December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Tennis Fixation!

Merry Christmas from Tennis Fixation!  The weather is cold and crisp, the kids are home from school, and everyone is relaxed and watching "A Christmas Story" for the 18th time. It never gets old. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Tennis Fixation!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 22, 2009

Tennis Fashion Fix: Australian Open 2010-Ana Ivanovic

If you're keeping up with the Australian Open 2010 countdown widget in the sidebar on the right, you know the next Grand Slam is less than a month away. And here at Tennis Fixation that means we're interested in just one thing - what are the pros going to be wearing?

Well, the previews are already circulating and here, in her dress from Adidas, is what Ana Ivanovic is expected to wear. And I would say those expectations are pretty close to being right as you can see that she herself is the model in these photos. This yellow should really pop against the blue background of the courts at the Aussie Open.

And how great to see Ana wearing a fitted dress, something that shows off her athletic figure!

Remember the awful baggy thing Adidas had her in last year? No? Click here to have your memory sadly refreshed.

I think this dress will be a winner for Ana. And we'll see whether that carries over to her tennis.

Stay tuned to get your Tennis Fashion Fix!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 16, 2009

Quick Tennis Fix: Fake Poaching

Let's say you're a decent doubles player but you're not an incredible poacher.  That doesn't mean that you never poach.  Poaching is such an important strategy in doubles tennis play. A good poacher puts tremendous pressure on her opponents and disrupts their return of serve. But even if you aren't a great poacher, making some attempts at the poach will throw your opponents off balance.  It forces them to consider making the down-the-line return which is never an easy shot.

So, if you're not poaching much, increase the number of times you try.  Let your partner know to be prepared for your attempts. And, if nothing else, try some fake poaches - take a step towards the center line just as your opponent goes to hit her return. Make a body movement as if you will be poaching. This could draw your opponent into making a change in her plans, hitting either a poorly executed down-the-line return or a sloppy cross court shot that is easy to pick off.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

We Have A Winner!

All of the entries are in.  Names were placed in a tennis ball can at midnight, the can was sealed, shaken thoroughly and then one lucky name was drawn.  So we now have a winner of the "Happy 1st Anniversary" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway!   Just to clarify - some of you e-mailed me and let me know that you had problems with the comment form.  So I included all of those names in the giveaway also.

And that lucky winner is (drumroll noise here) . . .


Robin - Your fabulous fully-insulated tennis travel mug will be arriving on your doorstep very soon.  I hope people feel intimidated when they see you drinking from it on the court.

Thank you to everyone who entered.  I really enjoyed seeing your comments and reading your e-mails.  I'm sure I will be doing this again really soon!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 15, 2009

LAST DAY TO ENTER the "Happy 1st Anniversary" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway

It's not too late - you can still enter the "Happy 1st Anniversary" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway! Just click HERE to go to the post with all of the information on how to get in on this incredible giveaway.  If you haven't entered already, you are definitely going to want to once you see the fabulous tennis gift I'm giving to one of my lucky readers.  So, click on over there and enter now! And then tune in tomorrow when I announce the winner!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 12, 2009

Tennis Team Party & Gifts: "Perfect Serve" Cookies!

The holidays are approaching, the tennis season is wrapping up, and that can only mean one thing - end-of-tennis-season parties! I just hosted a luncheon for one of my teams and had to share the very cute gift (or maybe its a party favor) I made for everyone that was the complete and total hit of our get-together. I did the cookies-in-a-jar thing (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you soon will) but gave it a tennis twist by making "Perfect Serve" Cookies.  So here's the finished product, complete with super cute tag showing Santa tossing a tennis ball:

And here's the inside of the tag, with baking instructions.  Note what's written on the left:  "'Perfect Serve' Cookies - Guaranteed to Give You a Perfect Serve!"

And here's what they look like from the backside, where you can see the contents:

And here's the whole big old stack of them, 14 in all for my whole team. I "accidentally" made one for myself too.

Finally, I made up a batch and took this lovely photo, complete with tennis ball decorations.

FYI - 1. My husband wanted to make these for everyone in his office so we were already doing them as a family project. 2. We had to make 52 of them for the office! 3. The ones I made for my tennis team are much cuter than the ones for the office. 4. I ate a lot of these cookies after I made them and my serve is pretty much the same.  Oh well. 

