Archive for February, 2011

Jim wrote to me..

Jim Courier wrote to me to thank me, can you image that? Not only him but Mary Joe Fernandez, the U.S. Fed Cup Captain too. Can you image that? OMG .. I can’t sleep tonight.

Thank You For Being a Captain!

Dear Irene,

On behalf of the United States Tennis Association, we’d like to thank you for being a USTA League Captain. Congratulations on the completion of your local league season! Please accept this Certificate of Appreciation as recognition of your service and dedication to our great game.

We hope you have found your role as a USTA League Captain enjoyable and rewarding. As captains, we know the effort it takes to lead a team, but we hope you share our passion and are already looking forward to continuing your role as a League Captain in the upcoming year.

Thank you again for your efforts in promoting and developing the growth of tennis throughout the United States—now and in years to come.


Mary Joe Fernandez
U.S. Fed Cup Captain
Dan James
World Team Cup Captain
Jim Courier
U.S. Davis Cup Captain

Ya right.
Word is cheap .. is this a common phase ? IF it is then I felt exact that word is very cheap. How about try to improve the service and make some necessary changes?

Anyway, I played a pretty good game this afternoon, won a close set at 7:5 against two guys with David. That was some set. I’ve never played with David before and he didn’t talk at all. So it’s just me out there swinging. I couldn’t hold serve from the beginning – the guys just killed it … but then I was able to hold to serve out the first set – I was thrilled. We went on to win the second set at 2. Our time was up (1.5-hour) after two sets so we played on to play the third set, knowing we could be off court any minute. Luckily we got to finish the third set which we lost.

2/27: Our 5th match gone well – well, bit more competition would have been nice BUT no one could predict what’s going to happen on a given day! I double faulted on the first game. Our opponents were really nice and very positive. I especially like the girl who’s great forehand and first serve was lethal, it’s her personality that’s endearing.

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Manhattan Mixed Doubles Playoff Regulations

2011 Metro USTA League
Manhattan Mixed Doubles Playoff Regulations

Congratulations on a successful season and reaching the playoffs. Captains and players should review the following regulations PRIOR to their first playoff match.

Venue: Matches will be played indoors at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. For directions, visit here.

Playoff Format: This is a single elimination tournament. Each court is worth 1 point. The team that wins the most points in each match is awarded the win. The team that wins each level will advance to the Regional playoff.

All match times are approximate except for the first match of the day. Matches will be called as the courts become available. The default time (15 minutes) starts when the court is called.

Eligibility: Players must have 2 local matches recorded. Only 1 default may count towards eligibility. Each team must have a minimum of 6 players available in order to participate in the playoff’s.

Once a player participates in this tournament, they may not participate in a playoff match in another region until their Metro team has been eliminated. (Please see Eastern Rule IIIG for additional details).

All players must have government issued photo ID. Random checks will be done throughout the tournament.

Check-in and Scorecards:
Captains are required to check in at the tournament desk upon arrival. Captains must present their lineup 30 minutes prior to their scheduled match time. If a player is late, the captain must put the missing player in the 3rd doubles position before the lineup is submitted.

All players must be present and ready to play 30 minutes prior to the start of their match. When the court is called, all players must report to the tournament desk, introduce themselves to their opponent and then proceed immediately to their court. Players who delay the start of a match will have a penalty point accessed.

IMPORTANT: Players will receive a 30 minute rest period between matches at the same level. Players who elect to play at 2 levels are NOT entitled to a rest period.

USTA roving umpires will be present during the matches to maintain warm-up and rest periods, resolve disputes and enforce the rules of tennis. Officials will call foot-faults and penalize code violations. A referee will also be present to answer questions about tennis rules.

Match details:
Warm up: 10 minutes, including serves.

Games are regular scoring, with a set tie-break (first to 7 pts) when 6-6 in games is reached during the first 2 sets. If you split sets, a 10-point tiebreak will be played in lieu of the 3rd set. In doubles, order of serve and receiving order can be changed after each set.

Coman tie-break procedure is used for all tie-breaks: players change ends after the 1st point and after every 4 points thereafter.

Breaks: A 2 minute break is permitted between the 1st and 2nd set. Play is continuous between the 2nd set and 3rd set tiebreak unless there is a changeover. A maximum of 90 seconds is allowed on changeovers, 20 seconds between points.

All matches are played to completion.

All players (winners and losers) are required to turn in the balls and report their scores to the tournament desk IMMEDIATELY after their match finishes.

Captains must sign the scorecards after all courts are completed.

Player Etiquette:
Players must follow the USTA Code of Conduct at all times.

The server must call the score loudly and clearly before each serve. Players are responsible for ensuring they have heard and understood the score. If all players on a court forget the score, go back to the point that everyone agrees on.

