Friday, August 19, 2011

COURT REPORT : Updated 1/10/12


Tennis players need clean air !!
Scientists have blended plants with technology to produce cleaner air

      Apart from producing oxygen for us to breathe,plants can now actually clean stale air ! 
Wayne Schaeffer, who taught us how to hit a backhand ( scroll down for article on Wayne's backhand),  is also involved in the clean-the-air-with-plants business.

                      The idea is so simple that it is brilliant:
Stale air is lured by a special fan into a flower pot and all the bad stuff in the air is surrounded and trapped by super human carbon particles in the soil- who then send a secret encrypted message to the microbes in the soil. The microbes then  seek vengeance,demolish the evil toxins and free the fresh air back into the universe. 

If all this sounds too technical, visit for a primer on the product !!

Since Wayne loves the Fall League, he has been able to secure a 10% discount for any and all readers of this site who might want to buy this. 
Wayne can be reached at

Disclaimer: We are not paid a commission for selling this product. 
Our ulterior motive ? We just like to breathe easier !!


League Players make bold statement !

The Republican primaries are in progress with the elections just a few months away. As some candidates relaxed on their porches enjoying (iced) tea parties on a very warm January  weekend, some of our League players asked them some very tough questions :                                                                          

1. Have you ever played tennis ?                                                     
2. Have you ever played tennis OUTDOORS in January?           
3.Have you ever played tennis in January  in your shorts ?         
4. Is there a possibility that 'climate change' (gasp!) is real ??     
5. Does it mean that 'global warming' might actually exist ?!?   

Our League players were in full swing playing outdoor tennis this weekend to get used to spring like conditions in preparation for the 2012 Spring Tennis League !

Kudos to our January Hall of Famers:

Rick Lange
Greg Tellier aka The Terminator
Jay Han
Jon Forsberg
John Kasten
Anne Gorrick
Ravi Ramaswami
Betsy Wise
John Kasten conducting a January doubles clinic as Rick Lange and Anne Gorrick look on

Jay Han sipping coffee to warm up awaiting his opponent Jon Forsberg

Rick Lange arriving to play doubles

Betsy Wise reporting for duty to prepare for the USTA 8.0 Mixed Doubles League

Anne Gorrick  getting ready to break the record for the latest date to play outdoors in winter

The Terminator Greg Tellier's deadly forehand zipped through even faster in the crisp winter air

Greg Tellier and Ravi Ramaswami are all smiles to be playing outdoors in January

 So,this November, ask your candidates what it means to play tennis in January and,remember, you will never go wrong casting your vote for a tennis player !!!


Jingle all the way !!
The Terminator Greg Tellier with Ravi Ramaswami celebrating Xmas on the tennis court 

  Christmas with no snow on the ground and sunny skies ??
 Yes Virginia,there is a Santa Claus !!

Our 2 frozen nosed experts sent us this report from the trenches:
"Playing in ambient temperature of 24 degrees F causes changes in ball behavior. It has something to do with the laws of physics where there is a direct relation between temperature and pressure: When the weather is warm the molecules inside a tennis ball keep bouncing all over the place in a never ending party. However they tend to be rather reclusive when it gets colder".
In simple English it means the colder the temperature,the lower the ball bounces and the more you need to bend your knees as well as hit higher over the net !

Thank you,guys, for that extremely valuable piece of information which
 will be of immense help to any League player who wants to go out and hit in January !!!



Heart and mind on the tennis court
Do you show enough heart on the tennis court during tight matches ? The sheer will to win has taken many players past the finish line. 

Jimmy Connors' run at the US Open in 1994, a cramping Michael Chang winning the French Open and an injured Pete Sampras clinching the Davis Cup against Russia in the deciding match are examples of the heart and mind triumphing against all odds.
Here is a motivational video that deals with this. It is not tennis related but the allusions are very similar.


     Have a great Holiday Season and New Year !! 

Winter workout Part 2
                 There was considerable excitement generated by our last post. Many of you are planning to incorporate the workout (see video below) as part of their winter regimen. For many of our League Players this would be a very effective and compact exercise program specific for tennis.

But for those who want something more heavy duty:

One of our Fall League players-John Dorfner-  who is a certified coach and personal trainer for the CrossFit method of  cross fitness training sent us this email:

           Thanks for putting up some strength and conditioning tips.  This is so important for good health and good tennis.  Some people may think tennis is enough.  I think  tennis as the cherry on the top of the cake.  If I train well, I play tennis well. The video on your web site is good,  because it attempts to mix mono structural metabolic conditioning with gymnastics.     

