These past few weeks, I think I’m experiencing my Second Renaissance… in Tennis.
The First Renaissance happened when I was in Kagoshima… when I graduated from being a casual play-once-in-a-while player into a play-eight-hours-a-week tennis addict. That was when I got rid of my cheap-ass Daiei shoes and super-sale beginner’s racket to buy the best tennis shoes and the best tennis rackets I knew would fit my play style.
I can seriously feel and confidently tell the difference between a cheap 3,000-yen racket and a top-of-the-line 35,000-yen racket. I still can’t do that in other sports like badminton and pingpong. When I play badminton, I still use my trusty 3,000-yen badminton racket.
I moved to Tokyo. I seldom (almost never) played anymore. I play once in a while but I think I’ve plateaued as a player. I still was a tennis addict but my game was going nowhere. It didn’t help that it’s very hard to find a tennis court in Tokyo. I had to contend with watching tennis games and playing Wii Tennis.
I enrolled in Tennis school. I finally got some professional guidance. I realize I am quickly refining my shots. When I watch tennis games, I do not only look at the ball anymore, I look at the footwork of the players, too. I’m hitting the ball better and the ball is actually going where I want it to go.
Last Sunday, I tried using the Federer racket (Wilson K Six-One Tour 90) and I seriously felt I was ready to tame this notoriously hard-to-use racket. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye to my two-year-old Wilson nCode Six-One 95.
If I were to become a tennis player, this would have been my profile.
Enrico Pangan (PHI)
Birthplace: Bulacan, Philippines
Residence: Tokyo, Japan
Height: 5’7″ (171 cm)
Weight: 160 lbs (73 kg)
Play Style: All-Rounder
Best Shot: Forehand Volley
Shoes: Adidas Barricade IV Gray/Orange
Racket: Wilson nCode Six-One 95
Someday, you will see this profile at the ATP site together with the likes of Federer and Nadal. Too bad I’m what you might call “too old” in tennis terms. Most professional tennis players would have retired already by the time they reach my age.
That’s my only regret, I should have started when I was six.