Our McTennis ladder concluded last Sunday in an epic battle between Michael Moshan and Nicholas Mundell. We could never describe the match as comprehensively, and humorously, as our own Mike Moshan, so we've reprinted his description below.
It was quite a scene there at Mccarren Tennis Court #2 on Sunday, November 1st, as #1 seed Michael Moshan and #7 seed Nicholas Mundell battled on Court 2 to determine the year-end champion. First, there was the NYC Marathon scene going north on Bedford Avenue, with a major water station set up all around the street and lawn in front of the courts. Loud and jarring cheers would erupt from the water station area as hundreds of volunteers screamed for the fit multitude who ran by. “I felt like I was playing Davis Cup,” said Moshan. Then there was the helicopter — obviously filming the marathon — flying overhead. Then there was the DJ/house music blaring on large speakers set up near the marathon water station, which was so loud you could barely here the strike of the tennis ball. Then there was the Sunday softball league playing on the concrete adjacent to the courts, with all of the accompanying screams of softball passion and mayhem, flying softballs landing onto the court and of course the sweet stink of weed.
But in the end, through all the chaos and noise, a tightly contested and high-level tennis match occurred, with Michael Moshan outlasting the Southpaw from New Zealand, Nicholas Mundell, 8-6 in a dramatic match.
Mundell began the match with top quality tennis, including passing shots when Moshan rushed net and big winners when rallying from the baseline. Leading 3-0 and then 4-1, 30-0, all the momentum was with the Big Kiwi.
"I've been playing well in practice, and came in to the match just looking to keep that form,” said Mundell. "The first 5 games went pretty quickly and when I found myself up 4-1, I was feeling like I was about to run away with it. Mike played a great game at 4-1, loosening up and hitting 2 clean forehand winners I couldn't even get a racquet to. I was still confident but by this point I'd begun to play more defensive, chipping backhand returns and getting into rallies far too long against a guy like Mike.
“I tried to hang in there,” said Moshan after the match, obviously relieved. “Nick is so talented, so versatile, his game is so aggressive, that I just didn’t have the answers early on. I told myself I had to go for it more and play more aggressive, even though the wind was swirling and it was difficult to trust my strokes.”
Mundell remembered a key moment that swung the match Moshan’s way: "There was one point a 4-4, where I had an easy smash to get to game point and put it straight back down the middle of the court at Mike, who threw up a much better lob, which I ended up running back for and hitting long....one of those "if only" moments.”
Mid-match, Mundell countered with more serve and volley — especially wide on the ad side — and more backhand slice. The serve and volley generally worked for the lefty, but the slice allowed Moshan to swing more freely and put more pressure on, running Mundell and forcing the aggressor to be the defender. "At 5-4 down (4 games in a row!) I'd forgotten how to hit a top-spin backhand, and the slices were landing short, giving Mike a choice of corners for his approaches,” said Mundell. "Resolving 'Attack!' at all costs at this point, I began following my serve in, which kept me in the game, but by this point I wasn't hitting any winners and Mike wasn't missing many.”
At 5-6, Mundell rushed net furiously, but Moshan hit several key passing shots to break Nick and lead the match 7-5. Said Moshan, “Nick hit some great volleys on some solid returns but the more he served and volleyed, the better I saw the ball and the better went my returns. I even stepped in a few feet, switching from returning 5-6 feet from behind the baseline, to returning at or near the baseline."
Moshan served for the match at 7-5 but Mundell broke him at love, hitting several big winners. Mentally and physically, the two were giving it all they had. Said Mundell, "At 7-5 down I found my form from earlier. Having come-back from a similar score-line against Laurent in the quarters, I still thought a win was possible…."
At 7-6, the two had perhaps their longest rally, at 15-15, at least 20 shots with Mundell pressing Moshan’s backhand and Moshan hitting cross court and then down the line, trying to make Mundell miss in the swirly wind. Finally, Mundell’s backhand sailed long and Moshan lead 30-15. A serve and volley winner brought Mundell to 30-30. Moshan returned a second serve and Mundell again forced the action, rushing net, but this time Moshan grooved a backhand cross court to pass. At 30–40, Mundell served wide, again rushing net, but Moshan returned the ball at Mundell’s feet. Nick's short hop volley went wide to his right and the match ended there.
