It had a fan sting pattern and a beam width of a 2×4. In high school I used a Wilson Hammer 5.0. Then I found the Radical family. I’ve owned the iRadical, Flexpoint Radical and Microgel Radical. Then I went onto the Wilson KFactor KBlade Tour for a year before I found the younger, sexier Head Youtek Speed Pro. After a 6 month stint, I then moved on to the Volkl Powerbridge 9 (customized) for another year. I was pretty happy with my relationship with the 9 ’til the Boris Becker Delta Core London came out. After one hit with it, I dropped the 9 like a bad habit. And here I am today. Sure, that might seem like a lot of racquets, but wait ’til you see Spencer’s list.

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

Well, in my mind, I’d say my game is similar to Rafael Nadal, but slightly better and faster. But then reality kicks in, and I get sad. I think my game is probably most similar to James Blake. It was more apparent when I had a one-handed backhand, but I think the style is still the same. Try to hit big forehands, run around the backhand if possible, and only come up to net to shake hands. Yup, sounds about right.

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

I have two. The first one was when I was in high school. Pete Sampras vs. Alex Corretja at the 1996 US Open Quarterfinals. All I really remember is Pete puking his guts out in the 5th set tie-break, stepping up to the line and dumping a slow first serve like he had nothing left then blasting a huge 2nd serve ace out of nowhere. And the other was much more recent. The 2008 Nadal vs Federer Wimbledon final. So much has already been said about it, just give it a quick Google search. That was the best tennis match I have ever watched. Ever.

Do you have any superstitions before playing a match?

No. Superstitions are for the weak.

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

This hurts me to recall, but it was my loss last year at the Santa Maria Open. It was the first round, and I was up against the #1 seed. Mind you, this was my first tournament in 9 years, so I was nervous. The match started, and we traded breaks back and forth, next thing I know, I won the first set 7-6. Second set starts, and I get a break early. Fast forward a bit, I’m serving at 5-4, 40-30. Yes, I had match point. I walked up to the baseline, bounced the ball three times and told myself to just get it in. It didn’t have to be a big serve, just spin it in. First serve, just long. OK, no biggie, got one more serve. Bottom of the net. It wasn’t even close. I just double faulted on match point! I ended up losing that game, and losing that set in another tie breaker. Then it was all downhill from there. My lower back was starting to hurt; actually, everything started to hurt. Third set started with me serving, I held serve, 1-0. 15 minutes later, I lost 6-1. It was a 3 and a half hour match that left me both mentally and physically exhausted. And to make matters worse, it was video taped for the world to see.

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

Yea, it’s called my entire right arm. In high school it was tennis elbow. And since working at TW, I’ve had golfers elbow, wrist pain and shoulder pain. But nothing that was serious enough to keep me off the court for more than a week. I just need lots of ibuprofen, Kinesio Tape, compression sleeves, cold packs and Icy Hot.

What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?

Well, there are many perks of being a playtester. But my favorite part is, obviously, getting to try out all the tennis gear. But not only that, I generally get to try out all the new tennis gear BEFORE 99.9% of people even have a chance to look at it. Makes me feel special. I need to feel special from time to time.

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

For this particular question, I like to associate “favorite” along with “challenging.” Because I am a glutton for pain. Being one of the more, how you say, “suckier” testers on the team, almost everyone I hit with is fun and challenging. I love hitting with Brittany and Carol because they literally blow me off the court with their shots, so it’s fun just trying to keep up with them. I love playing against Mark Boone because that man is a wall! We’d rally and have 20-30 ball rallies where, at the end of it, we’re both gasping for air. Each playtester presents a unique set of challenges, and I like that. I know, I know, how very PC of me. Just call me Switzerland.

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

OK, well, this goes back to the question above. Most of the playtesters give me more than I can handle but if I had to choose just one, it’d have to be Brittany. Typically, my strength is hitting my heavy forehand deep and high to my opponent’s backhand. It usually results in a weak, short return where I can hit another forehand. Well, with Brittany, her favorite shot is a high backhand that she takes early, and pelts down the line. What a jerk.

What has been your favorite review and why?

Even though it was for Aprils Fools, it has got to be the Junior Racquet Review. It was hilarious watching us try to play out points with 19-25 inch racquets. Trust me, it’s much harder than we make it look. Remember, we’re professionals. That, and the power of editing.

Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?

Who made you ask this question? Chris? Spencer? I see what you’re trying to accomplish here. I have two. One is The Forehand, because I like to rip my forehand. Simple. The other is, no, was, Wheels. Let’s just say I wasn’t the fastest and quickest person getting to shots. But that was back in the day! I like to think that I’ve made strides (pun intended) in my footwork speed and anticipation.

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

Brittany, TW