2013 Andulka Tennis Block Party

February 17th, 2015

Hey Tennis Friends!

One more time-shifted BRAND NEW report for your entertainment!

On its fourth anniversary, Andulka Park Tennis Center, a facility in my local area, had their annual Tennis Block Party. I was there to file this report:

Here is the link to the Facebook page of the tennis event that I mentioned. Wether you’re a player, or a fan, be sure to “Like” the page for updates:

Facebook.com / Andulka Park Adult Tennis Open

Located in Riverside, California, here is the link where you can find more information about this facility:

AndulkaTennis.com

When you show up, be sure to tell them that you heard about it, right here, at GroundsPass.net!

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

– Marcus Tennis

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2013 USTA Men’s League III

February 7th, 2015

Hey Tennis Friends!

Please enjoy this ALL NEW “time shifted” coverage of the final match of my USTA League season for 2013.

This report is from our Spring 4.0 USTA League men’s season, where the participating doubles player’s must each be at, or below, the 4.0 rating, for our particular division.

Our first set lasted 54 minutes. We were up 3-0, then 5-2, then our opponents came back to get up 6-5. We were able to take it to a tiebreak. Serving for set point at 6-5 in the tiebreak, we ended up losing the next three points, and the set, 8-6 in the tiebreak.

Our second set lasted only 17 minutes!

Our third set (we misspoke in the video and referred to it as our second set) lasted 23 minutes. After coming out strong, 5-0, we took our foot off the pedal, and our opponents kicked it up a notch to make us fight it out for the win!

We usually like, and are available to play more than three matches in a season, however, it is all up to the decision of the team’s captain. We still looked like pros in our matching gear. Go Team ASICS!

My final results for this season:

Local District/Area 4.0
2-wins, 1-loss

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

– Marcus Tennis

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2013 USTA Men’s League II

February 1st, 2015

Hey Tennis Friends!

As usual, in favor of more timely events, I will always “time shift” my coverage of my USTA League matches. The dates may reflect a prior year event, but, the content is ALL NEW!

This report is from our Spring 4.0 USTA League men’s season, where the participating doubles player’s must each be at, or below, the 4.0 rating, for our particular division.

Our first set lasted 31 minutes.
Our second set lasted 29 minutes.

Even though it had been a month since our last USTA League match, Jerry and I got a lot of practice together as a team from our weekly social tennis schedules. Go Team ASICS!

My results for this season, so far, are:

Local District/Area 4.0
1-win, 1-loss

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

– Marcus Tennis

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2015 USTA Pro Circuit – Long Beach, CA

January 25th, 2015

Hey Tennis Friends!

Welcome to the seventh season here at GroundsPass.net!

We are very fortunate here in Southern California, as two new USTA Pro Circuit events have been added to our busy tennis calendar. I took a trip to the USTA Pro Circuit Long Beach Futures Pro Tournament to cover the finals of this brand new event:

Here is the result for the match that I featured:

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (with seedings):
Takanyi Garanganga d. (6) Frederik Nielsen 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4

Ranked No. 382 in the world, Garanganga did it the hard way all week. Having traveled from Amsterdam where he was training, he missed the entry deadline and showed up last week to sign into qualifying needing a wild card. Garanganga sat through two days of rain delays last Saturday and Sunday where not one ball was hit and then played and won every match he played for seven consecutive days, including two in qualifying and five in the main draw.

“I missed the deadline but I had to come here anyway on my way to Maui (for next week’s USTA Pro Circuit Challenger),” Garanganga said. “It was actually good for me to get the matches at the start of the year. I wasn’t playing very good at the beginning so it was good for me.”

The final was a match of momentum shifts and the large crowd on hand enjoyed the high-level tennis. Nielsen opened strong with an early break and led 4-1 in the first when midway through the sixth game Garanganga reached wide for a forehand and seemed to roll his right ankle.

He took a medical timeout and had his ankle wrapped, proceeded to break Nielsen’s serve and quickly got it to 4-4. In the first-set tiebreaker, Nielsen fell down 5-2 and on the eighth point following a missed forehand wide, Nielsen launched a ball halfway to downtown L.A. and was given a ball abuse warning.

But that seemed to lift his level of play as Nielsen then hit two big serves to pull it to 5-4. Garanganga missed a critical overhead long to make it 6-5 Nielsen, who then served out the set, which finally ended after an hour and 15 minutes.