                                            My workout would look like this: 4 rounds  of jump ropes,sit-ups, air squats and pushups.
I would not do this same workout ever again.  Just once. And then mix up some other combination of functional movements the next day.
 The interesting thing to note about this type of exercise program is that you don't need to spend a lot of time doing it .
And, if you were to throw all these exercises into a hopper and choose which to do at random,
it would also train you psychologically to be prepared to do anything.  This is  good training for tennis!

 John feels that the ideal workout needs more intensity and  a potpourri of exercises.

We could not agree with him more. Doing a variety of exercises has a lot of advantages: it affects different muscle groups,allows the body to function in different positions (like in a tennis match) and takes away the monotony of the work out.

By the way if you want to contact John for his tips or even hire him as your personal trainer he can be reached at

You have all winter to prepare for the 
2012 Spring Tennis League !!


5 minute tennis workout for the winter

    We are always on the look out for new ways to help our League Players play their best tennis.
Our research department discovered this simple work out routine video that will whip you in shape for the 2012 Spring Tennis League !!!          

And all it takes is 5 minutes a day !! Or you can do 3 reps and it still takes only 15 minutes !!  It is virtually guaranteed to improve your footwork,increase your endurance and build your core muscles. 
Here is the video ( though you may have to turn up the volume):



                    All I want for Xmas.......

A dry court and sunny skies are a tennis player's most requested gift from Santa especially in December ! Our League players keep braving the morning chill and showing up on court !!
Scott Taylor

Frank Ferracane

Bundled up doubles at Forsythe Park

Fall League follies: Greg Tellier trying to retrieve  a ball

John Kasten not letting his winter coat hamper his backswing

                       AWARDS PARTY

For those who could not make it to the season ending awards party we take you inside the event !!

From left: Wayne Schaffer,Scott Taylor,Tom Turco and Ed Rogers
Fall League MVP Sharon Crego with husband Randy

Spirit of Tennis awardees Ed Rogers,Magda Toro and Lisa Cutten

Most improved player award winners Karla Wainwright and Frank Ferracane

Karla and Tom Turco Mixed Doubles Champions

Men's Singles winner Frank Ferracane

Steve Hack,a Spirit of Tennis winner with his daughter

Undefeated Men's A singles winners Jay Han (right) and Ravi Ramaswami

Men's singles winner Rick Lange

 We hope you have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season !! Get ready for the  2012 Spring League !!


MVP : Sharon Crego
Most improved player: Karla Wainwright
                                     Frank Ferracane 

Sharon won the most points among men or women and played a lot of tennis.
Both Karla and Frank were beginners who ended up winning matches.
Karla was a Mixed Doubles champion and Frank was the leader in the Men's B singles.

Great job guys !!

                 FALL LEAGUE AWARDS Part 2
                                  The winners
 First of all let us start by saying that there were no losers in the Fall League. Everyone who played is a winner and everyone who loved to play is a champion.

However there are a few who,by the virtue of winning more matches, accumulated more points. We made our list based on overall points won and the number of people in the draw in each division. 
Draws with many participants had 3 winners and events with smaller draws had 1 winner.

Here is the list (drum roll,please):

1. Women's Singles:
Sharon Crego
Chris Lipson
Melissa Bamford

2.Women's A Doubles: 
 Linda Katt/Kelly Ryan

3.Women's B Doubles:  
Peg Duke/Janet Chapman

4. Mixed Doubles A: (Tied)
Amanda Scott/Andrew Constant
Milly Back/Ravi Ramaswami

5.Mixed Doubles B:
Chris/Taylor Lipson
Karla Wainwright/Tom Turco
Claudia/Michael Brown

6.Men's Doubles:
Justin/Ed Horvers

7.Men's B Singles: 
Frank Ferracane
Rick Lange
Tomasz Andruczyk 

8. Men's A Singles:
Ravi Ramaswami
Jay Han
Kevin Dodd
Please meet them at the end-of -season awards party which is to be held the weekend before Thanksgiving !

(Date/Venue being decided )


                FALL LEAGUE AWARDS Part 1                                        The 7 Samurai
 We have just come up with the first batch of Fall League Awards ! This is being awarded to 7 outstanding Fall League players. 
The reason they are outstanding ? Because they love the game so much and they were always willing to play a Fall League match regardless of the perceived outcome of the match.
Please send a congratulatory email to the winners of the
Mid Hudson Tennis Fall League 'Spirit of Tennis' award:
(In alphabetical order)

1.Lisa Cutten
2.Jon Forsberg
3.Steve Hack
4.Cindy Kowalewski
5.Ed Rogers
6.Magda Toro
7. Donna Viertel

The Fall League has been extremely successful with over a hundred matches played and multiple players vying for the 'Best in Hudson Valley' accolade. We have always believed that the sweetness of victory is balanced by the agony of defeat. 
('Treat both imposters the same': Kipling)

We also believe that Harry Hopman and the Aussies had it right : Compete at the highest level on the tennis court and then when evening falls, have a Fosters with your opponent !

