Saturday, January 28, 2006

Blow Up = Blow Out

TennisTitan and all his readers have been there. CC Flash and Titan were on serve at 2-3 in the first set when TT lost it. He quickly dropped the next three games and was facing near elimination at love-30, down 2-5 when the roof caved in, or was that the wind kicked up. In any case Gentlemen Jim suddenly "blew up." First his serve, then his ground strokes, then his composure as he proceeded to drop the last five games to TT and give the Titan a surprising (7-5) victory. Flash could not get it together in the second set either and was embarrassed by Titan who served him a late morning bagel (6-0). Yup, that is a rarity between these two evenly matched opponents. Titan is stunned that he managed to win eleven games in a row against a player who all too often disheartens TT with his incredible ability to get to the ball. But Jim, you got to hit it straight! That racquet you threw over the fence today was your most accurate serve of the day. Those three balls you creamed against the back fence to dissipate your anger have left permanent green stripes on the balls. I hope there is another match between up before the end of my Southern Tour.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I See a Pattern Developing

Well, it took some doing but Titan final got the wake up call for the second set today. Repeating an all too familiar pattern TT again dropped the first set to 'CC Flash' in a near blink of an eye. After holding and winning game one Titan hit the skids as 'Gentleman Jim' took control of the next three games, nary losing a point to take a (1-3) lead. TT managed a break in game 5 but continued his inability to master the tricky wind conditions to lose the set in very short order (2-6). Titan had watched the Aussie Open live from 3:30 am til 7:30 and was somnamulant as his feebly chased down 'Flash' incredible returns. TT managed to back up his hold in game 1 of set 2 with an early break and was never headed as more and more errors crept into Jim's game. Before he knew it Titan had taken the set from 'Flash' as easily as he had lost the opener (6-2). 'Flash' left the court scratching his beard trying to figure out how he manages to lose second sets to this 'bloated behemoth'. Titan can't figure it out either.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

God, How I Love This game!

TennisTitan and CC Flash continued their epic battles today in what turned out to be a classic match. Similar to their engagement of last Friday, the Titan and 'Gentlemen Jim' brought their game to a high level. Titan, returning to the courts a second consecutive day, showed surprising resilence in today's two setter. Like last Friday TT went away quietly in set one. Titan was unable to keep pace with his extremely quick, indefatiguable, and highly motivated adversary from the Cape. 'Flash' had all the answers as he tracked down each and every one of TT's near-winners to win the last four games of the first set to demoralize the 'man of limited movement' with a (2-6) thumping. 'Gentlemen Jim' further stunned the 'bloated behemoth' whose legs were giving out in the middle of set two by rallying from a 4-2 deficit to take a lead at 4-5. Then the unthinkable happened. Your Titan proved his mettle. Two points away from another despiriting defeat, Titan rallied with four straight fantastic-effort points to force a tenth game. TT reprised that effort in game eleven rallying from love-40 to break an enraged and disbelieving 'Flash' to set up his dramatic hold at love in the 12th and deciding game (7-5). This was easily TennisTitan most impressive win of this tour. Now readers, can you guess how many times 'Gentleman Jim' threw that racquet today? Can you say, five (5).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Family Matters

TennisTitan took his tour up the road this date 40 miles to rekindle his rivalry with Jeff 'Big Daddy' Briscoe. Titan and his son engaged in a two hour marathon in humid, summer-like conditions at Franz Park in Port Charlotte. Titan managed to eke out a victory (6-4) in the opener holding serve - a rare accomplishment this date - in the 10th game, consolidating the break of the previous game. 'Big Daddy' had relinquished his early break at (1-3) when he dropped three consecutive games to go down (4-3). TT's progeny broke back at love in the eighth game only to be broken again in the oppressive heat that wore down these two men who moved around the court like manatees. Set two was also a back and forth affair and ended with Titan about to serve at (4-5). 'Big Daddy' had to return home for child care duty. Not a moment too soon from the Titan's perspective! To be continued on Thursday.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Role Reversal

TennisTitan and CC Flash engaged in an epic two setter this morning with Titan coming away the beaten but unbowed performer. Titan dropped both sets (3-6, 6-7 (4)) to the more well conditioned athlete. TT fell behind in both sets but played valiantly in the 80 degree, humid temperatures that basked the BCK courts. TennisTitan had the second set on his racquet when serving at 6-5, ad-in but couldn't get the job done as 'Gentleman Jim' played especially well on the big points. Titan's serve abandoned him as the match wore on in the oppressive conditions. TT uncharacteristically double faulted 4 times in the 105 minute marathon due to the drain on his stamina. It's tough looking at your opponent who has barely broken a sweat when you have 20 ounces of perspiration saturating your shirt as you try to elevate your legs to get a second serve in with pace. 'Gentlemen Jim' had most of the answers today but Titan feels very good about his overall effort, rallying from break-down in both sets to make this a very competitive match. Both performers thought that today's play was the high water mark of this tour. Titan shall head to the Pine Island flats this afternoon to give the fish a run for their money. But he is itching to get back on the courts and doubts that he can wait until his rematch with 'CC Flash' on Monday. 'Big Daddy' Jeff will be here Sunday and TTs got something cooking with a new opponent who has contacted him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hey, Mel Allen, "How About That"

