Tennis

French Open – In October?

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By: Elliott Datlow

It’s October, and as a tennis fan, you know what that means! French Open??? That’s right! The French Open at Roland Garros kicks off the spring for tennis players, and occurs annually in May. But due to Covid-19 it was postponed until September! Main draw matches began on Sunday, September 27 with the finals occurring the weekend of October 10.

 

There are so many many storylines to watch out for! What I am keeping my eyes on is the level of play from the players that didn’t play the US Open. When the US Open started, there were very few events for players to play in preparation. We saw pros such as Nadal, Henin, & Barty sit out. And then we saw the players that stayed active through exhibitions such as World Team Tennis  excel—think  about the emergency of Jennifer Brady! And Victoria Azarenka’s hard work during quarantine paid off with a title at the Western & Southern Open and carried it into New York with a runner up finish!

 

In the Rome event leading up to the French, the “King of Clay,” Rafael Nadal, took an early loss. This was more than likely, at least in some part, due to not playing much competition. Meanwhile Dominic Thiem, known for doing great on the red clay, surprised us all by taking the US Open title! This is going to set up an interesting dynamic for the French Open!

 

The French Open is my favorite Major to watch and I was lucky enough to attend as a coach, helping my college teammate, Jesse Witten, on his journey as a pro tennis player. Roland Garros is a special place and every year we are treated to fantastic tennis. The pros battle the slow court surface of the red clay, and tennis fans watch in awe. This year the pros won’t have had long to prepare for their battles on the intriguing court surface—so get your popcorn ready!

 

 

Tennis

UTR at the Aspen Hill Club!

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The Tennis Department is extremely excited to announce that we have teamed up with Universal Tennis Rating (UTR)! You likely have heard about UTR while watching tennis on TV— and now you will be part of it!

 

The Club is going to offer programs partnered with UTR. Being a part of UTR is going to mean that YOU will be able to more easily play with people of your level— and that is what we ALL want! As you beat players with a higher UTR, your own UTR number will increase. We will input scores from our Club programs into the UTR system and these scores will be part of the global UTR community.

 

Dave Fish, Hall of Fame Coach with over 30 years as Head Men’s Coach at Harvard University, and co-founder of UTR, does a great job of quickly summing it up “UTR-based events yield more close, competitive matches. And, UTR makes it possible for any player, anywhere, to find a level of competition that’s right for them – enough challenge to satisfy, but not too much to overwhelm.”

Introduction: UTR Powered by Oracle is a global rating system that promotes fair and competitive play across the tennis world. All players, regardless of age, gender, geography or skill level, are rated on a same scale between 1.00 and 16.50 based on actual match results.

 

Benefits of UTR: UTR provides a real-time view of a player’s true skill level. Having a UTR enables you to track your progress, find level-based play, and expand your tennis network to play with people across age, gender and tennis silo.

 

Who has a UTR?: Every tennis player can have a UTR. UTR provides an accurate measurement of a player’s true skill level, whether you are a recreational, junior, high school, college or pro player.

 

Verified UTR vs UTR: UTR counts all results, including matches played in verified tournaments/events and non-verified matches. Verified UTR counts match results played in only verified tournaments and events.

For example, USTA league/tournament matches count toward Verified UTR and UTR. Casual/practice matches and self-posted scores count only toward UTR.

 

How is UTR calculated?: UTR is calculated by an algorithm using a player’s last 30 eligible match scores from the last 12 months. For each eligible match, the algorithm calculates a match rating and a match weight; a player’s UTR is the weighted average of all the match ratings.

 

Tennis

Summer Junior Tennis Wrap Up!

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Summer has come to a close—and I have to say… it was something! It was a challenging couple of months for all of us. But I know that your tennis staff had an incredibly positive experience with our members these past few months. We ended August on such a high note—with 25 juniors joining us for our Friday match play!

 

In June, we came out of our houses and hit the courts. The pros have had a fabulous experience getting our adults and juniors ACTIVE in a safe and happy way. Tennis has gained national attention as one of the safest activities that one can participate in. We all know that getting outside and running around is a vital component of being healthy, as is the social interaction of meeting old and new friends at the Club!