I'm not going into the whole recipe for these things as you can Google "cookies in a jar" and get a gazillion different recipes. Unless of course there is an overwhelming outcry for me to post the recipe. I just thought this was too cute and vaguely tennis-related so I knew you'd all want to see. Happy Holidays!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 11, 2009

Happy Hanukkah from Tennis Fixation!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah (tomorrow's the first day) and my family is definitely celebrating. At least one child will be getting a new tennis racquet (which I can say since, for the most part, my kids don't read this). So Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to everyone in Tennis Fixation land!  Enjoy this special time with friends and family!

And don't forget to enter the "Happy 1st Anniversary!" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway! Just click on the post title and follow the instructions to enter! Be sure and get your entry in before the Dec. 15 deadline.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 10, 2009

The Tennis Fixation Best-Ever Tennis Gift Guide

The Tennis Fixation Best-Ever Tennis Gift Guide is here! Hooray!

That's right - we here at Tennis Fixation have been working hard, to come up with the greatest tennis gift guide ever - available just for you, our fabulous, incredible readers. These are really cool things you'll want to give to your favorite tennis players to improve their game and make them happy on court. (These are also things you'll want to get so direct the eyes of your most-likely gift givers in this direction.)

Yes, its tennis gift fun for everyone.  Some of these are wonderful "main focus" gifts.  Some of these are super-cute stocking stuffers.  So there's a gift for everyone on your list at every price range - from your fabulous wife who is obsessed with tennis (are you reading this honey?) to your incredible team captain who took your team to the top of your league standings to your friendly team mates who agree to play with you week after week.

To start with, who wouldn't love to receive this "Fantasy" Ultimate Tote tennis bag from Whak Sak? Whak Sak has tons of cool, different bags that you're not going to see every other lady carrying.  Now, don't get me wrong. I love my current bag and have even written whole posts on how much I love it (click here for Happy Tennis Holidays and What's In My Tennis Bag?). But if I had to replace it, this one below has got to be the one I would choose. It's gold and silver zebra print, it can hold 4 racquets and it has a magnetic/removable insulated cooler to hold your water bottle. And did I mention it's zebra print?  Gold and silver zebra print? I bet I could figure out some reason why I need two tennis bags if I thought about it enough. 

How about finally getting serious with a sports watch?  The Polar F6 will tell you more about your work-out than you could possibly want to know. This thing not only tells you your heart rate, it gives you an automatic age-based target zone to shoot for. You can record your weekly exercise time, calories burned and time spent in your target zone. Plus a lot more cool stuff. And it comes in a very cute pink, as well as several other great colors.

If you're really tenacious about tennis and are ready to take it to the next level, its time for some very serious sunglasses.  These are Bolle Kickback tennis sunglasses.  The lens on these babies were specifically designed for tennis - the patented lens mutes all light except optic yellow, the color of a tennis ball, so that the ball supposedly pops out of the background.  I myself have a pair of these very sunglasses and love playing with them.  Put these on for a match and your opponents will definitely get the message - she clearly has spent some money on her sunglasses (you can click here for a web site that sells these are other Bolle sunglasses).

Next is the cutest tennis towel ever. How do I know this is the cutest tennis towel ever? I used to own this. But somehow, SOMEONE accidentally picked this up from my bag at a match I was playing. I'm sure it was an ACCIDENT. Anyway, I love this ("Tennis Chicks" - get it?) and, as tennis towels aren't too expensive, I'm always on the lookout for another one of these to buy for myself (click here for one of the web sites where you can buy this and many other cute tennis towels). But what a sweet gift for your captain or team mates!

Well, you know I love this next item. It is the hot/cold tumbler that was featured in our first ever Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway (just click on that post title to enter if you haven't already). Call me crazy but this is exactly the kind of accessory that I find intimidating to come up against on a court. I mean really - if someone is going to walk around with one of these, they've been playing for awhile and are pretty dedicated to tennis. The only thing worse than seeing a competitor carrying this onto the court is watching someone putting on both of their knee braces and their tennis elbow compression thingy before warm-up. (Click here for one of the sites that sells these tumblers in green, blue and red.)

Finally, this is still one of my favs because it is just so darn cute. The tennis ball lip balm from Ballmania. The lip balm is a tasty vanilla flavor and - bonus! - has SPF 20. You can get it with or without the keychain clip and is perfect for throwing into your well-equipped tennis bag. And the price is so reasonable (i.e., cheap!) that you'll want to buy one for everyone on the team, including yourself. Because you deserve some tennis holiday fun too!

That's it for this year's Tennis Fixation Best-Ever Tennis Gift Guide. If you find something fun out there that would make a great tennis gift, be sure and let me know. Happy Holidays!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 8, 2009

The "Happy 1st Anniversary!" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway!