Yankee fans, remember that cry from Yankee baseball in the '50s and early '60's? Our beloved voice of the Yankees making that call after a great play. That's how the Titan feels about todays performance against 'CC Flash.' Your ol' Titan pitched a Whitey Ford complete game, throwing a shut out at 'Flash' sweeping both sets (6-0, 3-0 retired). 'Gentleman Jim' did his best Roberto Duran after this ass-kicking "no mas, amigo'' in a match played in windy conditions on the grounds of BCK. Titan doesn't know if he enjoyed boating that 3 lb. 21" sea trout yesterday afternoon more than this effort against 'Flash' after Monday's debacle. Let's just say, I savored them both equally. 'Flash' is just unable to adapt on certain days when conditions do not favor his power game. Poor 'Flash' never heard of "Plan B." Hey, doesn't Briscoe start with "B." As a matter of fact so does boastful, braggart, blowhard and bullshitter! That's me!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Some things you Can't OVERCOME, Dr. King

TennisTitan and 'cc Flash' celebrated MLK Day in their favorite fashion. It was a "feel good about yourself holiday" for them too. Or at least it was for 'Flash.' 'Gentleman Jim' swept both sets today (4-6, 1-6) with the results unfortunately impacted by a troubling phone call received by TT at the 4-5 change over in set one. Titan learned that his ailing sister in NY was awaiting EMT service to transport her to hospital due to breathing issues. TT had taken an early 3-1 lead in the set only to lose a multi-deuce 7th game due to a controversial 'let call' on a Titan service winner that prolonged a game that gave 'Flash' a lead. After breaking back in game eight, Titan choked big time at 40-15 in the deciding ninth game. Then the phone call. Not only did his serve desert the Titan, but even more so, the heart, that will to win that Titan needs to compete at his best. Ergo the second set rout by a relentless 'Flash.' So today readers it was not a leg cramp but rather a brain cramp that did the Titan in!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

When is Enough Too Much?

TennisTitan just can't get enough somedays. Titan took to the courts a second time on Friday. After two hours of singles in the morning, (boating 7 trout in the afternoon,) TT travelled to the Mid-Cape Tennis Center in the evening and participated in a two and one-half hour round robbin with 14 other players of varying ability. Titan acquitted himself quite well pairing with players of lesser and greater ability on the clay courts. It is such a different game on this surface from that posed at Blue Crab Key's hard court. Placement becomes even more important for this 'man of limited movement'. Titan struggled primarily against those players who have the ability to put side spin and back spin on their returns. TT's reaction time is poor to begin with and the ball's erratic hop on the clay taxes Titan to the hilt. The highlight of the evening for TT was his final match of the day. Titan engaged Mark Fragos "The Ad" man in a set of singles before the lights went out as the other round-robbiners quaffed down beer and soda and celebrated their performance. Titan is happy to report that he had enough juice in his legs to overcome the fledgling efforts of 'Ad Man' (6-2). Mark is new to the Cape, partners in a local advertizing agency, and has apparently been away from the game a while. He was eager to get into the social fabric of the area and chose tennis as his vehicle. What better way for him to gain confidence than beat up on the 'bloated behemoth', a man twice his age with half his stamina! But Titan paid a heavy price two hours later as he writhed on the floor of his condo as his brother applied hot compresses to his cramping legs. Ah. Those of you who play Titan know his final thought as he drifted off to sleep, "Ah shit, it was worth it!"

Friday, January 13, 2006

Triscadecaphobia... Not me!