Said Mundell, "I think I played well at the start, but couldn't put him away, and subsequently didn't recover from the momentum swing in the middle of the match. Can't say I'm not disappointed with the loss, but Mike was solid as ever and played well at the right times to take it."
Moshan summed it up this way, “It was a tight match – it could have gone either way really. Those conditions were extremely tough and so I’m really happy to win the match and tournament against such an unbelievable player. It’s a great rivalry. Our games are so different and so when we play, we end up challenging each other and bringing out our best tennis."
Mundell had a tremendous season, advancing to the finals in the tournament and also posting 11 wins to only 1 loss (his 11-5 record this year was deceiving, since he battled injuries and had 4 forfeits). When healthy, Nick was dominant, beating top 10-ers Martine, Moshan, Wojtek, and Bart. A close loss to Visser right before the ladder closed was his only blemish.
Moshan’s year was also very strong, with his one loss to Mundell in mid July. After that, he grabbed the number 1 rung with a win over Visser and then beat Bart, Martin, Evans-Jones and then again Visser (this time 8-6 in a thriller) to hold the #1 rung until the tournament.
Thanks to all competitors in the ladder and tournament. It was a great year. Let’s do it again next year.
After some unbelievable matches over a long 5 months, the McTennis Ladder has closed for 2015. We'll be back in 2016, but in the meantime, please enjoy this entertaining account of the semi-final matches from our own Michael Moshan. We'll post the results of the finals as soon as they emerge from the presses.
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Williamsburg’s semi final match was settled last weekend, with New Zealand’s pride and joy Nicholas Mundell taking out Will “The Wall” McCord, 8-4. A solid start by Mundell had him up a break early at 3-1. Both players were playing well, with long rallies punctuated by winners from both sides of the net. Well aware of how his serving would effect the match, Mundell managed to put away his service games without too much pressure, combining solid first serving with the occasional net rush to keep the pressure on McCord. McCord's service games were closer, but he maintained the solid play that has taken him to many victories this season and had Mundell sucking air after more than a few long points.
Said McCord: "Starting slowly and going down a break in the first game made the match tough. More first serves might've helped but all credit to Nick's aggressiveness and great hands. I tried to extend the points and make him move as much as possible but his forehand, serve and net approaches made it very tough. Congrats to Nick on a great match and year!”
The service break held till what proved to be the critical game of the match...with Mundell 5-4 up on serve. Jumping out to 0-30, McCord could smell the break he had been fighting for....and Mundell knew that at 5-5, the match could go either way. Luck had held for Mundell in his previous match against the Frenchman Visser, with a couple of well timed net-chords, and this match would apparently continue that streak. Placing his serve deftly on the 0-30 point, McCord hit a nice deep return towards Mundell's forehand...the lefty took a full swing and missed all but the frame....the ball popped up and over, landing about 1ft past the net and maybe 3" from the side line. McCord, rightly surprised the ball had actually cleared the net, rushed forward and managed to get in position to slice the ball down the line, only to be denied by the net chord. Mundell subsequently pulled back to even, then held, to push the score out to a more comfortable 6-4.
The momentum from that 9th game had fallen on Mundell's side and he was able to keep the pressure up, breaking McCord again in the very next game and setting up a service game to take the match. Mundell kept his foot on the gas, finishing the match with an ace down the middle on the advantage side.
"Will's a great player, and everyone knows that you don't want to get into a foot race with, him so I tried to attack and keep the points on my terms. I knew my serving would be very important, and I was pretty happy with it on the day. I was again the 'luckier' player, with the 50/50 points going my way (and that 9th game, 0-30 point!) and I think Will made a few too many unforced errors as the match progressed. Very much looking forward to the Final. Special thanks to all Laurent for the warm up hit before the match!”.
"Next year I hope to enlist Laurent as a warm-up as well,” joked McCord.
McCord, who held the #3 rung at years end and held the #1 spot in July, had a great year, compiling a 6-2 record, with big wins against Morse (8-6), Dushan (8-2), Bart (8-1 to take the #1 rung and 8-4 the next month), and two wins against Martine (8-5 and 8-7). Losses to Wojtek and Visser were his only blemishes. All in all, a great year for Will.