Happy 1st Anniversary from Tennis Fixation!

That's right - exactly one year ago today, the Tennis Fixation blog went on-line to bring you all of the latest and greatest tennis tips, strategies, guidance, fashion advice, etc. etc. And, to celebrate our 1st Anniversary AND this Happy Holiday season, we're having our first-ever "Happy 1st Anniversary!" Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveaway! Yippee!

So today is December 8. One week from now, on December 15, at exactly midnight Central Time, the name of one lucky Tennis Fixation reader will be drawn at random and that reader will win a super-fun Tennis Fixation tennis gift.  I went shopping at my fav tennis store, looking for just the right gift to giveaway to my fans.  And here's the incredible gift that I bought because I know you will just love, love, love it:  a fully-insulated tennis travel mug! Walk on the court with this baby and your opponents will know you mean business (because who else but a really serious tennis player would have a fully-insulated tennis travel mug?)! Check it out:

So, how do you enter to win this fabulous Tennis Fixation Tennis Gift Giveway? There are lots and lots of ways!  And don't get freaked out when you read all of this.  You don't have to do all of these.  Just do the first one and then pick and choose what you like:
  • For your FIRST entry, leave me on a comment on this post before midnight Central Time on December 15. This step is required to qualify for the giveaway. Be sure and use the comment form found at the bottom of each post and include your e-mail address with your comment so I can find you if you're a winner.  You can do this one time.  Just go ahead and do that right now so you know you're entered!
Want to earn bonus entries? Do any (or all) of the following before midnight Central Time on Dec. 15:
  • EARN ONE BONUS ENTRY by becoming a new Tennis Fixation e-mail subscriber. Just enter your e-mail in the "Subscribe" box on the right. Then come back and leave me a comment on this post with the e-mail address you subscribed with.  Are you already an e-mail subscriber?  Just leave me a comment below with the e-mail address that you subscribed with and you will get a Bonus Entry.
  • EARN ONE BONUS ENTRY by becoming a new Tennis Fixation Follower by clicking on the "Follow" button on the right. Then come back and leave me a comment on this post telling me you're now a follower!  Are you already a Follower?  Just leave me a comment below letting me know you already follow Tennis Fixation in an RSS reader and tell me which RSS reader you use and then you will get a Bonus Entry.
  • EARN ONE BONUS ENTRY by grabbing the Tennis Fixation button in the sidebar on the right (its super-cute) and add it to your blog or website's sidebar or links page. Then come back here and leave me the link in a comment on this post.
  • EARN ONE BONUS ENTRY by writing a post on your blog or website linking to the Tennis Fixation Giveaway, then come back here and leave me the link in a comment on this post. Be sure and include your link so I can visit your blog or site!
Golly, that's a lot of ways to enter and I hope it means a whole lot of entries to go through.  Get your entries going now by commenting on this post, finish all of your entries by midnight Central Time on December 15 and have fun helping us celebrate our "Happy 1st Anniversary of Tennis Fixation!"


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 5, 2009

It's Snowing On My Tennis Courts!

It's snowing here in Houston! Here are a few pics I took when I was at my club playing indoors this morning. I know its hard to tell but the blurry white stuff in the photos is the snow.

So while we previously talked about how to get out and play Cold Weather Tennis, honestly, you can't play in this stuff. So what is everyone doing to keep in tennis shape when the weather's this bad? Comment below and let me know!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 4, 2009

Playing Better Players

A few times I've mentioned that one of my teams has moved up to the Champ level. So, as amazing as it may seem to anyone who knows me and knows my tennis game, I am on a Champ team! Even I find it hard to believe. Having just finished my first season at the Champ level, I can tell you, I played PLENTY of good ladies. Players who were much better than me.