 

All Summer long more members joined us on the courts, and this resulted in additional classes being added to our schedules! We were so happy to have our members trusting us to offer classes in a safe way. I can tell you that nearly every day your team of coaches smiled while we chatted about the improvement of our players.

 

With the Club’s Covid-19 safety protocols, we shifted to total outdoor play with small groups. These small groups allowed your tennis staff to get to know everyone on a more personal level and provide a new level of individualized instruction. This was exciting for our team of coaches—and we’ve received such positive feedback from many of our members that they are delighted with our coaches and classes. These small groups will continue into Fall!

 

Tennis at the Club this season is going to be exciting with new offerings, and I can’t wait! It’s a very exciting time to be a member of The Aspen Hill Club!

 

Tennis

Congrats to Coach Elliott!

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This award is provided to the individual whom continued to encourage all players to stay connected to tennis during the Covid-19 pandemic.  As you know, Elliott engaged many of you with his “Winners On Wednesday” highlights of past and present tennis professionals.  His stories were filled with energy and excitement for the sport of tennis.

Elliott began his “Covid-19 At Home” tennis by finding a hitting wall at Olney Manor Park and giving Aspen Hill Club members tips on what to practice while hitting on a wall, any wall!  He also provided fun games for kids while we were all quarantined at home.

His motivation to keep you engaged during this very difficult time was prompted by his willingness to ensure tennis would be back… And he has done just that!

Elliott received his award during a virtual cermony hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic. The Aspen Hill Club is incredibly proud of Elliott and his commitment and dedication to the sport of tennis!

Tennis

World Team Tennis 2020

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Har Tru, the company that makes our GREEN CLAY), was gracious enough to invite Aspen Hill Club members to experience World TeamTennis matches at The Greenbrier (White Sulphuric Springs, WV). This was an unbelievable experience for those that attended!

Ten Aspen Hill Club Families were lucky enough to see the biggest names in tennis from a mere inches away! Members got to see players including Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Genie Bouchard, Taylor Fritz, the Bryan Brothers, Sam Querrey, Monica Puig, and many many more! I was so inspired by seeing the pros serve up close that I made a YouTube video about serves showing them in slow motion, please check it out on our Facebook page.

Aspen Hill Club member Glenn Margolis shared his thoughts: “Taylor Fritz serve is incredible to see in person, You don’t realize how fast 138 MPH is!”

Kyle went to the matches with his family of 4 and shared with us, “This was such an incredible event to see tennis up close!”

We are so happy that so many families were able to take part in this truly memorable experience, and a big “thank you” To Har-Tru for helping us get to the matches!

 

 

Club News & Events

Checking In!

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By: Elliott Datlow, Tennis Director

 

We are so excited to offer outdoor play to our Aspen Hill Club members. You’ve read about our procedure for checking-in while keeping socially distanced. But what does it look like? Check out this check in guide so you know what to expect when checking into the Club!

 

  1. Enter the club by way of parking in the back lot and entering up the stairs of the deck.
  2. Observe the OPEN DOOR and sign indicating required 6 ft. social distancing!
  3. Check out the several floor markers indicating where to stand and wait. Our staff are wearing masks while checking you in!
  4. Follow the sign, exiting the side entrance.
  5. Out the door and down the ramp to your tennis court you go!
  6. Have fun!

 

 

Tennis

Tennis is Back…Outdoors!

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By: Elliott Datlow, Tennis Director

 

We are ecstatic to be offering outdoor courts to our members as we get back into the “swing of things!” Usually we have the luxury of weaning ourselves back into outdoor play. If it’s a bit chilly we can change it to an indoor court. Or, maybe the wind gusts are driving us crazy— I’ll stay inside, thank you! But not now! BOOM! You are playing outside.

 

You’re right! Outdoor tennis is a lot different. What can we do to adjust to outdoor play? Here are a couple of key adjustments you can make as you hit the outdoor courts at the Aspen Hill Club!