                           Court invasion !
" Let's play a let ! "
What constitutes tennis court invasion ? This is a term used when the opponent 'invades' your side of the court.Your opponent should stay on his/her side of the court at all times during play. Invasion is :  if they run into your court after returning a wide shot, place their racquet as a support on your side of the court to avoid touching the net,racquet slips and falls on your side or even coming to inspect a ball mark on your side of the court.
All types of court invasion is a loss of point for the invader. Of course if a ball or anybody else other than your opponent invades the court, a let is played.

                      Bending without breaking
All of us have been in this situation before: a long match when nothing seems to be going right. And then all the excuses start hounding your brain : the muscles seem to feel more tired and achy,the opponent seems to be getting lucky,the humidity seems oppressive and it seems not to be your day to win-and somehow losing seems justified.

                                   Champions always find a way to get out of these situations-they may not win in the end but at least they redeem themselves. Pete Sampras,Andre Agassi,Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer...the list goes on. The common element here is their ability to avoid a meltdown and not lose their focus no matter how adverse the outcome seems to appear. 
Sports psychologists tell you to 'dig down deep'.  What that means is 'staying in the present'--trying to avoid thinking about the consequence of defeat and concentrating on execution rather than results. By not thinking about shots you missed and not fearing shots you are about to make ('I hope I don't double fault') you will be able to stay focused on the present and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

This is also true when you are in the lead. "Choking" is when you leave the present and worry about the prospect of losing despite being in the lead. This is one of the reasons people lose matches they should have won.
                                             The pictures of the tree above were taken after the recent snowstorm. For a while it seemed the tree would collapse with all that weight of the snow-but the tree did not seem too worried and patiently waited for the snow to melt. Next time you are in a tight match--be the tree !


                               Snow use
What would YOU rather do ?

Yes. It's no use complaining.
What would you rather do: shovel snow or play tennis ?
Better still why don't you do both ? Shovel off the snow from the tennis court and then play !!

The last day of the Fall League is still 2 weeks away and we are even planning to have a season ending party ! So why wait ? Show us what you are really made of ! Don't let the weather interfere with your matches and make  High Priestess Milly Back proud of you !!!

                   Tennis players need clean air !!
Scientists have blended plants with technology to produce cleaner air

      Apart from producing oxygen for us to breathe,plants can now actually clean stale air ! 
Wayne Schaeffer, who taught us how to hit a backhand ( scroll down for article on Wayne's backhand),  is also involved in the clean-the-air-with-plants business.

                      The idea is so simple that it is brilliant:
Stale air is lured by a special fan into a flower pot and all the bad stuff in the air is surrounded and trapped by super human carbon particles in the soil- who then send a secret encrypted message to the microbes in the soil. The microbes then  seek vengeance,demolish the evil toxins and free the fresh air back into the universe. 

If all this sounds too technical, visit for a primer on the product !!

Since Wayne loves the Fall League, he has been able to secure a 10% discount for any and all Fall League players who might want to buy this. 
Wayne can be reached at

Disclaimer: We are not paid a commission for selling this product. 
Our ulterior motive ? We just like to breathe easier !!

                            Marquee match of the week :

                            Kevin Dodd vs. Jon Forsberg

Kevin: "It was a nail biting second set where if we were sword fighting I think we'd both be dead !"


                                              Don't try this at home !!

Fall league player finishes tennis match ignoring deer tick and bull's eye rash !!
Embedded deer tick in thigh ? No worries !
Bull's eye rash ? The only bull's eye is the serve to the backhand corner !!
Throbbing ache in the leg ? Play through the pain !
Fear of Lyme disease ? Just focus on the ball and feet !

This fall league player just raised the bar for 
Zen tennis by ignoring outside distractions and keeping his eyes on the ball for two hours regardless of blood loss !

He is a surely going to be a nominee for High Priestess Milly Back's Medal of Honor-after he gets out of court mandated psychotherapy !



             Off to play Buenos Aires !!!


Karen Gill (Mixed Doubles A)-seen here at the Woodstock Tennis Club- is going on a speaking engagement 
for tennis professionals to sunny Buenos Aires
                                                Karen Gill has been the # 1 ranked woman tennis player in the east, the head pro at Woodstock Tennis Club and a popular tennis coach for kids and adults. And, if that's not enough, she is also a Fall League player ! Karen is very busy at her club but still finds time to play competitive tennis. She hits the ball flat with low net clearance so that the ball reaches the other side very quickly. She also likes to come to the net which puts added pressure on her hapless opponents.
                                                Karen has been invited to speak at a tennis conference in Buenos Aires and plans to spend a month there afterwards scouting for more opponents to play tennis !


