We hadn’t made our way to Memorial Field for a while, so we were quite surprised to learn that five of the facility’s tennis courts had been rebuilt to pristine condition over a two-phase project.
So last week, once the temperatures dipped below the 90s – and in honor of the great tennis going on at Wimbledon – we decided to head that way to see them for ourselves and, of course, for a little friendly Insider competition.
Now to be perfectly clear, neither Jon or I play tennis. We’ve both messed around with a racket, mostly as kids, but nothing serious or structured. So it was an even playing field when we took to court one for a best-of-three match.
Since we hadn’t swung a racket in many years, we opted for little back-and-forth hitting – which most people would call volleying, but that would also require consecutive hits on our parts. After we felt as ready as we possibly could be, we flipped a key card (no coin) to see who would get the advantage.
Jon won the toss and chose to serve first, which, if you’ve ever played tennis, is not as easy as the pros make it look.
Now in warm-ups, Jon had been trying this spin shot, so I knew it was coming and sure enough, first point, he dropped one in. From there though, he missed a shot, I scored a point and slammed down a spike for a chance to break serve. Jon, who hasn’t fared all too well in our history of Insider challenges, battled back to deuce. But I wasn’t about to lose a chance to grab an early lead, and took full advantage of a double fault for “Advantage Tim” with a splendid cross-court winner for a 1-0 lead.
Jon had some nice return shots and very little issues breaking my serve and evening up the match for a winner-take-all third game.
But the service advantage – or what actually turned out to be a disadvantage – came to haunt him with a pair of double faults as I came away with the 2-1 victory and bragging rights once again.
Now that you’ve heard all about our epic match, which was half-heartedly witnessed by Monitor Sports Editor Tim O’Sullivan, you’re probably wondering about the courts.
The project started last fall when the old asphalt was ground up to make the new base material. That base material was compacted and graded – to ensure proper drainage. Then a base coat of asphalt was put down.
This spring the finish coat of asphalt was applied along with three coats of paint, which are a very striking blue for the playing area and a green on the outside.
Fresh lines were painted and new nets installed and voila, it looks like a brand new facility.
We’re not sure if this will turn into a yearly competition around Wimbledon, but one thing is for sure, we will never play best of five sets. Three games was plenty for us.