 

  • Know that it’s not going to feel good! Outdoor tennis is an adjustment. You will feel much better the second time you play outdoors, I promise!
  • Have a hat or sunglasses! We aren’t giving our eyes time to “toughen up” to the sunshine. Be kind to those eyes and give them some protection!
  • Know which way the wind is blowing! You want to hit HARDER if you are playing into the wind, and use more spin if you are hitting WITH the wind.
  • Take a long warm-up Your body and mind aren’t use to playing outside, try and work into it. Make sure you start the warm-up with short court rallies and start slow from the baseline.
  • USE EXTRA SPIN! Topspin and slice are going to keep the ball in the court and helps to keep your consistency up… Use your spin.
  • Move those feet! The ball isn’t going to bounce how you expect. Instead of taking 3 big steps to the ball you need many many small little steps (especially as you approach the ball). With little steps your body will be able to make those adjustments that are necessary in fractions of a second.
  • SPLIT STEP! As your opponent get’s ready to make contact, take a “split step.” This is like a little “bunny hop” that can be critical to getting your timing and ball anticipation correct.
  • HAVE FUN! I think we can all agree that a bad day on the tennis court is better than being stuck inside at home— we can ALL relate to that.
Photo taken pre-Covid

 

Club News & Events

Doubles Frenzy…Aussie Open Style!

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On Friday, January 24th we had a fabulous time playing tennis while benefiting an extremely important cause. Our weekly Doubles Frenzy event is BACK and on the 24th we hosted a big party!  We had two groups of players, one level of 3.0 doubles with the other group being 3.5+. Thirty Aspen Hill members showed up for the mix and match doubles fun. A great time was had by all, playing as much doubles as we could get in during our 2 hours of tennis time.

When the final serve was hit at 9:00pm, our champions of the week were Jeff Mund and Josephine Garnem each had the highest number of games won in their groups! When the tennis was complete everyone gathered to enjoy a drink, snack, and watch the Australian Open tennis on TV! The big winner of the night was our entire group—as their participation in the event helped Aspen Hill Club in sending over $500 to the Australian Red Cross to aide in the Australian Wildfire rescue efforts.

 

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Tim Hahn – February 2020

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Tim Hahn and family

Just about everyone sees Tim Hahn before the reach check-in at the Aspen Hill Club. Members are greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. Tim owns the Aspen Hill Sports Shop and has spent time talking with just about every member. But who is he? How does he know so much? This month we are going to take some time getting to know Tim!

Tim’s interest in tennis began when he was in middle school—he was glued to the Borg vs McEnroe 1980 Wimbledon Championship match. After that contest, Tim started playing in the neighborhood. Before he knew it he was a member of the Walter Johnson Varsity Team. Tim continued playing recreationally while attending University of Maryland—where he studied Mathematics.

Tim’s studies lead him to a successful career in his field of study. One day one of Tim’s friends talked to him about becoming a partner in Sports World—a sports shop in nearby Glenmont, Md. This opportunity spoke to Tim, after all—he was passionate about tennis, running, and athletics in general. Tim was excited about this opportunity and jumped at the chance for a MAJOR career change!

As co-owner of Sports World, Tim hit the ground running. He learned as much as he could about tennis equipment. In fact, Tim earned certification as a Master Racket Technician. It is this ability to have a deep understanding about equipment & technology that helps bring Tim a smile as a small business owner now at Aspen Hill Sports Shop. “It brings me joy when one of our members tells me that I helped make a difference in their game.  They let me know that I helped them, and I feel really good! I’m helping them be better at what they love doing!” explains Tim.  Tim often uses technology to help customers with injuries, “Certain strings can help with tennis elbow. It really can make their pain go away!” Other times Tim helps players achieve more power or control in their tennis game by switching rackets. Tim’s expertise has been relied on by the ATP tennis pros—Tim has been a racket stringer at the Citi Open 13 times!

Not only is Tim “book smart” about tennis, he also has got serious game! Tim is a 5.0 player himself and plays almost every day with tennis buddy  Milton White and Aspen Hill Club pros John Parsley, Jeff Klein, and Mark Ortiz. Playing tennis helps Tim feel good, “Tennis to me is about meditation, it’s relaxing. I feel good and I am constantly trying to hit the perfect stroke!”

