Our next featured Tennis Warehouse Playtester is the one and only Spencer Boller. He is an Assistant Web Editor at Tennis Warehouse. You can find him on racquet and shoe reviews as well as hosting Liquidation vlogs (my personal favorite Liquidation vlog, make sure to watch the end!). Also, Spencer is the current Reverse Off Champion. Check out his interview below.
Click to View Video of Spencer
Racquet of Choice: Prince EXO3 Tour 100 (16×18)
String of Choice: Weiss Cannon Mosquito Bite
Shoe of Choice: Nike Vapor 8 Tour
Apparel of Choice: Nike
When/Why did you start playing tennis?
I started getting interested in tennis about the same time John McEnroe became a force at Wimbledon. You do the math. It was purely a seasonal interest for me as basketball and baseball were the sports I played in school. I loved McEnroe, Edberg and Sampras, and Wimbledon was the tournament I loved watching most. Those three guys are why I have a one-handed backhand. Borg? Connors? Agassi? Poppycock
Who inspires you to play tennis?
Well, Fed for one. He’s got all the shots and executes with such grace and fluidity. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that? Then there’s Radek Stepanek of course. Seriously. Love his game and his confidence. Who else have you seen do “The Worm” on court after a match? I know, I know, he has a two-handed backhand, but I no longer discriminate.
What is your favorite shot to hit and why?
I can’t say I have one favorite shot, but I do like to drive a backhand cross court from inside the baseline and follow it into net. I’m not picky, though. Any shot that wins me the point is equally my favorite. Backhand up the line. Yes. Forehand angle. Sure. Net cord winner. Uh huh. Shank lob? You bet! Of course the pretty shots are nice, but either way, I won’t complain. I’m sure Brad Gilbert would agree.
What racquets have you used (not tested) during your tennis career?
Wilson NTour 2, Wilson KTour, Wilson KBlade Tour, Wilson Kobra Tour, Babolat Pure Storm Ltd and Prince EXO3 Tour 100. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t recall them all.
If you could compare your game style to a pro’s (past or present), who would it be and why?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’ve seen my game on video, and the fist of reality hits me square in the jaw. My game ain’t as pretty as what I pictured in my own mind. Thus, I wouldn’t insult anyone by comparing my game to theirs.
What has been your favorite match you have ever watched (live or on TV)?
It would have to be Game 6 of the 1980 finals when Magic started at centered for an injured Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The rookie point guard not only played center against the 76’ers, but also ended up playing all five positions in the game, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing 7 assists to clinch the championship for the Lakers. Oh, wait. You meant “tennis.” Well, I don’t have one particular favorite match, but I have my least favorite, yet most memorable match. The 1984 French Open final. Johnny Mac vs. Ivan Lendl. Loved Mac and disliked Lendl very much. Up 2 sets to Love, McEnroe had it cinched. It was a botched sitter volley where it all went sideways. All of a sudden, Lendl’s in the match. Next thing you know, he’s holding the trophy. Don’t think I’ve ever been so upset from watching tennis.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were playing tennis?
It would have to be the time I was hitting with Chris. He stretched me wide on a backhand, causing me to hit a short response. Knowing he’d be coming in to hit a cross court winner, I started hustling across the baseline to the deuce side. Only he hit it straight up the middle. The timing of the ball and me running, the ball was coming right into my body, so I slowed as much as I could to hit a forehand in close to my body. Of course I tried to swing up to put some spin on it and to also get it over the net. Well, with the ball so close to my body, that was indeed the wrong type of swing as I didn’t realize that my finish would be with the cracking of my racquet into my face. Stinging, yet funny, I didn’t realize for a couple of seconds that I had split open the ridge above my eye. Seven stitches and a lot of teasing is what I got out of it, and deservedly so.
Have you had any injuries? For how long? How did you deal with them?
I’ve had several nagging things from a blunt force cut to the head, to plantar fasciitis to slight ankle turns to bits of tendinitis here and there. The plantar fasciitis probably affected me the most as it was quite painful and lasted a long time. Ice and stretching, along with proper arch support was key in remedying it. Thank you, Superfeet!
What is your favorite part of being a TW playtester?
When people get to know and trust my opinions on product. Helping someone get equipment that best suits them and makes them happy is what it’s all about. Getting to play every day with the latest equipment doesn’t suck either.
Who is your favorite TW playtester to hit/play with?
Edwards. I like the challenge. He’s a much better player and he teaches me a lot (whether he knows it or not). He usually seems to bring out my best tennis, though the scores might not always reflect it
Who is the TW playtester that gives you the most trouble?
Blalock. Our styles don’t match up in my favor at all. Unfortunately, my ball tends to sit up in her strike zone. If you know Brittany’s game, that’s a sure way to watch balls buzz by you for winners. She gets to hear an occasional expletive from me now and again, which she enjoys, of course.
What has been your favorite review and why?
I’d have to say it’s between the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick 2012 and the Wilson ProStaff 6.0 85. The Pure Drive Roddick because it may be the only ace I have recorded on video, and the 6.0 85 because of its heritage. Sampras, Edberg and Federer all played with it. Go ahead and add Boller to that list…lol.
Do you have any nicknames from the TW playtest squad?
Please check back next week when we feature another playtester in another installment of “Meet the Playtesters.”