Sunday, 28 April 2013

National League 2012/13

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS... Is not only the famous song by Queen but it applies to Nick and I. Representing RTC in the Premier Division National League this season, we have taken the title at home in front of a full house of some 85 people, Defeating Prested Hall 2/1

The 1st match on was the 2nd string singles match up of Nick vs Tom Durack. On paper this match was looking like a very close affair with Nick only ahead on handicap by as little as 1 point, and Tom having a very solid season to date. Nick came out of the blocks the faster of the two and got off to a great start. Nick was really rolling back the years and as I have never seen Nick in his prime I was able to get a glimpse of what it would of looked like. Smooth moving and an even smoother stroke play Nick quickly took the 1st set 6/0 and was not giving Tom a look in. Game by game kept flying by and to the shock of each of the 85 people the match was over! 6/0 6/0....

After a short break for supper the 1st string singles was up next with myself facing Ricardo Smith. Ricardo has been a bit of a bogey player of mine. I hold a 2/1 advantage in tournaments but a 0/2 record in National League with a total of 4 games won in those two matches.
I started at the Hazard end after losing the toss of the racket and subsequently lost the first game in a carbon copy of last weeks match against Ben. I soon took control of the match courtesy of spending the majority of the time down at the service end. Railroad was my choice of serve and was able to get it kicking back nicely. I was able to take the first set after stringing 4 games in a row to grab it 6/2. I was then 2/0 up and to say cruising would not be a true reflection of the match. I was just able to win the most important points. Ricardo then came to his damaging best and was able to start reeling off some devastating winners of his own and a few errors off my racket saw Ricardo leading 3/4 in the second set. It was now my time to dig deep and a change in serve to the Demi Pique was one of the most important decisions I made in the match. I took the match 6/2 6/4 to give RTC the win without needing the doubles.

Again after a short break for the MVP awards for the other National League grades it was time for the doubles. Ricardo showed again why he is in the top handful of doubles players in the world and Tom supported him perfectly as Nick and I went down 6/8. Prested Hall definitely deserved their win in the doubles.

On came everyone for the presentation. Nick and I receiving a bottle of Pol Roger each and most importantly the Premier Division Trophy.

A massive thank you to all the RTC members that watched us win the title on Wednesday night, and any of our other home matches. But a special mention to Richard and Judy Gilbert who watched everyone of our 8 matches this season always sitting in the front row of the Dedans.

The reason I took up Real Tennis was to be a player and travel to tournaments to ply my trade. It always makes it special for me to receive the support of the RTC members whether it be National League or the various tournaments held in the UK.


Thanks to Tim Edwards for the great photo's.

Friday, 19 April 2013

National League 2012/13


Since my last post we've had two National League matches. The first was the last match of the season to be played in the Premier Division, A home match vs Prested Hall on Saturday 13th April.
All places in the finals we're up for grabs although the highest RTC could finish was 2nd and host a home semi final. In order for that to happen Nick and I had to both win our singles.

Nick came up against the very talented Ricardo Smith who is a better player than his current handicap of 1. Nick was up against it from the outset struggling a little with ankle and back trouble although rallied to almost force a decider going down 2/6 5/6 and unfortunately ending our chance of finishing 2nd.
Next up was my match vs Tom Durack, not to take anything away from how well Tom played in this match but I had been struggling a little during the week with a cold and with the Australian Open only a couple of weeks away i've been training through it, meaning it's hung on longer than i would have liked. I was able to grind out a win without playing my best tennis but a win is a win and i was very happy to get off in straight sets 6/5 6/5.
As mentioned all finals places we're up for grabs with Hatfield sitting on top before this match, A win in the doubles couldn't help Nick and I as a win meant an away Semi at Prested Hall and a loss meant an away Semi at Hatfield. We went down 7/8 in a very good game of doubles.

The second of those matches was on Thursday 18th April. An away semi final at Hatfield against a strong team of World Number 6 Ben Matthews and Head Pro Jon Dawes.
First up was the 2nd string match-up of Nick vs Jon. Nick played a very good game of tennis and was too strong for Jon for the 2nd time this season on his home court 6/2 6/4.
This meaning if i could repeat my victory over Ben we would be into the final without needing the doubles.
I started a little slowly. Ben looked to have a plan to serve demi piques, a serve he has used to great effect in previous matches we've played. This time however I was able to return with much more composure. I soon found myself down 2/4 in the opening set but knew that if i could just cut out a few errors that I would be able to close the gap. I again found myself behind 4/5 but levelled to 5/5 and took the opening set with some really positive shot choices. Almost Deja vu i started slowly in the 2nd set. Again i was able to think my way through and from 1/3 down played some of my best tennis as well as some help from Ben who started to make a few errors, I put together 5 games on the bounce and closed out the win 6/5 6/3. Thus meaning RTC are into the Final to face Prested Hall on Wednesday 24th April at RTC, the venue was set halfway through the season.
We decided to play the dead rubber doubles, for the third time tonight i was on the receiving end of a slow start to a set. Nick and I stuck down the Hazard end found ourselves trailing 0/4 before we could get our first chase of the night. A Hazard chase at that, we kept chipping away at their lead but it was too much of a head start and we went down 7/8 in another entertaining doubles.

As mentioned the Final will take place at Hampton Court on Wednesday 24th April 6.30pm start. Tickets are available through 'upcoming fixtures' or for more info contact the Pro office at RTC.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Aus Open 2013 - Melbourne


The draws for the singles and doubles of the 2013 Link pumps Australian Open have been released. The draws will be available soon on and they are printed out and able to be viewed at the club either in the Pro Shop or on the notice board by the court.

The singles draw sees me seeded 5th and in the bottom half of the draw with 3rd seed and likely quarter final opponent Kieran Booth for a spot in the semi final against number 2 seed Steve Virgona. Kieran and I have played a number of times in the last two years in which we've split a 3-0 win each but he also has victory's in last year's Aus Open in Hobart in 4 sets and a tough 5 set victory in the French Open last September.

The top half of the draw sees Camden Riviere seeded to claim what I think would be his 1st Australian open and a step closer to a career grand slam. Also home Head Professional Frank Filippelli seeded 4th and Andrew Fowler seeded 6th.

In the doubles I'm partnering Chris Ronaldson's young assistant at Radley - John Lumley, a very talented youngster aged just 20 and playing off a handicap of about 3. We've been seeded 4th and look likely to run into Steve Virgona and Kieran Booth 2nd seeds in the semi final.

The top half of the draw sees my first round opponent Nick Howell son of Jonathan Howell who plays off about 7 partnering Camden Riviere as the number 1 seeds and Andrew Fowler and Frank Filippelli seeded 3 due to clash in the other semi final.

I'm really looking forward to the Aus open as you could imagine, 2 weeks back at home able to visit some friends and family and back to the club that I worked at for 2 1/2 years.



Monday, 8 April 2013

National League 2012/13


A quick reminder that RTC (Nick and I) are hosting Prested Hall (Ricardo Smith/ Tom Durack) this Saturday 13th April 5pm kick off. Nick and I need to beat them to finish 2nd and host a home Semi Final again against Prested on Saturday 20th, with a spot in the Final up for grabs on the 24th April at RTC.

We still have a number of standing tickets in the Hazard Top Gallery so please don't hesitate to contact the Pro's Office. Under 18's free