Garanganga said he didn’t think back to the quarterfinals and semis where he also dropped the first set before coming back. “I just keep playing,” he said. “I just kept waiting for my chances. I was just playing in the moment and wasn’t thinking about past.”

Longtime GroundsPass.net subscribers may remember Garanganga when he was featured in my coverage of the 2011 USTA Pro Circuit in Laguna Niguel, CA:
2011 USTA Pro Circuit in Laguna Niguel, CA

Additional information in this report was provided by the USTA Pro Circuit PR Press Aide, Steve Pratt.

Here is the link to the page with the USTA Pro-Circuit events that we have in the United States this year:
2015 USTA Pro Circuit Calendars

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

– Marcus Tennis

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2014 ESPN & US Open TV Coverage

August 29th, 2014

Hey Tennis Friends!

Up until this point, my tennis coverage has featured exclusive video highlights, photos, and interviews. Editorializing is not what I am known for, however, if my goal is to entice more fans into the sport of tennis, some of my television production background expertise may be of some value.

I have yet to find anybody who is thrilled with the coverage and/or commentators for this years’ US Open Championships, here in the United States. Of course, we all know that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but maybe, just maybe, there is a way to please most of the people, most of the time.

Despite the fact that it may adversely affect my opportunities to ever do any work for them, my criticism is of ESPN Networks, or more specifically, the channels ESPN and ESPN2. Why ESPN’s channels? Because they are on the “basic” tier of nearly EVERY cable system, whereas Tennis Channel is not. In fact, Tennis Channel is usually an add on, for an additional charge, and here at GroundsPass.net, we strive for the least expensive way to enjoy this sport.

Yes, there is the online streaming side, ESPN3.com, but not everyone has the luxury of high speed internet and/or handy devices to connect to it. Besides, even when you are viewing a full-screen shot of the on court action, it is difficult to see the subtleties, and therefore less enjoyable to watch on a much smaller screen. You may as well just watch scores changing on a smartphone app.

Quad Split Screen Shot of ESPN3.com feed

Quad Split Screen Shot of ESPN3.com feed

Without getting into too many specifics of this past week’s coverage frustrations, I have come up with a formula for deciding what to cover during US Open television coverage on ESPN:

Criteria #1: Player popularity.
For some, it is clear that they are a popular player, for others, not so much. It is not necessarily based on their ranking. Sure Murray is #9, but instead of baseline tennis, wouldn’t you rather watch the athleticism and character of Tsonga(#10)? Monfils(#24)? Or, even Baghdatis(#86)?

Criteria #2: Nationality.
ESPN is predominantly a North American network. People in the Untied States want to see players from the United States. Featuring players from the United States inspires kids and adults from the United States to keep up with this sport. Are we getting this yet?
I commended ESPN for their decision to feature the entire second round match of upcoming junior CiCi Bellis. THAT was the correct decision. But when the evening broadcast began (continuous from day session) with talking people at the desk, instead of going straight to the Williams sister’s third set of doubles, I was left rubbing my smoothed-out head in disbelief. Maybe I’m mistaken, but for North America, isn’t that a more desirable match to see than the first set of Andy Murray v. Matthias Bachinger?

Criteria #3: Crowd size.
The crowd at Flushing Meadows is a national cross-section as well as an international one. Since the broadcast is driven by “eyes on the screen” for the advertisers (or, should be), there is an easy way to determine what your audience is looking for. The popularity sampling is right there in front of you sitting in the seats. If 300 people are in the stands for one match, and 3,000 are in the stands for another, that is a pretty good indication of where the majority of the television audience’s interest will be for your broadcast. There are regular camera set ups on more than a handful of courts. What better market research than LIVE, real-time, dynamic statistics?

Criteria #4: Drama.
Nothing beats great, live drama on television. Steve Johnson struggling to overcome his debilitating cramps, for me, was much better drama (though painful to watch) than whatever was happening on the other courts at that time. Compelling television, indeed, that was only available via streaming, and not on ESPN or ESPN2. A five second highlight clip down the road did not do justice to the courageous struggle that was coming from America’s fastest rising men’s player.

I am convinced that using this formula, in this order, will net a more engaged viewing audience, and please more people, more of the time. We need the media’s help in keeping tennis “local”, if you will. More people watching equals more people playing, and that helps to build the tennis community in this country.

Tell me what you think, and what you may change, in the comments.

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

– Marcus Tennis

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