You may have wondered around the shop and thought to yourself “Geez! Tim sure does have a lot of running shoes for a tennis shop!”—well, there is good reason for that. Before Tim’s life was centered around tennis, he focused his athletic skills in another way—as a marathon runner! Tim has run in 14 marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon and the Boston Marathon. Tim’s personal record was 2 hours 36 minutes, which had him competing in the US Olympic trials in Korea!!! So if Tim offers you advice on running shoes, you should know with confidence that he knows his stuff.

Aspen Hill Club has been an important part of Tim’s life well before he moved in with the Aspen Hill Sports Shop. As his children, Meghan and Alex, grew up—the family had a home at Aspen Hill Club. They have grown up being fixtures on the courts and became fantastic players—both playing on NCAA Division 1 tennis scholarships. Tim is a student of the game and enjoyed learning as much as possible about tennis—becoming PTR Certified Professional himself.

Tim views Aspen Hill Club as a special place and he’s happy to call it home. “There are so many great pros here at the Club, some focus on mental aspects while others emphasize technical skills. The tennis pros do a fantastic job catering to members. I really enjoy helping my customers get set up to play and then help them find the right pro!” says Tim.

 

Tennis

USTA Parent’s Meeting Overview

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Hello Tennis Parents,

On Wednesday, December 17 we had a very special guest—Rachel Kros from USTA/ MAS! Rachel is Senior Manager of Youth Competition. Rachel oversees all junior tennis tournaments, and she came to Aspen Hill Club to educate our families on changes to the way USTA junior tennis tournaments will work! Below I’ve outlined a couple of important changes that all of our families should be aware of:

ONE Nationwide Structure of Tournaments. The 17 sectional structures and one national structure will be replaced with ONE nationwide structure of junior tournaments. The structure will consist of seven levels of ranking tournaments, with the lowest level of intermediate tournament classified as a Level 7 and USTA National Championships classified as Level 1. For entry-level to intermediate players of all ages, a non-ranking series of events called the Net Generation Circuit will focus on age-appropriate competition, development and fun.

ONE Nationwide Points-Per-Round Ranking System. The 17 sectional ranking systems and one national ranking system will be replaced with

ONE nationwide ranking system for the Level 1-7 ranking tournaments. One set of nationwide ranking tables will determine the points earned in all ranking tournaments.

ONE Standings List. At least monthly, the USTA will continue to publish National Standings Lists (NSLs), using the same Best of 6 singles and Best of 6 doubles results system, with 15% of a player’s doubles results counting toward a player’s standing. Points will count up and count down as they have in the past. These lists will be filtered by section or district when they are used for selection into closed tournaments and team competitions.

EVERYTHING Counts. While sections will continue to hold two Closed Level 3s and four Closed 4s, and in some cases Closed Level 5s, all other tournaments sanctioned by the sections will be open to all players and all results will count in the ranking system. This also permits sections to hold Open Level 4s. This means that, for example, if you are vacationing out of section and play a tournament, it will count. It also allows players who live near section borders to play across section lines and have their results count.

ONE Quota list criteria for every Section. no more endorsement requirements for Nationals. Sections will no longer impose minimum requirements to appear on a section’s endorsement list. Sections will continue to get a minimum Quota number of players into USTA National

Championships, but these lists will all have the same criteria and will be published on a monthly basis so players better understand their chances of making Nationals. The criteria provides an incentive for players to compete in-section as follows:

  • In the BG 18, 16 and 14 divisions, no more than three singles and three doubles results can be from tournaments sanctioned by an entity other than the Sectional Association; and
  • • In the BG 12 divisions, no more than two singles and two doubles results can be from tournaments sanctioned by an entity other than the Sectional Association.

 

It All Starts in 2021. All of the changes will take effect in January 2021. In the coming months, be on the lookout for webinars and other educational materials that will take a deeper dive into the details of the new structure.