Mundell meets #1 seed Moshan in the finals. The two have played once before with Mundell handling Moshan easily 8-4 (Moshan’s only loss in 2015). Moshan has plenty of excuses, however, and has scheduled numerous press conferences to explain those excuses, but, the press, so far, has not shown up to report them.
NOTE: the 2015 McTennis ladder has been completed. Please do not register at this time. We'll be back in Spring of 2016 for another great season.
Welcome to 2015, the year of the goat, or, in pro tennis circles, the year of the Djoker. It's time to kick off the 4th annual McCarren Park Tennis Ladder. As usual, all proceeds go towards the maintenance and improvement of the McCarren Park tennis courts. The ladder will run from June 1 to September 1, 2015. Sign-ups are open now, so please register here.
This year there will be two ladders. The "A" ladder is for 4.0+ players only and the "B" ladder is for players of all levels. Both ladders are open to men and women. Please indicate which ladder you would like to play in when you register. Once you are registered, you will receive an email with login information for tennisrungs.com. You will be able to challenge players, submit scores, and view rankings on the website during the season.
Register: To register, fill out the form and follow the steps to pay through PayPal using your PayPal account or any major credit card. Your registration will not be effective until we have received your payment.
The Donation: All participants must make a donation to McCarren Tennis to participate. The donation is $50.01 on or before May 31 and $65.01 thereafter. All proceeds go towards maintenance of the McCarren Park courts. Payments are collected on behalf of the McCarren Tennis Association by the Open Space Alliance, a not-for-profit dedicated to the improvement of North Brooklyn Parks.
The Rules: The rules are available on the McCarren Tennis Ladder Rules page.
Seeding: Initial seeding will be based on the final standings of last year's ladder. If you are joining for the first time, or if you sign up after May 31, you will automatically be added to the bottom of the ladder.
Play-offs: There will be a mini-tournament for the top 8 players of each ladder at the end of the season.
Getting there: The McCarren Park tennis courts are located here, between Bedford Ave. and Berry St., just north of North 12th St., in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Take the L train to Bedford Ave. or the G train to Nassau Ave.
Long time no post, but here we go. As many of you have seen, there are now shipping containers -- that's Brooklyn for "clubhouse" -- at the courts. This is the first stage of the long awaited, nay mythical, bubble that we've been promised for at least three years. Like the weatherman who tells you that rain is forecasted when it's already raining, we're confidently able to predict that we will likely, probably have a bubble this winter. Why? Well, it's been three years since the good folks who won the bid actually won it. Also, there are now containers on the site, and those are going to become a pro shop, a viewing area, and best of all, bathrooms for players. Finally, we're told from our Parks Department sources that permits and major issues have been worked out.
From a court-time planning perspective, we're told that the first phase of construction will involve digging a trench around the inside perimeter of the courts -- this will be the foundation to which the bubble fabric attaches when it's inflated each season. In theory and by design, this should disrupt play only on two courts at a time, though obviously time will tell. You can expect upgrades to the surfaces, nets and other things more important to play at some point. We still don't have definitive information on outdoor lighting, but please check back for more. Sound off below with questions or comments and we'll try to get some answers.
Most importantly -- check the next post for info on the 2015 McCarren Tennis Ladder!!
We've heard that our Paypal wasn't accepting donations properly, but we've now fixed the issue. We apologize for the inconvenience. So you don't have to fill out the whole form again, here's a simplified version of the form designed to just take your payment. This is ONLY if you have already registered -- otherwise just use the form below. See you on the courts.
Hi all - happy to announce that the 2014 McCarren Tennis Ladder is alive and well for the spring season.
Sign-ups for the 2014 Ladder will begin immediately, so please register here. The season will officially start June 1. This year there will be 3 separate ladders: 3.5 ladder, 4.0 ladder, and 4.5+ ladder. Both men & women may play in any of the ladders.
For registrants who sign up on or before June 1, initial seeding will be based on the results of last year's ladder. If you are joining for the first time, or if you sign up after June 1, you will automatically be added to the bottom of the ladder. We're offering a discount on early registrations: it's $50.01 before June 1, and $65.01 if you register later. Please review the full set of rules here.
We will be using tennisrungs.com again to run our ladder. Once you fill out the registration form and pay, a ladder administrator will send you an email to invite you to join tennisrungs.com. If you have any questions, please contact the administrator of the ladder that you're playing in. The admins:
By the way ... noticed the trimmed trees around the courts? Yes, you could have hit that high-bouncing lob if it didn't hit a tree branch first -- but this wasn't done for you. It's for the bubble. We can't make any promises, because it's been delayed so many times. But that's why those trees were trimmed, so hopefully this will move forward this year.