Drinking a lot of water during play indicates a lack of conditioning and hydration
 Hydration is an important component of match play that is often neglected by tennis players.The rule of thumb is that if you feel thirsty on the court you are at least 10-20% BEHIND in your fluid balance. Thus the longer a match goes and the hotter the day is,this gets more inflated. Drinking a lot of water on the court can make the stomach feel heavy. More importantly,on a triple H day when you are losing a lot of salt and potassium through sweating, increasing water intake can actually compound the problem by 'diluting' the blood and causing electrolyte imbalance leading to cramping and muscle pain from increased lactic acid production.
                                                                            It is therefore critical to start hydration before match play -even a day before.  

Here are some tips from (our beloved) USTA:

Key tips for hydration :
1. Always start hydrating the day before a match
2. An indicator of adequate hydration is passing clear colored urine
3. Continue hydrating till an hour before the match
4. Supplement a 50:50 sports drink/water mixture during a match or a 50:50 mixture of orange juice/water with a pinch of salt.
5. Continue sips of water mixture at every change over
6. Hydrate based on weight loss as per guidelines noted above after the match.



                             Coach Scott
Scott Taylor (Men's A Singles) measures his shots with remarkable precision

Fall League player Scott Taylor (Men's A Singles) is the most respected coach of  New Paltz High School's tennis team. He infuses his tennis team not only with the ability to play competitive tennis but also to have fun on the court.
                                             Scott is no slouch on the tennis court himself. He has the uncanny ability to turn tables against his opponents by using their weapons against them. He is a master at using his opponents' pace to redirect the ball. His quickness on the court can be unnerving as it is difficult to put the ball past him. 
It is therefore not surprising that he is the reigning Ulster County Senior Men's singles title holder and has also won multiple Ulster County doubles titles as well.

              USTA: The debate lingers on............            

We are thrilled that the articles regarding the USTA (scroll down for articles) has generated a lot of heated discussion and exchange of viewpoints. We have always maintained, in the articles, that the USTA is a well structured,funded, and organized entity. We have merely indicated our amazement at discovering the animosity recreational tennis players have concerning the USTA -many of whom do not play in USTA  leagues because of this. 
In any case, the debate indicates how passionate Fall League players are about their tennis- regardless of whether they subscribe to either side of the argument.

 Here is an edited version of an email we recently received :  

 I think it is wonderful that people are organizing local tennis.  It is a great opportunity to get to play other tennis players in the area.  What I don’t understand is why all the trashing of the USTA?  People have gripes with everything…my experience with USTA league play has been a very positive one.    I have met wonderful tennis people up and down the valley that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  And  I don’t feel there is any way to duplicate the “feeling” of playing a USTA match.
For whatever reason was the motivation to start local organization, we are talking about 2 different animals here.  USTA is team oriented while local league play is oriented to individual play.  It is great to have the opportunity to have both.  Sure, we will have issues with both and each offer a different experience. 

For an opposing view, here is a reader's opinion posted on our Facebook page (Mid Hudson Tennis):

There isn't enough words to say about the USTA!! I have read the articles in the blogspot and agree with the majority about how wrong the USTA has been for a long time. They have the money to help and repair majority of the U.S. tennis courts, etc.. , but will go hide. And you wonder why we haven't had a American win a major in a longtime?!!! MONEY!!! GREED!!! SELFISHNESS!!!! Words are words, but solid proof is the truth!!!

Whew ! Pretty soon we will have to call in the TSA to screen players before entering the tennis courts !!

That's the end of the USTA debate for this season !!

And, as the people at Fox News say:
"We decide" !!!

         The best player not playing in the 
                            Fall League 
shows you how to hit a topspin backhand

Wayne Schaeffer is well known and respected in the tennis community. He has a bunch of singles and doubles titles. At one point in time he was a perpetually unstoppable winner in the Ulster County Senior Men's Singles. He had to opt out of the Fall League- which resulted in the rest of the players in Men's A singles breathing a collective sigh of relief !

Anyway he is back in action after an injury layoff and is busy preparing himself for the proposed 2012 Spring League !!

The first picture shows how Wayne initiates his backhand by stepping in to the shot. He has a good shoulder turn as indicated by the fact that he is showing his back to his opponent. His weight is on the front foot and he is attacking the ball instead of waiting for it.Notice his strong backhand grip and the fact that he is getting his racquet below the ball by bending his knees.

