The ability to concentrate intensely while under match pressure is often what separates winners from losers on the court.
I remember playing a tournament where my match was assigned to a court along side of railroad tracks. Freight trains full of pin chips would chug by several times an hour with whistles blowing, steel wheels thundering and brakes squealing.
I drew a tough opponent and our match was a close, competitive one. My opponent played well but I had difficulty keeping my mind on the match because of those darn trains rumbling by.
Well I lost that match. I shook my opponent’s hand, I complimented him and mentioned that it was a great match and I enjoyed playing but that the conditions were difficult because of all the trains.
His reply was, "What trains?"
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.