Tennis Club News

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on,"

The Tempest



This year's pageant fades today. The season is over. The pageant will return sometime around late April, early May. We'll post a new newspage sometime around the first of March, just before the annual meeting. In the Spring. Yes, the Spring.

The website stays alive during the winter, the links stay active. During the winter, you can always come to the newpage and re-live those glorious days of yesteryear by fooling around with links on the bottom of the page. The year's news is archived. Every newspage from every year is archived.

We want to thank our photographers, Ken Turnbull and Peter Maggs, our contributors, and everyone who gave us permission to post photos. We also thank Bob Doyle and the techies over there at skyBuilders for valuable assistance and advice. And we thank our readers.



"Hats off to the triple crown winner and top competitor at CTC." -Don Craven

David Hemenway


David Hemenway won the Men's Singles Championship this year, and with Michelle Schaffer, the Mixed Doubles Championship, and with Ken Turnbull, the Men's Doubles Championship.

David has won a club championship 23 times since joining the club in 1979. He's won the singles title 6 times. He's won doubles championships with 10 different partners. Over the years, he hasn't entered every tournament, but usually, when he's entered, he's either won, or been beaten in the finals.

David is quiet, modest, deceptive, smart, and, don't we all know it, very competitive.

David said, "When I was younger, a good day of tennis was when I played well and won. Now a good day is when I don't get hurt."

An anonymous partner responded to this comment, "I hope our opponents actually believe that."

David also said, "Never beat yourself."

Now, that comment is David, isn't it? David never, ever beats himself.

We've asked for comments from some of David's opponents and partners.

"David drives you crazy when he's at the net. You get so you can't even watch the ball. You just watch David. I vowed that he would never get to hit one ball (in doubles). I'd play (...his partner). And then he hit every ball. He cut every ball off at the net. He really gets into your head. He's just incredible at the net. I hate playing doubles against him. If you want to play smart doubles, your first move is getting David Hemenway as your partner." -Anon

"David is obviously the club champion." -Ron Perry

"I remember that he was an extremely formidable opponent in our mixed doubles tournament matches. He ran like crazy and got EVERYTHING back with wonderful shots! Our matches were always very close and fun." -Esther Williams

"David's net game is very unconventional and very, very effective." -Bill Crusco

(Craig Lambert wrote a piece about David for Harvard Magazine. The article, "Death by the Barrel," can still be read online.)

"When talking with him for that piece, after I finished the interview I asked him: "Now, what I'm really curious about: What makes David Hemenway such a great tennis player?"

He explained his simple tennis philosophy: many, many more points are lost on errors than are won via winners. I have stood with him on the CTC deck watching a doubles match played by four of the steadiest, most cautious players in the club and listened as David tallied how each point was decided: 75 percent of them on errors. As he told me one day on the court, in his characteristic tongue-in-cheek mode: "Craig, remember that the key strategy is to hit the ball OVER the net and INTO the court." At other times he has advised me to always keep moving my feet on the court: "It's a ballet, a dance," to get the return of serve in, to prepare the racquet early by getting it back. All very sound basics, which he practices as well as preaches. If I could follow his advice, I'd be a great player, too.

David watched the 1999 Australia-United States Davis Cup tie at Longwood, and at one point was close enough to overhear some of the U.S. coaches' talk with Pete Sampras during a changeover. David thought, "Wow, I'm going to hear some really sophisticated coaching." But what he heard was " Move your feet." David mused that if he had listened a bit longer he might have heard them tell Pete, "Get your racquet back."

However, David can do much, much more than the basics. His anticipation is marvelous and he moves very well and wisely on the court. He has a plan for each doubles point: to poach, or not to poach. That is the question, and David manages to insert this uncertainty into his opponents' minds, disrupting their concentration when returning serve. David's ability to control the racquet face is amazing: he can angle off a volley at the last split-second that touches down in the alley just two feet beyond the net, or so it seems.

You might call David a "stealth dominator." With no apparent weapons at all - he doesn't serve hard, or hit ANY ball especially hard; he doesn't do anything special with spins; he doesn't hit a big forehand or backhand or a big ANYTHING - he is able to beat pretty much all comers. I was told that years ago, in a CTC tournament singles final, David came within a point or two of beating Ron Perry, the many-time club champion who fires some serious weapons. There is no Goliath that this David might not slay.