So how do you approach the match where you know you're playing a better player? How do you play when you know you may get beat?
  1. Be positive. Don't get down because you feel like you're about to take a humiliating beating. Although you probably always want to win, you know you can't always win. And when you're playing a markedly better player, you're really under no pressure to win. So remain upbeat about the situation and have a good time.
  2. Expect to be challenged.  Expect that your usual "tricks" aren't going to work with good players.  Expect that you will have to play long, hard tennis and you may have to come up with some new and different strategies.  If you're playing doubles, be SURE you're talking to your partner and coming up with a plan for every game if not for every point.  
  3. Play your "A" game. Don't dumb down your tennis. A lot of times when everything's going wrong, your tendency may be to pull back and just get the ball over the net. Better players are going to kill you if that's you're strategy. So remain aggressive and push through the feeling that you need to take it down a notch.
  4. Learn as much as you can from the experience. Take advantage of the opportunity to see what players at a higher level do that sets them apart and then see how you can use those lessons to improve your own game. For example, I've found, again and again, that the difference between the A level players I used to play and the Champ players I'm now playing is that those Champ ladies hit the ball hard and everything comes back. I did not realize how often I relaxed and eased back after hitting a winner until those winners kept being returned (in other words, they weren't winners after all!). Lesson learned - do not relax until the point is completely over!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

December 2, 2009

Quick Tennis Fix: Tennis Prevents Death!

According to the United States Professional Tennis Association, "[p]eople who participate in tennis three hours per week at a moderately vigorous intensity cut in half their risk of death from any cause . . . ." Repeat - tennis can cut your risk of death in half!

I read this on-line in the USPTA's publication Tennis - For the Health of It! How does it work? I don't know. Probably something about exercising and socializing and mental strategizing. Whatever. If it saves me from dying anytime soon, I'm all for it!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and prevent yourself from dying - play some tennis!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

November 30, 2009

Serena Williams Receives $175,000 Fine and Probation for US Open Outburst

So the conclusion of the whole Serena Williams thing is that the ITF has decided she will receive a $175,000 fine and two years of probation. Good behavior will result in her fine being reduced by half if she does not commit another major offense prior to 2011 (so her fine is really more like $87,500). Read all about it here: Serena Williams Receives $175,000 Fine and Probation for US Open Outburst - On the Baseline Tennis News.

Posted using ShareThis.

In my opinion, this doesn't seem like a very stiff penalty, all things considered monetarily for Serena. I just wonder if we will see that particular lineswoman calling lines at another Slam final.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

Winning the Warm-Up

Does this sound like your typical match warm-up? You say hello to your opponent, ask her name, immediately forget her names and open your can of balls. You start with a few minutes of mini-court (very few), move to a few minutes of ground strokes, you come in to take a few volleys and an overhead or two, your opponent comes in to take her volleys and overheads, you both hit a few serves and then - voila! - you're ready to play! This whole thing probably lasts 10 to 15 minutes at most. Probably less.

I promise you - if that is your warm-up, you are not warmed up. If you want to get a jump start on your match and your opponent, you will have to do some warming up well before you get out on the court with your opponent.

For a tennis match, you need to get your body, especially your large muscle groups, moving.  And I'm not talking about running a mile before your match.  Maybe you do some walking or light jogging on a tread mill.  If you're like me, you don't have a lot of time to do anything much before you play.  So maybe your warm up consists of just a few minutes of jogging in place, hopping around, maybe doing some jumping jacks.

You should also do some stretching.  While the jury is out on just how much benefit stretching is prior to any physical activity, I feel like it helps me to get all of the "kinks" out before the match starts. Here are some easy stretches you can perform out near the court before your match starts and no one will look at you like you're some kind of nut for doing this stuff:

First, to get your legs stretched out, try this standing hamstring stretch. Lifting your toes will help stretch out your calves.

Next, use this standing thigh stretch to get the front of your large leg muscles stretched. The net posts can be used to balance you for lots of other stretches too.

To make sure your arms are ready to reach up for serves and overheads and out for wide volleys, perform this tricep stretch on both arms.

And don't forget to stretch out your forearms and fingers so that your arms and hands feel loose and ready for soft touch volleys.

Just doing these few things before you warm up with your opponent should help immensely. If you can then find someone, like your partner, to show up early and hit with you for 15 to 20 minutes before your match, that would be even better!

For more information on warming up before a match, check out Turbo Tennis: Stretching it to the Limit but not Beyond! where these great tennis stretching photos came from.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

November 29, 2009

Serena Williams Facing Possible Fine of One Million Dollars

Here's the latest on Serena Williams from On The Baseline. Read this and then give me your reaction. Mine? Yikes!

Serena Williams Facing Possible Fine of One Million Dollars

Serena Williams

World number one Serena Williams could potentially face a fine of one million dollars because of her unsportsmanlike conduct at the US Open.

The International Tennis Federation’s Grand Slam Committee is expected to announce its decision this weekend as to whether Serena will be fined or suspended for her actions.

Among the options being discussed, according to Australia’s Courier Mail, is a fine of one million dollars or the loss of her US Open prize money and ranking points. Williams could also potentially face a suspension from the 2010 US Open.

