A New Tennis Chapter

Hitting with Craig Sandvig in the early morning hours may leave me looking like a drowned rat, but I feel like a million bucks when the last of the tennis balls have been picked up, dropped into their baskets, and the next group of eager students file onto the courts. This feeling comes from being pushed beyond my comfort zone and being successful enough that the task doesn’t drain my confidence. It’s a fine balance to strike and one that Craig accomplishes remarkably well on my behalf.

This summer, I want to work on being “a terror at the net,” as Craig likes to say, instead of being terrorized by it. This will take time and convincing as I tame my fear of being hit in the eye…or worse yet on the head…or heaven forbid my teeth! As we set out to take my game to the next level, another goal is to think about shot selection and strategy, which requires a heady dose of brain cells before making the first split-step. “You want me to think and hit at the same time?” I whisper to myself. Luckily, at 7:30 am, Craig and I are the only two people on the courts, which is the perfect set-up to carry out his instructions: Go for every shot and make as many mistakes as you need to get there.

The only downside to all this newfound energy and confidence is that it makes me want to shop. Wimbledon started this week and that means the player’s new kits are out and for sale! This morning I logged onto tennis-warehouse.com only to find disappointment at the end of my scroll. No Wimbledon kits! Not Maria’s from Nike, or Ana’s from adidas. Clearly I must have overlooked them, and so I call the 800 number. A friendly voice on the other end answers the phone, directs me to a couple of web pages, goes silent, and puts me on hold. Minutes later he’s back on the line, apologizing for not offering the kits and unable to explain exactly why. “I’m just as confused as you are. We should’ve had them by now,” he says. At tennisexpress.com it’s the same story, same thing on the Nike and adidas sites. What gives?

If I could, this is what I’d buy to celebrate the beginning of what I hope will be more tennis in my life.

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Ana Ivanovic’ Wimbledon outfit 2014. Pretty cute, right?

 

 

 

 

Bag of Tricks

I’ve always wondered what the pros carry in their bags. Here’s my answer.

Ever since Fabi took over my red and black Babolat bag, I’ve been in the market for a new one. I like this one, pictured below, because it doubles as a summer tote.

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World Cup Fever!

Everyone I know has World Cup fever.

Maybe it’s the company of Latins I’ve been keeping of late.

But whatever the case, while Danny buys out Target in search of a lone, elusive Lionel Messi sticker for the kids to add to their World Cup albums, I can’t help but wonder…Will anyone pay attention to Wimbledon once it begins next week?

argie 1 colombia 2

 

 

 

My First Broken String

There’s always a first time for everything in tennis, and just a few weeks ago I broke a string on my Babolat minutes into a lesson. Fortunately I was in good company, and knew the perfect place to take it to be fixed in a hurry. While I was at it, the kids and I couldn’t help but select new, coral-hued grips for our racquets at Tennis Machines Sales & Service, just minutes from downtown Clayton. Thanks, Terry and Kyle!   


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5 Goals for Summer Tennis 2014

1. Plan my work week around tennis practice, not the other way around.

2. Resolve to be courageous at the net. No more backing up to the baseline, even when the hard-hitters are opposite me.

3. Stay focused on the court regardless of how many things are on my off-court to-do list.

3. Give Stella McCartney for adidas another chance. Her first line for the brand was only so-so, and the fit didn’t… well…fit. This summer the British designer has introduced pretty separates in eye-catching hues. I can’t resist giving her the benefit of the doubt.

4. Play more games! Nothing beats the real thing.

5. Blog more often!

 

Fed Cup in St. Louis

The Fed Cup, otherwise known as the World Cup of (women’s) international competition, was held at Chaifetz Arena on SLU’s campus this past weekend, and gave tennis fans like me a wouldn’t-miss-it-for-the-world opportunity to see the game just minutes from home.

Attending a Fed Cup match is a different experience then, say, going to a Grand Slam or Masters 1000 event. The typical niceties associated with tennis conduct aren’t always on display. It’s more about rooting for your team and making noise! Fed Cup, and Davis Cup for the men, gives tennis aficionados the chance to support their favorite players not as individuals but as a team, which is what makes it so exciting and special to be among the crowd.

I caught Saturday’s singles action with friends and fellow tennis junkies, Sydney and Andreas (pictured below). Danny joined us after the Blues win!

photoOn Sunday, we took the kids to the finals, which featured:

Cheering on the USA!

Cheering on the USA!

two singles matches, including a win for Sloane, and a doubles match. The doubles match paired two formidable teams against one another: Sloane Stevens/Madison Keys and Caroline Garcia/Virginie Razzano. It was a nail-bitter,  with the two teams at two wins a piece.

Unfortunately, after a thrilling comeback by Stevens and Keys, the French snuffed out a win in the second set.

The French fans were ever-present!

The French fans made their presence known,

Here are some clips of the doubles final.

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The Frontenac Pro Doubles Classic

There’s a lot of tennis action taking place in St. Louis in the next couple of weeks, and you won’t want to miss any of it. Thankfully the events are on separate weekends.

I’ve already posted about the Fed Cup next weekend–April 19 and 20–at the Chavitz Arena, and this week’s auxiliary events at Dwight Davis celebrating the arrival of the U.S. team players, including Sloan Stevens.

The following Saturday, on April 26, the Frontenac Pro Doubles Classic returns with all the best regional players competing for the top prize, and bragging rights. I missed it last year so I’ll be there for sure this year. Proceeds from the event will help support the Triple A Youth Foundation, which supports young players wanting to further their tennis instruction.

 

 

Meet The Fed Cup in St. Louis

Like all tennis fans, I was really hoping to catch Serena and Venus Williams in action in the World Group playoff matches against France, April 19-20 on the campus of St. Louis University. But just this morning, I was alerted to the news that they aren’t on the roster submitted by U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

It’s a bummer, for sure. Who doesn’t want to see the Williams sisters live? According to news reports Serena, in particular, is exhausted from playing so much tennis of late. Still, the roster is pretty stellar. It includes 18th-ranked Sloane Stephens, No. 42 Madison Keys, No. 49 Varvara Lepchenko and No. 57 Christina McHale.

For more Fed Cup action, next Wednesday from 4-6 pm, kids ages 7-17 get a free play day at Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, and the opportunity to meet the Fed Cup team from 4:30-5:15 pm under the tent at the Center. It’s a great opportunity! I signed up my children and hope you will too. Register them here.

 

“Miami Masters” 2014

Time got away from me in Miami last week. It must have been all the fun we were having zipping around Southern Florida. The truth is I didn’t have easy access to WiFi and the thought of going to a Starbucks to write sounded too much like my life back in St. Louis. So I decided against it. Here’s my attempt to make up for being such a slacker.

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Here we are at the entrance of the Sony Open.

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Next to the tennis center is Seaquarium, where we ran into Ana Ivanovic and a bunch of other tennis players on their day off .

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The pros, like Sara Errani, pictured here with her coach, participated in a “Padel” exhibit. I was blown away by Errani’s athleticism. She never once flinched at the net, and her opponents were wopping the ball at her! What a woman!

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As always, there was plenty to shopping to do! The funny thing is I didn’t buy anything this time :)

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I did buy planety of bags of Sugarpova, however. Tonight the kids came clean and admitted to opening and eating two bags!

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More clothes I didn’t buy.

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Alejo and Mom

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We loved the tournament’s Latin vibe.

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I love watching tennis with the kids. They’re growing into great fans of the sport.

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