It's not done by slight-of-hand, though it sometimes seems so; nor by overpowering athleticism, nor size nor strength nor blinding speed. David wins by playing consistent, sound, and above all, smart tennis. I have personally proven the theorem that the best doubles team in CTC is David Hemenway plus anybody else. As double partners, he and I are undefeated, I think 3-0. And similarly, between the two of us, Jimmy Connors and I have 105 pro singles titles." -Craig Lambert

"David Hemenway demonstrates that a smart player can often beat a hard hitter who goes for a winner on every shot. Especially in doubles." -Rick Rose

"Can you imagine if he had some strokes and a decent serve?" -An anonymous partner

"I've played against Dave every week over the last 20 years, probably more than he's played any other human being during that time, and he has never for a second been anything but kind, gracious, generous and absolutely merciless. His serve is funky. His forehand has no velocity. His net play is not exactly orthodox. His calls are way too generous-- he calls my shots "in" if they are in the same zip code as the court. Yet he's the Terminator. He's a terrific competitor and a terrific person and I can't cheer for the guy enough." -Rick Weissbourd



Many thanks to Peter Maggs for our tournament photos. Peter took zillions of good pictures. Space and download time dictate that we've posted only a few (on previous newspages). Peter invites readers to look at all of his tournament pictures and pictures of his trip to Kenya. Peter's photos can be found at an online photos site:



We like the idea sent in by a summer member and we've had some responses. (If anyone wants to add to the list during the winter, we'll post your suggestions.)

Dear Webmaster, Over past winters, I have fed a dormant trout fishing habit with titles devoted to the subject. The tradition of angling literature is vast, so finding enjoyable reads has not been a problem. That said, the past few months as a summer member at CTC have resulted in a desire to read about tennis as well. So far, I have enjoyed John McPhee's Levels Of The Game and selected tennis pieces from George Plimpton On Sports quite a bit. Would the CTC website readership be able to suggest further titles for a reader who's interested in "reading between the lines"?

Many thanks,
Summer Member

We'll list the responses:


Stan Cath, Nathan Cobb, and Alvin Kahn, LOVE AND HATE ON THE TENNIS COURT.


Jack L. Groppel, HIGH TECH TENNIS.


Bill Tilden's How to Play Better Tennis.

John McEnroe's You Cannot be Serious.


(And we heard from a reader who recommends a tennis website:)

Tennis Week.

-A Player




The club book should be in your hands always. Much of the book's information is also available on the website. Events, Rules, Governors and Committees are all updated, as is the New Members List.

The Waiting List for membership is posted online. You can find it, in chronological order, in the FAQ section of the website.

The website has a long overdue new feature: a Champions Page (updated to include the winners of this year's tournaments). Check it out.

The website has another new and important feature, the President's Corner (updated 11-17-06). Check it out.

And we've added new info on the membership process. Check out MEMBERSHIP.

Some useful links:

Here's a link to the espn site, with pro ranking.

And a club member (let's call him Sol) suggested a link to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The site is rich.

We still have the tournament draws (from 2001 to 2004) available on-line (including all of the results), thanks to the Java Kid. We are re-locating the links, however.



"On the court, tennis players exchange not only ground strokes but lots of information. It's a richly interactive sport, both verbally and non-verbally. If players communicate clearly, simply, and consistently, the game will proceed more quickly, and with less fuss and misunderstanding. Here are a few guidelines that can make the game more fun, friendly, and fair for all...."

We've had some requests to run Craig Lambert's piece, sampled above, on Tennis Communication. (We'd better leave this link up on the newspage permanently.)



Website note: The website does have all of the information available in the club book on-line except the membership directory.

'Timelines' is for adepts.


Yearbook link will take you to the last newspage from 2005. From there you can see the whole of the Persistent Archive of last year's news.

Website Note: The time and temperature icon below is a link to a Boston weather site.

Click for Boston, Massachusetts Forecast

Joe DeBassio, Webmaster.

Website Note II: The honey-comb icon is also a link. It takes the clicker to an archive of all the past news pages so that said clicker can read the news pages for the whole year (2006). The less-than link (<) next to the honeycomb icon will take clickers to the previous issue of this year's newspage. (Skywriter is for Initiates.)


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