Today’s tennis blog is in English for the benefit of my American friends. This week I am in An Arbor, Michigan, to attend a conference on Digital Human Modeling, http://www.dhm2013.org/. One of the really great things about tennis is that it is a global sport, so regardless of where you travel, you can usually find people to play with.
Before I went to Ann Arbor I did the usual preparations before visiting a foreign place with my racket: I Googled “Tennis in Ann Arbor”, and this produced a few clubs and some organizations.
Much tennis here seems to be concentrated around the university and is for or by current students and sponsored by the university. I did not pursue that because those playing on the university team are probably too good for me and also tied up in their own leagues.
I also contacted a couple of clubs by email. In Florida and California I have found this to be a good strategy. The clubs are largely private and guests are seen as customers rather than intruders (Denmark could learn from that). Unfortunately, this did not pay off in Ann Arbor.
My Google search also produced an organization, Ann Arbor Area Community Tennis Association, http://www.aaacta.org/, and they maintain a list of people looking for partners. I signed up and contacted a few of the people on the list, and magically I found two tennis appointments on my free Sunday.
I played Jeff in the morning. Jeff has played for many years and was serious about it in high school, but then matrimony, a couple of kids and a house construction project demanded the attention for several years, and tennis was put on the back burner. Jeff has all the right moves but is understandably rusty after all these years. We played a very even set, which I won by 7-5, and subsequently we agreed to just hit a few balls before Jeff had to pick up his kids again. Parenting is a hard life.
The match showed me that I may be doing myself a disservice by playing hard court tennis at this time of the season. I have serious trouble with the bounce of the ball and may currently be throwing all the work I did to get used to clay out of the window. But never mind, if I have fun.
The second match of the day was with Eddie. He is an intelligent player who does not hit the ball very hard but compensates with extreme precision and a nasty slice that drops dead in the middle of the service box. I won 6-2, 6-2 but lost the additional set by 4-6. Eddie is really difficult to match because he takes the speed out of the ball and puts it exactly where you cannot get leverage to hit it well. I think I will hit through him if I get used to hard court again, but Eddie is dangerous to any opponent who cannot consistently hit hard shots in either side of the court.
All in all, it was a great day and thanks go out to Jeff and Eddie who were brave enough to come out and meet a new friend.