Wayne shows how well he has extended into the shot. His left hand is behind him which keeps him sideways longer. His high follow through indicates he has imparted top spin to his stroke.Since his racquet face was closed in the take back ( see first picture) he can swing through the ball and finish high without worrying about the ball sailing out.  He is well balanced and ready to move for the next shot.

Here is what it looks like:

 How to hit a forehand by The Terminator

  In tennis circles, Fall League Singles A player, Greg Tellier, is known as 'The Terminator'. His forehands (when he is hitting them badly) clocks around 100 mph !! And when he is hitting them nicely,even Tony Soprano would say,"Fuggedaboutit !"
                                       However, much as we fear Greg, he also has a kind streak in him and he graciously agreed to share the secrets of his fearsome forehand with us:
 His first move is coiling his upper body,taking his racquet above his shoulder, keeping his left arm close to the handle and pointing to the side screen

 As he steps in and uncoils,notice how his racquet gets BELOW the ball.This is essential to lift the ball over the net and impart tremendous topspin.

 He uncoils his torso imparting tremendous whip to the ball.His power comes from his lower body rather than his arm.He is also keeping his eyes on the ball with a still head.And if you did not notice: the ball is in the DEAD CENTER of his strings. Even top pros would envy this shot.Wow !!
 Finally he finishes high to impart even more topspin. Notice how much he has uncoiled compared to the first picture. 

That degree of  torque gives the shot rotational velocity and angular momentum translating into speed and gives us reason to fear The Terminator when,at the end of the match,he says, " I'll be baack!!"

And,in case you don't believe any of this, here is a short video of what his forehand looks like in real time:

Greg Tellier is a USPTA certified pro who gives private lessons and strings racquets. 

He can be reached at

 USTA Counterpoint:
After reading all the negative comments on the USTA, a Fall League player (who is also on the board of the USTA), offers the following counterpoint :

After reading all the criticism on this website regarding the USTA  and USTA League play, I must say my  experience is quite different.  Ever since I joined  a League in 2003 I have made incredible friends that will last a lifetime and win or lose, I have played some amazing  matches that  improved my game.  I captained a team for four years and loved that too.  I prefer the structure of the  USTA  matches and I think that although they have had their problems in the past as an organization, they recognized it and are currently investing more money into the players, especially the youth. I'm glad they exist and  happy to be a part of it.  

Be part of the debate !! 
Email us at
                          Go Sawyers !!!
Ed Horvers (left) with son Justin Horvers getting ready to play their Fall League
Men's B Doubles match

 Ed Horvers and Justin Horvers from Saugerties are a formidable father-son duo who fight and scratch their way into every match they play. In fact, all Fall League matches they have been involved in have gone to a 3rd set super tie-break !

Apart from enjoying playing in the Fall League,Ed and Justin have another sport they are passionate about.
Justin proudly dons his blue jersey # 56 for Saugerties High School.
The sport ? You guessed it: Football !!
                          GO BLUE !!


                 You've gotta love this guy !!!
The incredible Steve Hack ( Men's A singles)
Steve Hack (scroll down for more on Steve) is just incredible ! He  manages to pull more victories out of the fire that he lights with his matches ( pun totally intended !) and stays focused for hours at a stretch.
Take, for example, his Fall League match against Kevin Dodd 
( one of  High Priestess Milly Back's original Rain Men-scroll down for more info).
This match went on for more than 3 hours and in the end Steve pulled it off again by a nose : 
6-4, 4-6, 16-14 in the super tie-break !!
"I had a poor record in tie-breaks",said Steve in a post-match interview, "until my coach taught me how to turn things around in the tie-break". (He is coached by 10 year old Bradley Hack, the 2011 Ulster Open Junior tennis champ, who also happens to be his son).

Somewhere, under the rainbow.....
Who needs a pot o' gold when you can have the company of Fall League player Tom Turco ?

 It is only fair that the Fall League player who passionately loves to play doubles and who also holds a whole bunch of doubles championship titles gets to stand  under a DOUBLE rainbow ! 
Tom Turco is not only a great tennis player but also a gentleman extraordinaire !

(His opponents on the tennis court might respectfully disagree with the 'gentleman' title as he mercilessly vanquishes them).

Tom plays tennis like it was meant to be played- full of action. None of that boring and endless ground stroke rallies when you play him. Tom has a wicked serve and volley,chip and charge game that leaves his opponents in total disarray. Apart from being a lot of fun on and off court he also has drop dead good looks and drop dead volleying skills. Presently he and partner Karla Wainwright are leading the leader board in Mixed Doubles and Tom is also at the top in Men's A singles.


Have mop,will travel...will play tennis !!

