My matches 2014: Marathon-man Mike delivers wake-up call

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Match 3: Mike Drain def Al Warwick 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Although he would struggle to admit it, there was a two-year period where I would defeat good pal Mike almost every time we took to the court. Simply put, I was able to flatter myself by playing a relative newcomer to the game who – in the beginning – lacked power and any real feel.
What followed was a ‘golden period’, where over roughly the same time-span we’d have matches which were closely fought, filled with rewarding, punishing baseline rallies and full of the kind of quality that both revelled in.
Slowly but surely though Mike had turned the tide. Through far superior fitness, a solidity and assuredness from the baseline and – most recently – an effortless transition to a more varied style of play he has gotten the better of me time and time again over the last two to three years.
From nowhere, last summer kick-started a welcome return to form for me, especially on the grass where – for whatever reason – my game clicked once more and the season head to heads ended almost honours even.
This year hints at a regression.
In just my second singles match, the lack of practice, rhythm and match-play was painfully – at times embarrassingly – evident.
In truth, it was never a contest.
Every facet of my game was a long way off from the very minimum needed to test my opponent, who looked fit, powerful and assured after recent – much more satisfying no doubt – contests with fellow foe Rob in recent months.
The forehand kept me involved at times, a drop volley here and an ace there allowed a modicum of respect to be had, but everything else proved hopeless.
Meanwhile, my opponent was busy blowing me off court with an often bulletproof serve and deep punishing groundies, the slices now perfected only adding to my misery.
So yes, a wake up call for me as my stamina and mindset simply weren’t there and after the most one-sided contest between us in years I have suitable motivation to get my mojo back.
Nothing frustrates me more with the game I love than not delivering a contest,
Categories: ME

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