Map of Courts Played
Bulgarian Wins = ReMax Logo / NOCO Wins = Red Square / Green Dudes = Team Win View NOCO vs Bulgaria in a larger map

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spartan vs Spartan - The Brentwood Swim Club

This lovely August weather has been great for tennis.   Unfortunately Stan was out of town after working very hard to get Scott's father in law's house under contract he took a much needed vacation to Florida.   While he was away we brought in a USTA 4.5 sub, Dan Wyland who happened to not only be from North County but was a Hazelwood East Spartan along with Scott and local pro Steve Wall who hangs his hat at Creve Coeur Racquet Club.

The Brentwood Swim Club is a hidden gem located in of all places Brentwood.   It is an old style swim and tennis club with two tennis courts.   It is a membership only club which Scott has belonged to for many years.  Memberships are available here.

The courts sit behind the swimming pool and are secluded and surrounded on three sides by trees. For our third blog in a row mixed doubles was the format.  Dan played with Toni and Scott with Laura.   Scott and Laura won the racquet spin and elected to have Dan and Toni serve.   Dan broke out the X-Balls and immediately won his service game.  So much for strategy.

Dan and Toni were on fire.  Dan was poaching at net and Toni was taking any ball in the air and putting it just out of Scott and Laura's reach.  Toni hit a great lob that found a crack just as Laura thought she had tracked it down.   Down 0-4 Scott was finally able to hold his serve to eliminate the bagel.

New strategy was formulated to keep Dan and Toni off balance with loopy, slow shots mixed with good lobs.  This seemed to work as the score went quickly to 5-5 as Scott held his serve again.   Laura was able to hold for a 6-5 lead and after a tough game they finally broke Dan to win the set 7-5

The second set started out with a circus point that lasted about 10 shots with Laura and Scott finally winning the point when Toni made a rare miss and hit a sitter into the net.   This set stayed very close with really good points.

At 4-3 Scott served and after several deuce points finally won a point by chasing down a great Dan drop shot and ripping a winner up the middle.  At 5-4 Laura and Scott finally won the match when Laura who is not known for mobility chased down a ball over Scott's head and took it in the air saving a sure winner.

The courts are in pretty good shape with a few cracks that did come into play.   A basketball net is placed on one court which really could impede play and cause a potential injury.   Court condition is an 8 and location is a 10 for an average of 9.

A great local place nearby to grab a bite to eat is OB Clark's a Brentwood favorite.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sublette Park aka The Social Evil Hospital - Revenge is sweet!

One week to the day from our Benton Park mixed doubles match we decided to hold a rematch at the courts at Sublette Park located near The Hill in the City of St. Louis.   Before the match Scott, Toni and Laura decided to meet at Park Avenue Coffee and not go to the courts until Stan arrived and called wondering where they were.    As a realtor Stan is usually rushed on weekends and is often late so it was time to turn the tables.  At 10 minutes past the appointed time a text was received from Stan who knew instantly he'd been tricked.

A few minutes later all were at the park.   Sublette Park was originally the site of the Social Evil Hospital constructed to serve St. Louis legal prostitutes!  Yes prostitution was legal in St. Louis for a short period in the 1870's.   The Social Evil Hospital changed to a women's hospital after the prostitution law was repealed.  In 1906 a young woman named Josephine Baker was born on this site.   Josephine is one of the most famous St. Louisans of all time.  After the building was demolished a park was constructed and named for William Sublette who was a prominent fur trader.

On first appearance the courts were really rough.  Large cracks were visible and the entire surface is almost totally gone.   The park does have some bathrooms which were open.   The X-Balls were opened and Scott/Laura won the toss and elected to receive.  Right of the bat Stan aced Laura with a serve that took a funky crack bounce.

Eventually Stan and everybody else lost their serve for the first five games.   At 3-2 Scott finally became the first person to hold for a 4-2 lead.   Laura was hitting strong forehands up the middle and Scott successfully beat Toni down the line for a 6-4 1st set win.

The second set was a disaster for Scott/Laura.   Toni began placing her volleys perfectly and also pounded Laura in the thigh with a high volley (see pic above).  Now this was War!  But she continued and  took a really high lob and hit a one bounce overhead winner to negate a great Scott defensive retrieval.   Stan was serving well in the second set hitting at least 4 aces.   Stan and Toni rolled to a 6-1 victory.

