WITH CHRIS GAMBINO
HOME > EXTRAS >PADDLEPRO.com INTERVIEWS
1. Which paddle do you use and why?
I use the Viking OZ XL, because of its combination of power and control. It also seems to grip the ball better than most paddles on the market and that is very important to me.
2. Why is your partner Dave Ohlmuller?
Dave Ohlmuller and I became partners about 5 years ago after we won the first three tournaments we ever played together. He is a great guy as well as a great player and it is a lot of fun competing with him.
3. With Ohlmuller and yourself living so far away, do you ever practice with a more local partner?
Living so far apart, Dave and I obviously can't practice together but we didn't really practice together a whole lot when I lived in Jersey and he in Long Island. Neither one of us plays very well in practice anyway so it doesn't do us much good regardless. I've probably played more this year in Chicago than I ever got to in Jersey because there is a very good league out here.
4. In the past there was a tournament that you and Ohlmuller had different partners, would you ever try that again?
Dave and I usually pick out three or four tournaments to play together each year. Besides those we will each play one or two with other partners. I usually play one or two with John Milbank and I am playing next week in Indianapolis with Bill Fiedler.
5. What are you best at with Platform Tennis?
My best attribute in paddle is probably that I don't have any major weaknesses. My volleys and drive are probably slightly above average and I will try not to give away any easy points to my opponent.
6. Would you have liked to partake in all of the pre-match festivities of the Midwesterns?
I would have liked to have taken part in the pre match activities at the Midwesterns but I had an important day at work that I couldn't miss, my plane was delayed and was lucky to make it to the match on time. The promoters of the event did a tremendous job and should be applauded for all their hard work.
7. Other than the obvious, how does Platform Tennis differ from normal Tennis?
Platform tennis is different from tennis because it forces you to be more patient. You must know your opponents' strengths and weaknesses and base your game plan around them. It is important to remember that platform tennis points are not won, they are usually lost.
8. Because Ohlmuller did not want to challenge the Jensens on the tennis court, would you like to challenge either Luke or Murphy to a singles match on the tennis court?
There was a time when I could have been competitive with Murphy or Luke in singles but since I rarely play Tennis anymore it wouldn't be a contest. Tennis is a game where you need to play every day to maintain your level of play whereas in paddle you could play once a month and still play at your expected level.
9. The “Red Zone” concept is unique, do you thing there should be more unique twists to specialize tournaments?
The Red Zone concept is very interesting and in some ways it changes the game for the better. It does this by decreasing the number of lobs in each point, which makes defense more difficult, thus shortening the points. The shorter the points, the more appealing and fan friendly our sport becomes to the public. The suggestion that I have to shorten the points and improve the quality of the game is to loosen the screens, especially for national tournaments. The APTA should assign a standard level of tightness for the screens at each national tournament so there is a consistency throughout the year. That way you would see less lobbing each point and if a player is able to hit a good enough drive, the net players are less inclined to let the ball get past them since the screens wont help them out as much. This will help the game to become more athletic and make it more fun to watch.
10. Where do you see Platform Tennis in 5 years?
I hope in 5 years that platform tennis grows significantly in the number of people playing and the popularity of the sport. In my opinion, the way to grow the game starts with the high schools and the colleges. Obviously the courts are very expensive, so in the short term, the sport needs to go after the markets that can afford them. Such markets in my opinion are the wealthier private high schools and the colleges that these particular kids attend. There is no valid reason that the majority of these schools have big squash programs yet don't have paddle. If this were to become the norm, I bet we would start seeing paddle courts at some of the better elementary schools. From there through time, once our sport has gained this easily attainable part of the market, it can gradually crossover to more mainstream parts of the population such as golf and tennis has; both of which not so long ago were considered elite white collar sports.
11. What do you do in your spare time?
I teach with the Viking Academy during my spare time. The Academy offers the best instruction from current National Champions and the finest instructors in the game. The Academy is the best way for players of all levels from beginner to Nationally ranked players to take their game to the next level. I look forward to teaching with the Viking Academy for many years.