Archive for September, 2010

tennis basics

According to Wikipedia:

Tennis is a sport that people usually play individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent’s court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return.

A tennis court measures

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usta basics

USTA divides the country (Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam) into 17 regional sections. Each section “maintains its own staff to administer USTA programs, establishes its own tournament schedule and issues its own rankings.” They are employees of the USTA.

usta Section-Map

  1. USTA Caribbean
  2. USTA Eastern
  3. USTA Florida
  4. USTA Hawaii Pacific
  5. USTA Intermountain
  6. USTA Mid-Atlantic
  7. USTA Middle States
  8. USTA Midwest
  9. USTA Missouri Valley
  10. USTA New England
  11. USTA Northern
  12. USTA Northern California
  13. USTA Pacific Northwest
  14. USTA Southern
  15. USTA Southern California
  16. USTA Southwest
  17. USTA Texas

usta eastern img_27_997_6450USTA Eastern has six regions:

  1. Long Island
  2. Metro: New York City five boroughs
  3. New Jersey
  4. Northern: Albany
  5. Southern New York: Westchester
  6. Western: Buffalo

Each region appoints a Local League Coordinator who has a steady day job but plenty free time in front of a computer screen to manage the region from A to Z, as the side gag. They have their own rules, in addition to the USTA’s. Under them, are the flight coordinator to run each event: Manhattan mixed doubles 7.0. They are all compensated. The mass emails show many work in real estate, IT, government and event planning – a profession that provides abundant screen time.

USTA organizational structure:

  • USTA
  • Lauren Bull, Adult League Manager,
  • Deborah-Rose Andrews, Local League Coordinator – Metro (Cathy Miller of Long Island)
  • Sheila Astudillo <>

The timeline of a Metro season

Met Manhattan mixed 2013:

  • Sept 22, 2012: Call for Captain
  • Oct 1, 2012: to email the coordinator that you want to captain a team
  • Oct 4, 2012: preliminary roster due
  • Oct 25, 2012: the captain’s meeting
  • .. match schedule and rules sent to the captains ..
  • Nov 5, 2012 – Feb 6, 2013: the regular season
  • Dec 15, 2012: Registration deadline (sign up for a team)
  • Feb 25 – Mar 3: the Flight playoff
  • May 5: the Regional playoff
  • May 31 – June 2: the Sectional playoff
  • ..: the National

Metro Summer 2013:

  • Apr 30: Call for Captain
  • May 7: email the coordinator that you want to captain a team
  • May 7: preliminary roster
  • May 21: Captain’s meeting
  • Apr 10 – Jul 14: the regular season
  • July 1: Registration deadline (sign up for a team)
  • July 23: the Local playoff (Manhattan; Queens, etc.)
  • Aug 2: the (Metro) Regional
  • Aug 9: the Sectional
  • Oct 25: the National

LI mixed doubles 2013

  • 9/30/2012: email from LLC
  • 10/12: deadline to register a team
  • 12/14: must have three men/women registered on the team
  • 10/19: schedule: suggests the weekend; 2 captains work out the details
  • 11/11 – 4/26 the season
  • 1/1/2013: registration deadline
  • 5/5: playoff


The rating
To level the playing field the USTA developed a rating system, NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program). The definition of each level determines where one could play. The lowest level is 1.5 who is just starting out with the ability to get the ball into play to 7.0 like Serena and Roger. The 7.0 I’m writing about is the combined rating of two players. It could be 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/3.5.

The Metro region rules:


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Day 10 at US Open 2010

New York World Fair 1964 score board as of Sept 8th, day 10

I’m weak: 10:40pm flight out to Asia and I haven’t packed yet, but when the US Open is calling, I dash off to Flushing in no time. It’s day 10 of the two weeks long tournament. A glorious sunny day, cerulean blue sky n all that.

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Jordan and I watched women’s doubles quarterfinals between Y. Chan and Jie Zheng vs Bethanie Lynn Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy. The Chinese pair won over the Americans.