Make all line calls clearly and immediately on your side of the court. If there is doubt, the ball is good. (A ball that is 99% out is still 100% in). Officials will overrule bad line calls.

All cell phones and electronic devices must be turned off during matches.

Bathroom breaks may be taken, but should be on a changeover and with the official’s knowledge. Players may not talk to their teammates, coaches or spectators during a bathroom break.

Spectator Etiquette
Spectators, family and team members are encouraged to attend our playoffs, as long as they abide by the following:

• May not talk to players on the court. Coaching is not allowed, and talking to players will be treated as coaching.
• May not comment or make visual signals on line calls.
• May not cause any distractions to the players.
• May not engage in any form of verbal abuse against players, spectators, or tournament staff.
• Must limit clapping and cheering as it disrupts play on adjacent courts.
• MUST turn off all cell phones and electronic devices.
• May not approach the officials to discuss matters relating to play or the players. They may, upon the request of a player, alert the official that a court needs assistance.
• May not use flash photography nor videotape matches.
• May not enter a tournament court without the permission of the tournament staff.

Spectators who violate these rules will be asked to leave.

A warning and/or a penalty may apply as a result of any player, captain or spectator interfering with match play and abusing the code of conduct. This includes disruptive behavior on or off the court.

Spectators who violate these rules will be asked to leave.

The tournament staff will provide snacks (i.e. bananas, granola bars) for the players. Please make sure your players bring their own water and any other dietary requirements.

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My third team

Q7.0 2011 has fewest players, 10 in total (incl me), that included three couples. We did really well, made into the Metro Championship.

That year the teams in Metro were plenty. We played at NTC: vs Manh, vs Brooklyn, vs Bronx in two days, May 15-16.

New York City consists five boroughs, namingly Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. Because of the players, Manhattan and Queen seem to consistently have league every season while the later three won’t. With lesser teams, there is greater opportunity to advance to the playoffs. There are teams that gaming this way. Who knows what is going to happen in playoffs? On a good hair day, even Irene could win a match.

We played Manh (0-3) & Brooklyn (1-2) the first day (5/15), Bronx the last on day two 5/16.  Jerry and I drew an elder couple (not sure they were married or just partners on court) on Court 14. The gent had trouble walking at the beginning. It was very distracting. Beating on an injury player is just not cool. Also, my team having lost both matches yesterday, was out already. Soon my concentration was gone. I began to look right and left, hoping to catch some actions. The score ended up 7-5 and 6-4. At the net as we were shaking hands, the gent said profusely that they had no business of winning.

During the match, I saw the outfits on Court 16 was unified: both players wore identical top and skirt. Because it was all mixed double matches, so one had to be a guy. Therefore, I joked to Jerry,

“Maybe next time, we could use little unity by dress the same.”

One of my mates heard, and knew instantly what was I talking about because she knew the two on Court 16. One was undergoing gender change.

Two years after that, through other teammate, the new girl would be on my team and anchoring the first doubles. A small world.

Renée Richards, an American ophthalmologist, changed his gender and played on the women’s tour. But she did not go far. Never win a slam.

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The airheads or what?

My little journey to book a party at NTC:

It took a painful week in December for them to get back at me, to say that they have five courts 4-6pm on 1/22. But they would charge 20% booking fee for any party. Never heard of it but ok since I wanted to have it there.

The charge from USTA on 12/23 is $570. The court costs $38 per hour on weekend after 4pm.

Hmmmm … I’m slow, not math wiz, didn’t learn calculus, couldn’t figure out what’s this $570 represent. 5 courts 2 hours is only $380. 20% is $76. The total should be $456.

So I called. Called. And called.

In early January, I canceled two courts, only three courts are needed.

On 1/22, they charged me $228.

Feb 14 evening called, left message
Feb 15, the front desk .. piped me to its business manager, left message on her voice mail
Feb 16 contacted Amex, a business where profit/loss matters, asking the $228 reverse to credit instead as an additional charge.

I never learnt the math behind $570.

Please allow me to borrow F. Scott Fitzgerald’s much quoted phrase: “the rich tennis people are different from you and me”.

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The ineligible pairing

The City View Tennis Club is near the LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, inside of a warehouse with large and slow elevator. The surrounding area is very crabby and dirty, and the parking is difficult. The club itself is pretty new, nicely done but somehow, I felt the craftsmanship (bathroom, etc.) is sub par. The little wooden chests that hold hand towels, tissue boxes, etc. between courts are comical. Why don’t they invest more in the chair/seating instead? The white plastic lawn chairs were out of place there.

Unless invited by the opposing team, players may not cross to their opponent’s side of the court to check a mark.

