I won two matches in my age group and lost the third to a good mate of mine by the name of Brett Patten , former World number 1 for age 40. Now this match was one of those matches that I will look back on as an 'education', Brett belted me. The score does not reflect his domination as it was like me playing one of my students , he was simply in another category of tennis ability.
The score of 6-0 , 7-5 does not tell you that I lost the first 8 games and was staring down the barrel of a defeat that would shatter a kid yet put my current ability into reality. However a few 'tips' from Brett came in handy and i started to loosen up and swing a little easier. A good second set but Brett knew he could go up a level when required , he simply prolonged the match by rallying rather than serve and volleying.
The two matches I won were possibly two of the best matches i have played for a while as I beat a guy ranked 35 in Australia for my age group 6-1, 6-1 , and a South African 6-2, 6-2.
Now here's a funny story. My two wins gave me enough points to be crowned the State 45's winner and overall runner up in the 40-50's age bracket , a long way behind Brett. This actually gives me enough points to now own both an Australian and World 45's ranking, what's the chances ??
Ok , here's my take on the whole thing;
This tournament was not a big tournament yet it provided me with points to gain a ranking . The tournament was on grass, I hate grass , it was like playing on my back yard, not a true indication to anyone's real form as some bounces were non existent. My point?
I am a realist, even though I now have a title for my age bracket. Whether i finished runner up to Brett overall is irrelevant because his standard is what's required to be the best not only in that age group but also to still be beating the younger players in the State. Fitness is also a major issue and to still be in peak physical condition at 42 as Brett is , well that's inspiring.
Someone asked me if I would like to put the article in the local paper, I laughed at that one because this is the way i see it. The tournament , whilst having a player of Brett's caliber in it , did not have depth in the draw that you would see at a State Open age championship, so the results are a little deceiving.
I have always stated that local papers print 'Mickey Mouse' stories that are designed to give 'coaches' and players a 'status' that is blown out of proportion, it's small town ego boosting at it's best. So no, I will not be offering a story on this one.
I will however take my 'Title' , as you get older you win less, a natural stage of age and sport, it'll only get worse. I will take those games and a hand full of winners that i took off Brett and put them in the memory bank to be taken out over a beer or two one day when we hit again. The forehand winner down the line on match point against Classen , the South African , well that's a shot I could hang the racket up on.
You read some funny things about this sport , you see even funnier things at tournaments but playing against the older guys gives you an indication as to where you are because you actually have to win it, they miss very few shots. A young player will miss as many as he gets in as his quest to hit winners is high on the agenda, that is the difference, a young player will hand you victory , an experienced player will make you earn it.....
|The Match - the Apprentice|
|.....& the Master|
|1991 European Touring Buddies|