(From left) Ray Middaugh,Taylor Lipson, Chris Lipson, and Amy Keller posing with their court cleaning equipment
 After rain lashed out and washed out 2 days of tennis last weekend, a spot of blue appeared in the skies and clouds started evaporating on Sunday morning leaving wet courts with pools of water stagnating over the baselines. Most people just rolled over in bed enjoying a snooze or relaxed in an armchair with a hot mug of coffee reading the comic strips in the Sunday newspaper. 

Tennis players-the non-fainthearted ones- like the Chris and Taylor Lipson,Amy Keller and Roy Middaugh had other plans. Armed with brooms,squeegees and towels they dried the courts layer by layer till an hour later the court was bone dry and they could play their Fall League mixed doubles match.
                                           There are tennis players and tennis players. Some are a cut above the rest. In our books, the industrious foursome featured above are a cut above the best !


The USTA League vs the Fall League?!!??  
    (2 of 2 articles on the USTA with views compiled from Fall League players)

                 USTA=United States Tennis Association

  ( Note: The views expressed in this article belong to the author  and other Fall League players  and is not endorsed by the USTA ! )

  We were amazed to note that over 50% of our Fall League participants either voiced their displeasure regarding the USTA or joined our league as a protest against the USTA. This is surprising because the USTA is the sole governing body of tennis in the USA and as such has been trying to promote tennis heavily especially at the recreational level. There are USTA leagues and tournaments galore and even local and national rankings. The USTA has a well oiled machinery that keeps all this going and its infrastructure is well laid out.
                                                                     So why all this animosity ? When we asked our Fall League players there were some very interesting responses:

"The USTA is a great organization but it is all about the USTA not its members"

"The USTA is quite hypocritical. They never took a stand during apartheid in South Africa; never gave Althea Gibson ( first and only  African American woman to win Wimbledon) any formal recognition. It took a lawsuit filed by minority groups  for them to actually draft a diversity policy. A few months later they named a stadium after Arthur Ashe ! "

"I had a tennis friend who lived in Atlanta for 10 years (Atlanta has a very active tennis organization,ALTA,  the largest non-USTA league organization) and was able to play constant tennis - as much as she wanted.  I thought that was pretty inspiring...  Instead of the "keep people out" vibe of the USTA, it's an "invite people in" vibe"

"I signed up for a USTA league online and paid for it. The league was cancelled by the USTA but the USTA did not refund a portion of my money saying the 'online fee' was non-refundable "

"The USTA league is all about winning. You win,you play more. You lose-you go home and wait for the next tournament"

"As a tournament director, I have avoided making my tournament an USTA tournament because I have to pay a franchising fee to the USTA and pass on the extra cost to the players"

"There are some USTA league teams who so desperately want to win that they cheat,make bad calls and even have players playing below their levels. It destroys the spirit of tennis and the enjoyment"

So we get to the inevitable comparison of the USTA league to our own Fall League.
Fall league:
1. No entry fees !
2.Perpetual tennis !
3.Free clinics and tips from players !
4. Designed by players for players of ALL levels !
5. User friendly website !
6. Prompt replies to emails !
7.League based on the love of tennis+thrill of victory+enjoyment of defeat+company of friends !

Does the USTA offer any of those ? You be the judge !

As Anne Gorrick,one half of the Dynamic Duo ( scroll down for details on the Dynamic Duo), summarized:
"We are having a blast playing our matches in the Fall League (sooooo much easier to set up matches on a flexible schedule than play those awful USTA time slots like 8:30pm on Sunday nights). We also get to meet new tennis folks in the Hudson Valley.  When you play USTA tennis, your world gets really small, and you end up playing the same people over and over.  Hey, we got to play the famous Kelly Ryan, and THAT never would have happened to us in USTA tennis..."


Is the USTA spineless ?     
(1 of 2 articles on the USTA with views compiled from Fall League players)

(USTA: United States Tennis Association)

  ( Note: The views expressed in this article belong to the author  and other Fall League players  and is not endorsed by the USTA ! )

 Is the USTA spineless ?

This was the question posed to league players after Yahoo News dared to use that adjective to describe the USTA recently. The derogatory  reference was related to how the USTA chose to reprimand mega diva Serena Williams after her tirade against the chair umpire at the recent US Open.
Here was USTA' s award to Serena:
US Open runner up cheque : $750,000 + 
US Open Series leader bonus : $ 500,000
Total paid to Serena : $ 1,250,000 ( One and a quarter million )

Total fine imposed on Serena by the USTA for  bratty behavior, poor tennis role model and conduct unbecoming of an United Nations Goodwill Ambassador :  $ 2000 ( Two thousand)

Total rewarded by the  USTA to Serena for bratty behavior,poor tennis role model and conduct unbecoming of an United Nations Goodwill Ambassador:  1,250,000-2000=$ 1,248,000

Contrast this to the PGA, LPGA, NBA, FIFA or the ICC ( the board overseeing the game of cricket). Any abuse of an official in sports supervised by those organizations gets you a harsh punishment. For example, in soccer,  verbal sparring with a referee gets you a red card and being thrown out of the game - not to mention heavy fines. 
In cricket, if a batter is given 'out' by the umpire, the batter has to return to the dugout. Even a long stare by that batter at the umpire is considered 'dissent' and the batter gets docked 50% of  match earnings and may  even risk a suspension if it is a repeat offense.