My partner and I finished our match quickly (against two 3.0s) and were playing on court #5 against our own mates. The first doubles on court #4 was still being played out. During a game, I saw our pairs were on their opponents’ side of the court, they were all standing around the net near the middle. I briefly thoughts, oh no, dispute.
After that game, my pair were still there.
How serious could it be?
I wondered and walked over.
No dispute but the young guy had a painful cramp, and he couldn’t move. So the three other players were standing there with him. Good news was that after a prolonged period of time, he was able to move and play, and played well.

I looked over at the opposing captain who was playing with his teammates. This is the third time that an opposing team has injury time out. All three times were cramp and I was there all three times, including my very first league match.

As for the injury time out. At this level of play the rule is that an injured player has a reasonable amount of time to try and recover and continue play. The only circumstance the time out is timed is when an official is present.

Good thing is my team or I had always waited for the player to come out of the cramp. Good sportsmanship should come first.

This morning when I update the scores did I realize that our (last night) opponents were both 3.0. We didn’t feel good at winning such a match and now .. feeling cheated.. .. in light of time we committed and fee paid, we or everyone would want some competitive games for all to enjoy – at least on paper if not in reality.

Only the following pairings are allowed:
6.0 = 3.0/3.0 or 3.5/2.5 or 3.0/2.5
7.0 = 3.5/3.5 or 4.0/3.0 or 3.5/3.0
8.0 = 4.0/4.0 or 4.5/3.5 or 4.0/3.5
9.0 = 4.5/4.5 or 5.0/4.0 or 4.5/4.0

This is not a nice thing to do to my team or any team. If a team doesn’t have the appropriated combo, they should forfeit the court. Dragging us out there to play a such ill fitted match is inconsiderate.

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Our third Queens match ..

The Manhattan League regular season has concluded and we made the playoffs with the lowest points among the three divisions. The three first place teams/2nd in terms of points:

Div I: 92/82.5
Div II: 95.5/89
Div III: 122.5/83

The wild card belongs to Div II Bricker/Ford. DIII Team 17-Dawes scored an eye popping 122.5 out of possible 130 points (10 matches). My goodness gracious. My 2010 Queens team raked in 122 out of 11 matches (143 possible pts).

Last night our Queens team did poorly, lost first and second doubles. One of the pairs had bagel in the first set and was leading 3-0 in the second but ultimately lost the match. The mates didn’t have a good evening. The opponents played well.

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Last night’s match was very enjoyable. The opposing captain was late so I didn’t get to meet him afterward. We filed into court #1, #3 and #5 (bit odd .. oh well..) without exchanging the lineup sheet.
The vibe on the court was positively joyful and we played with great enthusiasm. I served really well but one double fault, made all my overheads (odd too bec I’m lousy at it), and didn’t miss too much volley.
The opposing team’s girl was bit nervous at the match who played well during the subsequent sets when the match was over. She has a pair of endless long legs and made good overheads smashes. For some reason, Kai lost control and accidentally hit her couple of times. We, I felt bad but she was very gracious about it. I knew the feeling when I hit some one. It’s always unintentional but due to my skill that I don’t really have a good control of the ball. In any case, she showed cheerfulness and joked about getting even.
I need to learn how to win a closely contested matches!!

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There are moments ..

There are moments during a match that you could rise to the occasion, meet the challenge. And there are moments that one couldn’t, no matter what. I had that second moment in life last night at Queens first match. After winning the first set at 3, I lost all my mind and will. I was so disgusted … and disappointed; feeling very sorry to have let my partner down, who worked and drove us there .. Over all, the matches were well played and I enjoyed our opponents. (At least someone was happy .. wink .. wink .. wink ..)

It wasn’t the best time for traveling/driving due to the icy condition last night. But the road was rather empty at around 7pm, normally would be crowded with rush hour traffic.

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We made the playoff

YES we did it!
Thanks to the mates on the team!
Thank you for your support and consideration!

We didn’t have a perfect season like the last one but nevertheless we finished the season being the number 1 team in our 6-team division with 92 points. The possible maximum points one team could earn is 130 pts and there is a team in Div 3 who raked in 122.5 pts .. holy smoke .. smoking hot :). Division 2’s leading team has 95.5 points. The wild card to fill the fourth spot is yet to be decided because Div 1 (73.5 pts) and 2 (78 pts) 小二s has one more match to go. Div 3 #2 team has played all 10 matches ending with 83 points.

P.S. the final standing ..

It has been an exciting season for us, drama free, unfortunately. And learning for me as well. We had our first default, and I asked the dumbest question .. ..
We played our last match at Randall’s Island Sportime. It has many corners for spectators and we took advantage of it, did wine and cheese afterward – thanks to Margaret.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the team. It’s been a privilege playing with you all.

Let’s play more! Pix on FB
This club has few cozy corners for spectators ..

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