It had been dawning on me that it was a defect in my tennis game that I wasn’t getting to the ball early enough, in time to set up properly and hit with control (the strokes themselves were okay). Watching Melanie Oudin play brought this home to me: she uses her feet to fine-tune her shot, making sure she gets into perfect position–and she’s very quick. Well, we are both the same height (with a slight difference in age), so I decided to try to copy her. Using my ball machine I practiced a drill in which I had to run to the ball, get planted, and hit the ball with good balance and preparation, not rushing the shot. I did 70 of these with backhand slice, 70 with topspin, and 70 with forehand drive–all in the beating sun. Not easy. Then I played my trainer today, David. I could feel the difference in my game right away: being ready in good time to make the stroke (“the readiness is all,” as Hamlet says, obviously thinking of tennis). For the first time in the three years I’ve been playing him I beat him in a game to eleven (11/9)–and he’s a very good player who doesn’t like to lose. “Today you made a breakthrough,” he said. So, Melanie, thanks for the lesson.
Meanwhile, there are no family resemblance concepts, the world is made of mystery meat, motion is an illusion, and the essence of man is self-disgust (to be continued…).