Serena's long tirade earned her a 2000/ 1,250,000 = 0.16% USTA fine !!

"Spineless ?"
  You make the call.

This is what a few of our league players had to say about this:

" Spineless ?  USTA also has no guts and no b---s " (Crossword clue: Term for organ also referred to colloquially as 'nuts')

"Aw-give them a break. The USTA is a tennis friendly organization. Without them there would be no US Open"

"Who cares about Serena ?" 

"Who cares about the USTA ?"

" The USTA cannot afford to infuriate Serena. They don't want her boycotting their tournaments"

"Can you please stop interrupting us ? We're trying to finish a Fall League match !! "

What do you think ? Feel free to email us at


 Marquee Matches for the week

Kevin Dodd training on a cold day day last fall
Kevin Dodd vs Scott Taylor (Singles A)

This was,as per Kevin, 'a knock down,drag out match'. Kevin is a hard training (see above), hard hitting, and hard focused player who never ever gives up getting to the ball and more importantly getting it over the net with extreme topspin. If you scroll below you will see that he is one of High Priestess Milly Back's infamous rainmen who is never afraid to hit balls even in extreme weather.
                                                                           Scott Taylor,on the other hand,is his perfect foil: steady flat groundstrokes with low net clearance, using his opponents pace to redirect the ball and an effective aim and hit style of serving that he can usually place in the corners of the service box to draw his opponent off balance.
 So,as expected, in the clash of these two titans,the match went down to the wire: 7-6,5-7 with Kevin prevailing  10-6 in the super tie-break.


 Steve Hack vs Ed Rogers( Singles A)

Another epic match with two steady and extremely athletic players battling it out in a close,close match. Ed Rogers,despite his youth, was faced with an even younger opponent who has been trailblazing in tournament play ( scroll below for details on Steve Hack). 

Steve Hack is a marathon runner and Ed Rogers spends his winters skiing down difficult slopes and across rugged snowy terrain and then  bicycles from New York City to the Hudson Valley on a clear warm day.
So when these two gifted, athletic and "never say die"  players were pitted against each other it was only reasonable to expect an agonizingly long match that could have gone either way.
Unfortunately, there had to be a winner and Steve eked out the 3rd set in a super tie-break: 10-8.
Woodstock Tennis Club FREE to public  !!

Ulster County's best kept secret : 6 FREE pristine clay courts for your tennis pleasure !!
From today till the end of the season ( EXCEPT WEEKEND MORNINGS) the Woodstock Tennis Club,located on Zena Road in Woodstock will be open to the public for FREE.  Just walk in and play. Yes,you can even play your league matches there ! Enjoy the hospitality offered by Head Pro Karen Gill and all the generous members of the Woodstock Tennis Club !

Steve Hack leads the way in tournament play
Fall League player Steve Hack (Men's A singles)

A year ago,Steve Hack was coming from a hiatus of several years to pick up a racquet again. That was not a deterrent as he won two back-to-back clay court tournaments and narrowly missed out on getting to the finals at the Woodstock Open-thanks to which another fall league player,Ravi Ramaswami, was able to win it.
Steve plays tennis in the winter-in shorts !! (See snow mound in the background)
This year Steve won the Labor Day Classic at Rhinebeck for the second year in a row. Steve has several attributes that make him a formidable player: he is a lefty and if that is not annoying enough, he is also a marathon runner which means he will retrieve all balls hit to his side of the court. He also trains by playing tennis in the winter-in shorts !! (See above) 
He is coached by his 10 year old son,Bradley, who recently won the Ulster Open Junior Tournament.

Other fall league players who followed Steve's lead in tournaments this year:

1. Kevin Madonna : USTA Nationals 
2. Vicki Madonna/Betsy Wise: Woodstock Open Women's Doubles Finalists
3. Karen Gill/Ravi Ramaswami : Woodstock Open Mixed Doubles Champions
4. Karen Gill/Milly Back: Woodstock Open Women's Doubles Champions 
5. Ravi Ramaswami : Rhinebeck Memorial Day Classic and Woodstock Open Men's Singles  
6. Jay Han : Rhinebeck Memorial Day Men's Singles Finalist and Fall League leader board leader
7. Vern Chrisjohn : Woodstock Open Doubles
and, of course, all of the above along with other Fall League players 
Scott Taylor,Ed Rogers,Johan Johnson,Mirelva Colon,Andrew Constant,Amanda Scott and Tom Turco who won or were runners-up in various events in the 2011 Ulster County Open. Congrats to all !!