Back in late 2009, we were among the many groups and individuals who objected to the city's doubling of tennis permit fees. There were a lot of reasons for our opposition: the fact that tennis players already paid the highest per capita fees of any organized sport in the city, the fact that it would discourage adoption of the game, and of course that tennis players didn't get anything for the money we paid -- after all, it was the USTA and AmEx who had resurfaced our courts, not the city. One other argument we made, however, was that the city wouldn't even benefit from the rate increases. You don't have to be Paul Krugman to realize that raising rates on shitty (relatively) public courts so they are more expensive than all other Park activities and more expensive than most private facilities would result in a dramatic downturn tennis activity -- or an upturn in sneaking on the courts.
Well, we're unhappy to say that both were true. Read the article from the NY Times and weep.
Next time, the Parks Department might try to listen to the audience they're trying to sell permits to.
As many of you have heard, the bubble has been delayed for a year. Apparently after getting clearance from Parks to start construction, the concessionaires also needed to get a required permit from the Department of Buildings. Because that process takes 6-8 weeks at the minimum, the construction work wouldn't have been complete until October, and then it takes 3 months for the dome to be constructed per specs that become available after the construction is complete.
So ... no dome in 2013/2014 season. But at least our outdoor season won't be interrupted by construction -- and one hopes that the construction can be better timed to prevent disruption to spring/summer play next year.
At long last, we have some definitive news on the tennis bubble at our dear courts. Drum roll please ... the bubble will be up this October! After 2 years of wrangling with Parks, the concession has been awarded, permits granted, and everything is set. There are a few great wins for the community beyond the bubble, but there also will be some serious disruption during construction. Here are the pros and cons:
- The bubble company has agreed to install lights in the fall. This was part of his bid. These are exterior lights (there are different lights inside the dome) which will enable play on 3 courts during the permit season -- so this means we'll have night tennis as well as night soccer in the neighborhood. In 2016, lights will expand to cover all 6 courts.
- The bubble company would become responsible for all maintenance of the courts year round -- fixing the surface, fencing, nets, drainage, etc.
- We'll be able to play tennis in the winter ... for a fee, of course.
- There will be a trailer structure parked near the courts, which will be a pro-shop and concessions for the dome, as well as where you check in and pay. So you can have your rackets strung, buy balls, etc.
- Dome construction would start by end of June. This would involve cutting a 3' channel, about 4' deep, on both sides of the courts, pouring concrete and setting the anchor structure for the dome. Once completed, the anchors will not affect play, but there will be a disruption for 2-4 weeks once construction starts. This is unfortunately, but construction would have to start very soon to have the bubble ready for this winter.
- The bubble will go up in mid October and come down at the end of April. This period is outside of permit season, so no tennis permits are required to use the dome, but of course there are court fees. So effectively, there will be a period (November, April) when people could have played for free but now will have to pay. This was of course a source for debate during the RFP process.
At this time, pricing has not been set but it was limited in the RFP so you can probably expect it to be in line with Prospect Park. Questions? Ask them below and we'll try to get answers.
We're back!! Sign-ups for the 2013 McCarren Tennis Ladder will begin immediately, so register here. The season will officially start May 15. This year there will be 4 separate ladders: a women's ladder, 3.5 ladder, 4.0 ladder, and 4.5+ ladder (to be clear: women may play in any of the ladders, but men may not play in the women's ladder).
Initial seeding will be based on the results of last year's ladder. If you are joining for the first time, or if you sign up after May 15th, you will automatically be added to the bottom of the ladder. Please review the full set of rules here. The entry fee will be $35.01 per player.
This year we will be using Tennisrungs.com to run our ladder. Once you fill out the registration form and pay, a ladder administrator will send you an email to invite you to join Tennisrungs.com. If you have any questions, please contact the administrators of the ladder that you're interested in playing in.
Women's Ladder - Anastasiya Konopitskaya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3.5 Ladder - Michael Truong (email@example.com)
4.0 Ladder - Drew Malcolm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
4.5 Ladder - Michael Moshan (email@example.com)