As it was a hot day it was decided to play a USTA 10 point tiebreaker to finish.   Scott/Laura won a comical first point at the net finally getting Toni to hit into the net.   They continued to win points and got out to a 9-4 lead.

On match point Toni served to Scott's forehand and Scott hit a short chip wide to Toni's backhand.  She hit a short ball up the middle and Scott seeing the hole left when Toni moved wide ripped a winner up the middle to seal the match.  6-4, 1-6,1-0

Location is a 10 and court condition is 4 for an average of 7.  In 2009 the Riverfront Times named these courts some of the best in the city.  A lot of wear and tear has obviously occurred.

The courts location close to the Hill leads to an abundance of great places to eat.  Some of our favorites which could accommodate  sweaty tennis players are Gioias Deli, Steve's Hot Dogs and Milo's Bocce Garden.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Battle of Benton - Mixed Doubles at Benton Park

Stan and Scott have a regular mixed doubles game with two of their good friends Laura and Toni, both USTA rated 4.5 players.  Instead of watching the Wimbledon mens final we decided to bring that rivalry to Benton Park in the City of St. Louis and record it on Stlforgottencourts.    Benton Park is located south and west of the Soulard Neighborhood.

Two tennis courts are located at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Arsenal Street.   The park features several ponds, a bridge, walking paths, a monument to German-American Hero Friedrich Hecker and frequently hosts summer concerts.   The Benton Park neighborhood and the park are full of history and great architecture.  The area is takes its name from Senator Thomas Hart Benton who is famous amongst other things for participating in two duels on Bloody Island.

We inspected the courts and noticed several cracks, missing netstraps, average surface and lights that no longer function.   The remainder of the park appears to be well maintained. The city generally has done a good job maintaining their public courts but these are definitely in need of some work.   We opened a can of X-Balls and began our warm up.

Toni and Stan won the toss and elected to serve.  Stan served a tremendous game that went to several deuces and finally held on with a tough cross court shot.   At 4-4 Stan and Toni broke Scott after he drilled several balls right at Toni down the line and Toni
volleyed each one back finally picking off a low dipper and hitting a drop shot volley winner.   Toni held her serve to take the set 6-4.   

The first set loss was motivating to Scott and Laura and they came out firing.   Laura held her serve by hitting a great cross court volley past Stan's outstretched racket.   Scott and Laura decided to use the unusual tactic of hitting to Stan because Toni was making great shots from everywhere on the court.

The strategy picked up some steam and Scott/Laura rolled out to a 3-1 lead.   At 4-3 Scott served and after a tough rally Laura pushed Stan deep in the forehand corner and Stan unleashed an amazing topspin corner to corner winner to seal the break.

On Toni's serve a break point was earned and during a rally with Scott, Toni hit a short
high ball that Scott was ready to put away..... The ball bounced on a crack and kicked left forcing Scott to make an error.   Toni held on for a 5-4 lead and then Laura was broken for a 6-4, 6-4 victory for the feisty Bulgarian and his partner.  

Generally the ball bounces were consistent.  Location and setting in historic Benton Park are a 10 but court condition is closer to a 5 for a 7.5 rating.   These courts would get a lot of use if they were renovated.   There are some great nearby St. Louis standbys such as Gus' Pretzels and Hodaks.  However you can't beat the convenience Luvy Duvy's Cafe right across the street.
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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Wapelhorst Park - The Wimbledon 2014 Edition

St. Louis has been experiencing some unseasonably cool July weather.   This great weather plus watching Wimbledon which has increased our appetite to play tennis.   Last week we headed to Wapelhorst Park in St. Charles for our fourth match on the west side of the longest tributary in the United States, the Missouri river.

The courts sit in a small corner of a larger park which features a water park and baseball fields.   The courts are in excellent shape with one small exception.   The court is striped with bright yellow pickleball lines which make it very difficult to accurately call serves because the two lines are very close to one another.

If you are not familiar with pickleball get acquainted because it is apparently a craze among seniors.  The Villages in Florida have installed over 100 pickleball courts for their seniors.   Here is a short video on the phenomenon - Introduction to Pickleball.

The courts are lighted but do not have a restroom facility close to them.     As we began to warm up with the X-Balls it was apparent that not much sand was in the surface coating resulting in a fast court with very low bounces.   The match finally began and started out 2-2 from there it went downhill for Scott as Stan began really dialing in his backhand.

Stan hit winners off the backhand of every variety including passing Scott down the line on a serve and volley, cross court and down the line winners.   Accordingly he reeled off the next four games to win the first set 6-2 and Scott's dream of a threepeat began to fade.