Zheng Jie's coach DSCN0620

Zheng Jie’s coach (can’t recall his name but he looks very familiar) in white cap came over to rally us to cheer for Zheng Jie.
“I’ll count to 3 .. you’ll say 郑洁加油” .. make an extra effort.
True to his words, he would shout in good Mandarin
“一,二, 三, ..”
We would chime in with “郑洁加油 ..” The echo worked: they won, despite 64-mile serve.

64 miles per hour serve Day 10, most courts are empty

Zheng had double fault and her second serve came at 64 .. but the China dolls managed to win with persistence and remarkable retrievals. By 10th day, most matches were done, courts became vacant


The qualifying rounds
US Open Day 3

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Room with a view

DSCN8963 DSCN8946

Le Meridien (Starwood) on Nanjing Road East in Shanghai. A great location, but the lobby is less than desirable. Stacks of moon cakes piled high, in prominent displayed near the entrance, and were being handed out. AT first I thought it were the guest who stays at the hotel. But after I walked a bit on the street did I realize what’s going on. Still, I didn’t understand why the hotel would want to get on distributing moon cake business.

DSCN8964The living room looks out to the east and the bathroom looks out to the Bund and beyond.
A while back, in a mocking article on New York magazine projected that by 2020, Americans would rush to China to find a job, like cute white college grad waiting at restaurants or being baby sitters who speak perfect Mandarin. Well, I don’t know if we need to wait that long. At one lounge at the hotel I spotted a tall and pretty cute blond among waiting staff. Was she a trainee of some sort, or just a back packer who would do anything to stretch her stay at a foreign city. Would people feel odd if a Chinese waiting at a hotel in Zambia?
This xiao long bao juicy dumpling tastes pretty good.

DSCN8387According to friends playing tennis in Shanghai can be a hassle and expensive proposition. So I largely wrote it off. Didn’t bring my gears. But then thought what’s the heck. Let’s try. Tried to line up with a coach who would provide me with a racket .. .. but that didn’t happen.
Then I spotted a tennis court from YZ’s apartment
“Yes you can play here.” He assured me.
I spotted few courts from this hotel .. don’t remember its name .. sorry senior moment ..
When I went to pick up Auntie Ida I found a cluster of courts in her gated community.
And the courts were empty too!

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A few memorable times/places

If one doesn’t play tennis, would not understand our craziness ..


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cost of league

Fall 2013-4
$20 per hour: MEN’S DOUBLES LEAGUE, Sunday Mornings at SPORTIME Syosset – in a 16-man 3.5 doubles league. Rotation of players scheduled by league director. Staggered starts of 7-8:30am and 8:30-10am on har-tru clay courts. Cost is $550 for 18 weeks.


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US Open 2010

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The young golfers

Lookin’ for something? Not the balls I hope?
Jimbo told us this story: he met parents of a promising young golfer. The parents took turn to caddy and chaperoned him around for tournaments that starts from Hawaii in January and gradually moved to the east coast; mortgaged their house to support their child, lesson, practice, travel, tutor .. and the boy is ranked … 1000+ nationally.

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Day 3: The Flying Dutchman, G-string, etc

Day (or night) 3 at the 2010 US Open
DSCN0269 filled out
Pumpkin called over to this court,
“Mom, watch his serve ..”
Someone is flying
And his racket has two handles.
All in the name of a good game.
Kai-Chen Chang has matured a lot, built up and out a lot too.

somethin is bothering me ..
With all the fame and wealth Rafa Nadal just can’t find a comfy undie. Does it tell us to be happy with what we’ve got (or given)?

We watched the little tree John Isner play .. so did Patrick Mcenroe and his Aussie sidekick ..

Andy Roddick is arguing while John Mcenroe is looking on .. Did Mc wish that he were down there?

We’re not worth .. we’re not worth ..

.. and ran into friends that I haven’t seen in ages ..

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