League player Ed Rogers ( Men's Singles A) returning serve
Ed Rogers demonstrates the importance of the split step in the return of serve. The split step is a short hop as the server is contacting the ball. This gets the weight going forward and compensates for the short backswing.

The salient features of Ed's return of serve are:
1. Aggressive hop into the court.
2. Split step puts him in perfect balance.
3. Racquet in ready position.
4. Eyes on the ball.

From here Ed will make a simple hip turn that will place his racquet in the right position WITHOUT having to take a huge backswing. With his weight moving forward he will hit his return powerfully using the server's pace.


                        FREAK  FOOTWORK FLOORS FANATIC !!
Donna Viertel--what a gal !!
League player Donna Viertel is someone we all love because  her passion for tennis is so worth emulating.
Here is an email she sent us: 
"Hurt my foot in karate class trying to break a board. No fracture, but lots of swelling. I'm on an anti-inflammatory. Hopefully I can hit some balls by the weekend".
 By the weekend ??   Wow- what dedication and single minded devotion to tennis !!

Donna, we salute you ....Feel better soon !


                                       The Second Serve
League player Kevin Dodd (Singles A) displays his second serve technique

Look at the picture above:
Fall league player, Kevin Dodd, demonstrates the different ingredients that create a good second serve, or a good first serve, for that matter.

The following features make Kevin's serve worth copying:

1.  Left arm pointed up as long as possible. Most people drop their arm very soon,thereby dropping their head and shoulders.

2. Eyes focused on the ball. It is a good idea to 'look at the sky' for a second AFTER you have hit the ball.

3.Angle of attack: the right shoulder is lower than the left and that angle propels the ball up for clearance over the net.

4.Good knee bend. This helps Kevin push off the ground and add power to his serve.

5.Weight moving forward adds weight to the serve

6.Racket in 'trophy position'. From here Kevin will bring his racket behind his back and explode up into the serve from the ground up for a powerful second serve.

In the 2011 U.S. Open finals against Nadal - in the final game- Djokovic just hit second serves, as his back was bothering him, and won that game easily.

So with a reliable second serve like Kevin's, who needs a first serve ?



                                    The Dynamic Duo
 Anne Gorrick (right) and Ashley Pietras  were fierce arch rivals before becoming doubles partners
Fall league players Anne Gorrick and Ashley Pietras were arch rivals on various USTA teams, had three different doubles partners over 4 years and played 'to the death' across the court from each other (Anne actually got a concussion once!).  They then decided to partner and in their first year playing together, they made it to the USTA Nationals at 4.0 and came in fourth in the country.
Anne: "The great thing about playing with Ashley is that I always know where she is on the doubles court. This happens after eight years of playing against as well as with each other.  She's a fierce competitor and always encourages us to play the most aggressive tennis we can. We are having a blast playing our matches in the Mid Hudson League".

NOTE: Like Anne and Ashley, it is only when players can combine competition with FUN, that they can become COMPLETE tennis players.

                             Marquee matches for this week

1. Kelly Ryan/Linda Katt vs. Anne Gorrick/Ashley Pietras 

Kelly Ryan came out of the tranquility of tennis retirement and once again proved why she was considered to be one of the best players in the Hudson Valley. Ably supported by her partner,Linda Katt, they got the best of Ashley Pietras and Anne Gorrick but not before Anne and Ashley set off fireworks of their own.  The match was closely fought and went into a very close tie breaker to decide the match. 
The ever exuberant Anne Gorrick described the match,in precis form, as: "Awesome tennis !" 

 2. Amanda Scott/Andrew Constant vs. Milly Back/Ravi Ramaswami

Andrew Constant and Amanda Scott,relaxing in the shade, after their match
Another tight match with Andrew in good form hitting precise groundstrokes. The scores were even with just one service break in the first set and after Milly and Ravi fought off  match points at 4-5 and 5-6,the match ended in a very close tie-breaker which Amanda finished in style with a scintillating overhead smash. 

 3. Donna Viertel vs. Karla Wainwright

Donna: "I felt the need to redeem myself ( having just lost a mixed doubles match to the same opponent) in what was my most challenging singles match so far. Karla and I seemed pretty well matched, each having certain strengths, thus the score of my win 7-5, 7-5. Karla was happy for me which I greatly appreciated".

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