Your Titan hooked up for the final time this week on Friday 13th (Triscadecaphobia) with 'CC Flash' in what turned out to be a barn-burner of a match. TennisTitan/'Flash' went toe to toe for one hour and three quarters in summer-like conditions. When it was over TT and ''Flash" had split two well played sets contested in windless, humid conditions. Titan showed surprising resilience coming back to take the night cap (6-2) after dropping the opener (4-6) to 'Gentleman Jim.' TennisTitan was down 2-5, love-30 in the opener and managed to get it back to 4-5, add in, only to lose the tenth game on the fifth deuce to a determined and more well conditioned 'CC Flash.' Ordinarily that outcome would spell certain defeat for the very fatiguable TT but not today. TT managed to break 'Flash' in the opener, held at love and was never headed. As the match wore on it was 'Flash' who wilted in the heat as evidenced by his firing of the ball over the fence in disgust and a few (modest) racquet tosses. Your Titan was especially pleased with his second set victory because he attributes it to his will to win and slightly improved physical conditioning. Titan is down 15 lbs from his December tour weight but still lugs 85 lbs more than 'Flash' to eke out his victories. Believe me, that is no easy feat!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

All Good Things Come to an End

TT met 'CC Flash' this date in another two setter. The outcome today was more typical of their level of play against each other. Although 'CC Flash' continued to struggle with his serve throughout the morning match he managed to end Titan's recent five set winning streak against him in the second set, taking it convincingly (1-6) due to his superior conditioning. Titan could not sustain his level of play in set two that had led him to capture the opening set (6-4). In set one 'Gentleman Jim' had rallied from a (4-2) deficit to level the match at four. 'Flash' then proceeded to lose the next eight points much to the Titan's delight. 'Flash' displayed his usual intemperate outbursts, flinging his racquet on three occasions, and managing to trip himself in the process on his final fling in game 11 of the first set. But who's to say that this emotional venting did not lead to the dominance he displayed in the set that followed. 'Flash' promised more of this same 'Mountaineer Music' when the two hook up again on Friday

Monday, January 09, 2006

Yankee Pot Roast

Your Titan was out there again today in ideal playing conditions. With temperatures in the high 60's and a light breeze filtering through beautiful azure blue cloudless skies Titan had a day for himself. TT continued his recent hot streak against 'CC Flash' by rolling to a two set sweep of his nemesis (6-1, 6-1). Titan can not account for his recent easy victories against two opponents that often give him considerable trouble. TT can only opine that "if you can't get your first serve in against me with consistency and with pace, this 'MLM' will make you pay for it if you offer him a meat ball on the second serve." As with 'Big Daddy' Jeff on Saturday 'CC Flash' could not generate anything on his serve and was ineffective from the baseline. Titan continues to play heady tennis, mixing his serves well and pounding most returns whenever possible to his opponents backhand. "If it's broke, Flash, you've got to fix it!" chortled the Titan at the match conclusion. As a dejected 'Gentleman Jim' left Blue Crab Key this morning he assured Titan, "On Wednesday Titan, I'll play you some Mountaineer Music!" To wit TT retorted, "it'll go good with the Yankee Pot Roast I made out of you today!"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Snake Eyes" = Pair of Sixes

Your TennisTitan is entertaining both his sons at Blue Crab Key this weekend. What better thing to do than play tennis if the boat is not yet in the water. Who cares if it is 57 degrees and the winds are swirling at 15-20mph? Not the Titan or his son, Jeff 'Big Daddy' Briscoe who 'got it on' for a two setter in these conditions earlier today. And what a marked contrast in performance and results over the 75 minute affair. Indeed only 12 games were played! TT was near run off the court by the determined play and big service of 'Big Daddy' in set one as Titan only managed to win 13 points in the entire set (0-6). Who would have figured that 'Big Daddy,' dropping the opening game of set 2 with 3 double faults would have sent his confidence into a tailspin? Certainly not TT who failed to distinguish himself in any game played today. Yet the Titan managed to be less affected by the windy conditions than his opponent (see yesterday's performance against 'CC Flash') and continued getting his three quarter speed serve in to Jeff's backhand effectively as 'BD's serve went awry. TT contested each and every point in set two winning three multi-deuce games to capture the set (6-0). As 'Big Daddy' said as they left the court, "Not bad for an old man, now where are you taking us out for dinner?"

Friday, January 06, 2006

An Ill Wind Blows...

TennisTitan began his January Southern Senior Tour on an unexpected positive note. Titan clashed with his number one tennis adversary, 'Gentleman Jim' Stephens at Blue Crab Key this date and swept a pair of sets (6-3, 6-2) played in very windy conditions. 'CC Flash' was unable to adapt as well as TT to the gusting winds that plagued this 90 minute match from start to finish. True to form, 'CC Flash,' away from the singles game these past three weeks, started slowly but was unable to recover in his typical fashion. 'Flash' had dominated Titan during the latter half of the December tour primarily due to superior serving and crisp ground stroking. Neither skill was available to him this morning as he fell rather meekly to 'MLM' (man of limited movement) who was careful not to over hit and concentrated on working over 'Flash's backhand as much as possible. Titan knows that 'CC', last months "Colossus of the Court" will be sure to turn up next week when their matches resume on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Stay tuned.