However, the second set started out well for Scott as he began focusing on Stan's forehand and hitting lots of winners off of his own forehand.   Scott rolled out to a 3-1 lead.   The fifth game of the set was epic.   Stan served and Scott worked his way to a break point.

On the first break point a 20 shot rally ended with Scott pushing Stan in the forehand corner and coming to the net, as Scott stood stunned, Stan hit a beautiful topspin lob that landed on both lines in Scott's backhand corner.   Both players had multiple chances to win the game and finally Scott won it with two consecutive forehand winners for a 4-1 lead.  Not to be outdone Stan won 8 of the next 9 points to get back to 3-4.   Scott held on though and closed out the set 6-3 on a serve and volley winner.  We spun the racket to decide 10 point tiebreak or full set.  The tiebreaker won.  

Stan reclaimed the momentum by winning six points in a row to get to a 6-0 lead.   Scott stayed focused and fought back to a 6-9 score.  Then he stayed in the match by drop shotting Stan, then lobbing over his head and knowing Stan would retrieve what should have been a winner Scott went to the net and volley it away to get to 7-9.  Alas this was as far as Scott would go as Stan hit an unreturnable serve to finish it.   6-2, 3-6, 1-0 .  This now makes Scott 0 for 4 West of the Missouri River.

Court location is a 10 and court condition would be an 8 primarily because of the pickleball lines which really cause problems calling serves.   Average Score a 9.    An old north county favorite Saullo's Pizza is nearby for an after match meal.  

Friday, June 06, 2014

East St. Louis Tennis Courts Revitalization Update

We just wanted to share some of the photos of the hearing over in East St. Louis about revitalizing the tennis courts.  This is a big step in helping bring the great game of tennis back to East St. Louis and helping cultivate some amazing home grown talent that could become some of the greatest players in tennis history ala Jimmy Connors.  We will keep you guys up to date on the progress and we can't wait to play on them once they are finished!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Best of Five - Ackfield Park

Finally spring has arrived and this week we had a perfect morning to test out the courts at Ackfield Park in the City of Shrewsbury.   These two courts sit behind the Shrewsbury police station in a 6.8 acre park which includes ballfields and sand volleyball.   The courts are an astroturf surface and are in great shape except for a few large seams which have developed in a couple spots.

In the last couple years USTA has changed league rules so that split set matches are ended with 10 point tiebreakers.   We decided to try a new format which was to have our match consist of the the first to win three 10 point tiebreakers.   A mini best of five format if you will.  A can of X-Balls was opened and the match was on.

As we began our warm up we quickly determined this astroturf surface was faster than most and really reacted to both topspin and underspin.   Scott quickly got out to a 3-0 lead and increased it to 5-2 at which point Stan played a series of great points to get back in the tiebreaker.   Stan finally took the lead 8-7 and then finished the first tiebreaker with two great points.  The first was a spectacular lob over Scotts head after he followed a mid court volley to the net and the second was a deep down the line slice backhand past Scott at the net.  First tiebreaker goes to Stan.

Second tiebreaker started in a similar fashion.  Scott stormed out to a 5-2 lead and Stan battled back.   At 5-5 the turf seam came into play as Scott drove a forehand down the line and it hit the seam and dipped under Stan's outstretched racket.   At 8-5 Scott served two great serves in a row to finish the second tiebreaker 10-5.

Third tiebreaker.   This one again started out with Scott taking a 5-2 lead.   Again Stan battled back to 5-5. Scott fended off a couple great body serves with slice balls that dropped at Stan's feet.  Again at 8-5 two good serves by Scott finished the breaker 10-5.

Fourth tiebreaker.   Scott roared out to a 6-0 lead and tried to add a new rule the 7-0 shutout just like ping pong.  Stan wasn't buying it and took the next point getting Scott to hit a ball wide.   Stan fought furiously to get back into the tiebreaker.  At 5-7 Stan came to the net on a deep ball to Scott's forehand which Scott took right back down the line for a winner.   Stan got back to 8-6 with a perfectly hit dropshot.   The next two points and the match went to Scott for a 10-6 tiebreaker  and 3-1 match victory!

Surface was tough to adjust to but consistent on all except one point during our match.   Location is great right off hwy 44 and Shrewsbury exit.   Location is a 10 and Court Condition is an 8 for a rating of 9.   A great nearby eatery is the famous Porters Fried Chicken for an after match  snack.