Now that I have managed to find some free time away from my employer’s forever eager claws at Odeon cinema, I can recap on a great experience last weekend. On Sunday 19 March I took part in Ace Tennis Magazine’s annual racket testing day.
The magazine holds the event every year in the springtime and publishes the results in three surveys for each level of play: Beginner/Improver, Club and Pro over the May, June and July issues. For each skill level there are about twelve different rackets all up for review. The tester’s verdicts contribute much to how each developer’s new product for the summer will fare.
During an invaluable work placement at the publication earlier this year in January, I met with Heather Purchase, the coaching editor for the magazine. She very kindly invited me to the event and I, after stressing that I only really play recreationally, duly accepted.
The event was held at the prestigious David Lloyd tennis centre in Hounslow, Middlesex. Boasting no less than five hundred courts, the complex oozed quality – as did some of the youngsters training there. Frequently during my trips to and from the outdoor courts I was in complete awe of some of the kids play – some as young as six or seven, hitting the ball so cleanly and with great power. It really was great to watch.
My unexceptional standard placed me in something of a predicament on the day. I wouldn’t say that I am an outright beginner, having played the game for nearly ten years. However, the ‘improvers’ within our group were hitting the ball clean, low and with pace at each other in half-court rallies, I prefer to go for outright winners, and to be running for balls, as opposed to just hitting the ball back and forth. Indeed when everything is working, I will freely admit that I am quite capable in all areas, especially my serve and forehand which could just about compete with club standard. Unfortunately, I am very rarely ’on song’ as it were.
I decided to introduce a competitive edge into the proceedings. Joined by three fellow testers – including a member of the Ace team who’s game rapidly improved over the course of the day – my day was spent mostly away from the pre-booked (and fantastic) indoor courts to the equally plush artificial outdoor courts.
Beautiful weather, great company and facilities to enjoy whilst playing the sport of kings, it was sheer bliss. Luckily, my game didn’t completely desert me either, check out the upcoming issue of Ace magazine to see what rackets agreed with me the most.