Davydenko Wins ATP World Tour Finals

Hey - remember a few days ago when I said the ATP World Tour finals had just started and I had a photo up of all 8 of the participants? And remember when I said this: "Nikolay Dayvedenko is next and honestly, if he wasn't standing with this group of guys, would you have any idea he's a world-class tennis player? I love that about him." Well, guess who ended up winning the whole dang thing? That's right - Nikolay Davydenko! Here's the blow-by-blow account of the final by a BBC sports writer who was there:
Davydenko takes World Tour title
By Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at the O2 Arena

Nikolay Davydenko became the first Russian to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with a brilliant display against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.

The 28-year-old claimed the biggest title of his career, and a cheque for just over £900,000, with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of the US Open champion.

Davydenko, who beat Rafael Nadal, Robin Soderling and Roger Federer on his way to the final, was sharper throughout as Del Potro appeared to be feeling the after-effects of his semi-final win over Soderling the previous evening.

For the eighth successive day, around 17,000 spectators packed into the O2 Arena that has proved such a success on its debut as host to the most prestigious event outside the four Grand Slams.

Davydenko was making his second successive appearance in the final, having lost to Novak Djokovic in Shanghai last year, and the Russian was full of confidence after finally beating Federer at the 13th attempt in the semi-finals.

Making his fifth consecutive appearance at the eight-man season finale, the low-key Davydenko had another chance to land a title that would finally reflect his status in the game.

He started where he left off against Federer, all industry from the baseline and prepared to make the occasional dart to the net, while Del Potro appeared to be suffering a hangover from Saturday's late-night semi-final.

His mood was not helped when, after saving a first break point in game three he was called for a foot-fault on the second and, clearly unsettled, mishit a forehand seconds later to hand Davydenko the break at 3-1.

Del Potro was still swiping his racquet in frustration as the following game began and it was not until game seven that he got a chance to recover after Davydenko double-faulted at 30-30, but the Russian immediately regained his composure and struck a perfect forehand into the corner on the break point.

Davydenko was now in command, making 70% of first serves and flinging himself out wide to anticipate Del Potro's flat serves and favourite off-forehand into the corner, and he wrapped up the first set after 38 minutes.

The season looked to have finally caught up with Del Potro in game five of the second but he did well to fend off two break points with big serves to stay in touch.

Davydenko came through a dangerous moment in the following game when he saved two break points with a first serve and a serve-volley, but the Russian remained the player controlling the tempo.

After one of the best weeks of his career, Davydenko put together his best game of the week to break in game nine as he expertly moved Del Potro around to create space for winners on his way to a love game.

The seventh seed faced the biggest service game of his life and he came through it confidently to win in one hour 23 minutes when Del Potro netted a forehand.


Photo by Getty Images

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Tennis Fixation!

Will I be playing tennis today? Probably not. I got up this morning and did the Turkey Trot with my family. By "did" I mean I walked the 5K with my college-age daughter and 9-year-old son. Sure, I wanted to run it. But they didn't so we had some family time together by walking.

I plan on spending the rest of the day eating, watching football and thinking about the fun planned for December here at Tennis Fixation. Have a great Thanksgiving and stay tuned - you won't want to miss the holidays at Tennis Fixation!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

November 25, 2009

Become A Tennis Sub!

Almost every tennis team I've ever been on, I joined by first becoming a sub. The only team I didn't start out with as a sub was my very first team - it was my neighborhood team and I think it would have violated the deed restrictions for them to have refused me a spot (I was really, really bad).

So, if you want to play league tennis or join any kind of team, being a sub is probably inevitable. Its the best way for a team and its captain to see you play and to see how you get along with other team members. And, in most cases, becoming a sub is as easy as calling a captain up and asking to be added to the sub list. I have seen very, very few teams where someone had to "try out" to become a sub. Most captains are desperately looking for people to make sure they fill all their lines week after week. And even in cases where there is some kind of try out, this usually consists of just hitting with the captain to make sure you're close to the team's level and have the kind of personality that will fit with the team.

Become a sub - this is absolutely the best way to get on a team. And don't consider being a sub to be beneath you. Think about it - you play when you want with who you want because you can always say no. But don't say no. Because today you're a sub, tomorrow you're the reliable sub filling in for the team member who got injured and the next day, you're the great player that the team needs as a regular member. And if you're looking to move to a higher level team, becoming a sub ensures that you'll get the challenging match play you need to make that leap up.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved