Tag Archives: Wild card

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win the US OPEN (15th and final game)

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you all. I can’t believe that this has ended in such a thrilling style, with so many decisive moments, nerve tingling decisions, and life changing choices.

Fergy was an incredible opponent this afternoon, but I agree with her when she says the best woman won (i.e. me).

So, congratulations to her for putting up such a spirited fight, and congratulations to me for pulling out all the stops and astounding everyone.

While now is not the time to crow, it is worth remembering those who fell at an early stage during the competition and for the valuable contribution blah… blah… blah… they have made to the upper echelons of the tennis fraternity.

Holding the trophy aloft will stay in my memory for the rest of my life and I would like to finally thank you all, my supporters, my coach, my advocates and my enemies for the encouragement you have given me or the motivation which has spurred me on to prove you all wrong. This year’s US OPEN has proven to me that anything is possible, with the right attitude, guts, determination, and fertile imagination.

My club, my tennis, my world, will never be the same again.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (11th game)

The signs, signifiers and signatures of tennis semiotics (8-3)

The tension’s mounting as we head towards the last few days of the epic tournament that is the Wimbledon Championships of the All England Club.

The signs of my potential progress through the next rounds are encouraging and I feel I am finally being treated with the respect that is due a wild card who has achieved more than anyone’s wildest imaginings could have foreseen.

The groundsmen tug their collective forelocks as I pass them by. The guys in the locker room go silent when I enter (a sure sign of respectful awe). And even my one-time adversaries, Gerd Fistingburger and Alois, have taken to stepping aside when I approach them, their heads bowed, eyes averted (both gestures, significant signifiers of shame).

I sense a victory of massive proportions on the horizon.

Even Mrs Lady Chairman, to my great surprise, phoned late last night ostensibly to ask how the courts were behaving themselves, although I knew this meant that she was dying to ingratiate herself with me.

I was able to point her, without the slightest hint of sarcasm, to the list of casualties those accursed surfaces have been responsible for over the first week of the competition. She didn’t listen, as per, and even had the effrontery to ask if I could get Andy (M) to sign her grandson’s tennis shorts for her. I assured her that my signature would cost a lot less. But she was having none of that either, made some rude remark about my attitude (again) and swanned off the phone (again) no doubt to start constructing a well-executed complaint (again).

So, whilst there are many pointers to my impending resurrection in my local club, there is still a job to be done at the top of the political pile. My mission will not be complete until I have the trophy in hand, the cheque in the bank and Mrs Lady Chairman waving the white flag of surrender.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd Set, how to win at Wimbledon (3rd Game)

Not everyone loves a success (2-1)

I was shocked earlier tonight when I was hanging around the locker room (as the guys calls it) to find that, contrary to my belief that everyone (i.e. the guys) would be pleased for me and my early wild-card success, that there are certain tennis players (so-called professionals) who are actually quite dismissive of my achievement so far.

I heard one of them muttering rudely about the wild-card system and using words like ‘loser’ and ‘amateur’ and ‘tosser’ in the same sentence. When I tried confronting him with a hard stare, he just stared back, spat out his chewing gum at me, and fiercely pulled on his tennis hat backwards, in that irritating Leyton Hewitt style. And no, it wasn’t LH – he’s much too much a sporting gentleman to drop his standards so far.

No, I think it was a mate of the person who was my prospective doubles partner, Gerd Fistingburger, a Frenchman called Alois. He may have taken offence at my earlier jokey attempt to engage him in some ‘Allo ‘Allo banter (‘allo ‘allo Alois, how’s life in Rheinland Pfalz?) but I can’t be too sure. I’m pretty sure though I saw the two of them in the showers whispering to each other and casting me baleful glances in between washing each other down.

But his hostility has certainly been a wake-up call and has shown me another side to the green and pleasant lawns of Jerusalem.

I’ll have to tread carefully tomorrow in my second-round match – which, incidentally, I’ve just found out, is against the Croatian, Milos Milosovich, a very handy player I’m told, who specialises in long baseline rallies but is terrified to get too close to the net. I’ll need to get some more practice in tonight. I’ll just finish this pint and get on court with the guys until the sun goes down. Wish me well!

But if you’re Alois – you can go stick your racket up your arschloch.

You can also check out the Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player Podcast here!

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd Set, how to win at Wimbledon.

I’ve got into the first round at Wimbledon! (1-0)

I never thought I’d see the day but my wild-card entry at Wimbledon finally came through yesterday. Apparently, there’d been a mix up between the LTA and the local clubs in the North West Division section 5(d) that caused several players who had been awarded wild cards to not be informed of their fortune and so they didn’t turn up.

Their fortune-turned-misfortune turned into my fortune when I got the call from the guys in the blazers at Wimbledon – probably the best tennis club in the world (notwithstanding the Carling claim of supreme ownership). I had to get onto court 32 at 7.30 in order to complete my first, first-round match against the Serbian thirteen-year-old, Slobodan Slobovitch.

Imagine!

Me at Wimbledon!

After so many years spent enviously watching all those bright young things slugging it out on the green and pleasant lawns of Jerusalem!

The best was yet to come. I turned up on time to find the 13-year-old loitering on court, clearly nervous at the prospect of playing a more seasoned campaigner. And he had every right to be nervous.  Before long I was in the zone. The ball was as big as a football in my eyes and flying at the pace of a snail. I picked off every shot with ease. I played my best high risk, low percentage tennis ever. I was living in the moment. I was in the here and the now. I felt immortal.

It was all over before I realised it and I had beaten him 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 with the tie-break going to a massive 26-24 point game.

He was devastated. Afterwards, he slumped, a broken figure, on the side of the court. His father couldn’t console him, but both had the good grace to shake hands with me before we left the court at shortly after 9pm.

So, I am through to the second round, and due to play early tomorrow afternoon. It has been an amazing adventure so far and anything else in the future is a bonus.

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