Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WACTA Men's Year-End Round Robin Championship

Four Seasons Tennis Center
12/8/07 (6:45 PM - 12:30 AM)
Men's Year-end Round Robin Tournament

16-Team Draw in each division (3.5/4.5)
8 Game Pro-Set Format
6 Rounds of Matches...
2 of them ending with sudden death tiebreaks
1 Champion...

http://www.wacta.org


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Down Double Championship Point
by Jacky Cheong

6th and Final Match...12:23 AM...
My 7th hour of tennis...I knew I shouldn't have practice that much this afternoon


calves screaming--body aching--head spinning;
the adrenaline and Gatorade have run out.
It's all fumes as I've been walking/hobbling between points now.


Teams are tied.

First to 5 points wins the tie-breaker and WACTA title...
we're on-serve
but it's me to serve down 3-4
and I'm technically facing double match pt here

My legs are gone
I know it but I try to shake them off anyway...
There's no use trying to serve and volley anymore - my body won't comply
*&^#$!
It's a total coin toss in an extended rally

And this net hasn't been our friend this whole night either...
poaching has produced very mixed results, plus I can't ask him to do it on match point
lets just hope they don't get a lucky shot off against my net man
FOCUS, Jacky, stay focused.

You have time to slow down and think...gather your thoughts...there's all the time in the world now
the background noise begins to fade
there is only you, the ball, and the net now

I look up...purposely giving them a little extra time to soak in the moment, the pressure, the gathering crowd behind me all watching us
...waiting, anxious, nervous, excited...
2...3...4 bounces

Knees coiled, I reach up to toss
the height is good, balance is good.

*BAMMMMM*!

If you ask any good tennis player, even blindfolded, will be able to tell you
when they have just composed this unmistakable chord of a well-struck serve
This is the Sound of the Demi-Ace ...
An un-returnable 1st serve into the body...

His partner looks back in disbelief.
They are stunned.
My partner and I high-five.
4-4...all tied up!

Sudden Death - the next point wins the championship!

Talking it over now, you can sense the fear...
Concern. Uncertainty. Doubt.
It's all there plain as day now.

I walk to the deuce court and ready my stance

The rest of the night I've played heavy slice away from the forehand
He knows this. I know that he knows this.
The returner is fading left to compensate now
Yep, he's reading slice and leaning...

Keep the momentum, Jacky

Bounce, 2, 3, 4...
Feel the felt on the ball
the air pressure
hear the echo...

wait for him
you know he'll bite -
this guy's going to shift his weight onto his right foot...and then...there!
GO


With lots of hip/shoulder rotation, heavy torque on the racket, I aim for his backhand...
the first serve must go in I scream in my head.

He hasn't missed a 2nd serve return yet this game...
Time to go big, or go home, Jacky

*SMAAACK*!
I see a green line blur down the T
He lunges and
manages to get his frame on it!

My mind curses to myself*

He floats it back up
...high...
drifting...
for what feels like an eternity
against gravity and every ounce of my Sheer Will left in my body

We all rush up at the net...it's going to be a let cord?!!
"SHAWN!!", I yell

We watch the ball drop
just under the tape
into the bottom of the net.

Disbelief & Euphoria swirl together into me
like two waves from two hot and cold water faucets
suddenly cranked on to full
Game, Set, Match
By the slimmest of margins...
Relief. Celebration

Only slowly does it begins to hit me later
We pull victory from the jaws of defeat
Victory. Sweet, sweet victory =)


Later, after the match, I told my partner:

"I know Sampras was smiling from somewhere tonight".

Thanks Pete*
This one's for you, old man.
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