Aileen is back talking to us about her 18+ 4.0 teams USTA National Championships experience.

Aileen took up tennis as an adult (starting at 2.5) and fell in love with the sport. She has played on over 100 USTA teams but this was her first experience at the National Championships. Listen to her story now!

A Transcript of Our Conversation with Aileen:

Carolyn: 0:06
Hi, this is Carolyn and I’m here with Erin, and this is part two of our episode with Aileen about her national championship experience. Aileen is 53 years old and started as a 2.5 and made it to the 4.0 national championship. If you’d like to hear more about her experience making it to the national championships, please check out part one, but here is part two.

Erin: 0:27
We like to do a lot of guessing on what’s going to happen with ratings and people getting bumped up. I was even when you guys were going through that experience, I was even texting some USTA people saying it looks like a bunch of them might get bumped, even if you weren’t blowing people out. You were playing the people at the top end of 4.0, I felt like you did a little research on actual percentages of people that bumped on teams and stuff like that. I think this is really interesting for people.

Aileen: 0:59
It is. It’s like for me personally everybody kept saying, oh, you’re going to bump, though you won’t be on the teams next year, you’re going to bump. You’re going to bump because you guys are going so far. I was winning, I won a lot, but I didn’t blow people out. Honestly, there were a lot of matches that I should have won cleanly, that were pretty tight, because I started off really slow this season. Having said that, I went and did some research because I’m like I really don’t think so, because I have no plan if that were to happen.

Aileen: 1:30
I looked at 2022.

Erin: 1:31
Nobody wants you once you get bumped.

Carolyn: 1:32
Yeah, exactly, especially the four-five. Exactly Nobody wants college people.

Erin: 1:37
Nobody wants a baby, four-five Exactly. Let’s be honest, no kidding.

Aileen: 1:42
You’re better when you’re top of the food team somewhere.

Erin: 1:44
Yes, always better to be the best of your current rating, exactly.

Aileen: 1:51
I went back and I looked at 2022, the top five teams at Nationals. I looked up all their players. Number one in 2022, they had 22 players registered and only six bumped. Likewise, then, 19 players, only four bumped. Okay, 17 players, only two bumped. No-transcript place at nationals and then. So then I read just for grins I did, I didn’t bump which didn’t.

Aileen: 2:24
But I went and did the same thing for 2023 and with the exception of the Texas team, which that is a whole podcast in itself, but they only had 10 players regent. That’s a whole podcast. We’ll just leave it at that. Yeah, but they finished first and they were also, they were all.

Carolyn: 2:41
They were all self. Or was there one that was in a one computer and there were?

Aileen: 2:46
10 of them only, and they only played one other team and a tiny yeah that’s just, but we’d love to have you on the podcast listening Contact us. How did that all go down? Because it’s, but yeah. But for instance, florida finished second and they were Tough, tough, tough. 25 of their players were registered, only six bumped, you know. And then, like for us we had 15, because that’s our roster limitation registered, only 13 went to nationals for yeah, so that’s kind of.

Erin: 3:23
I mean, I’m not good at math, but those percentages seem about right like six of 25 for 17 or 15, I don’t know. It’s probably like a, I don’t know what the percentage is about a quarter yeah.

Carolyn: 3:34
I was gonna guess you’re not everyone bumps no, but you thought that too, yeah we had on someone that one nationals at 35, amanda yes, amanda at both 18.

Erin: 3:47
Over and 40 over, same year, two weeks apart, to both of her teams, and they had a couple double bumps. And I did look when you guys, I did look. I think the Texas team had a couple, one or two double bumps, but I don’t think the rest of, I don’t think there were that many.

Aileen: 4:03
I think that’s a pretty rare situation, especially going from there may have been a double bump from the team we played in finals at states. She was, I think she was rated 30 and she bumped a four.

Erin: 4:17
I was in session.

Carolyn: 4:19
Phenomenal right.

Aileen: 4:20
I mean, we immediately saw that we start picking on her, and then we realized that should not have happened you mean you’re hitting the ball more to her. The other girl is very aggressive and crazy at the net like, yeah, we went into do with her, we want to pick on the three yeah. I know that that did not turn our way, but Well, tell us about your nationals experience.

Carolyn: 4:40
how does again? What place did you finish? What were the matches like? What were the line calls like?

Aileen: 4:45
Yeah, well, I will say, for both sectionals as well as nationals, the people in the play was fantastic. I mean competitive but nice people. There was like one or two maybe I think it’s sectionals somebody has something Not so nice about, but overall I mean all my matches, the people. They were competitive but very friendly, very nice, very fair, no issues with any line calls. Wow, it was great. At nationals, the same thing. We ended up finishing fifth overall. That’s fantastic.

Aileen: 5:18
We missed semifinals by one court and actually it’s kind of funny when we played one of the sections that came down to a One of the courts came down to a third set breaker and I think they ended up finishing at 1816. Wow, and those people and I have it on my phone here the husband of his wife was playing in that match and he actually sent our captain a message afterwards saying just how much that they enjoyed playing us. They were really rooting for us. And he did say there was a call that everybody on the sidelines thought our team played it but thought it was out, and he said his whole team includes what everybody thought it was out and that would want us that court.

Erin: 6:08
I know that, but it was that close, but so nice that he followed up.

Aileen: 6:14
But just everybody there was great we had. I can shot them out. I guess that was Hawaii they were the nice team ever I wanted them to.

Carolyn: 6:24
We want to get Hawaii and you know what?

Aileen: 6:26
all of they were all fantastic. They were lovely people.

Erin: 6:29
That’s awesome shout out to Hawaii yeah, shout out to Hawaii.

Aileen: 6:32
They were lovely. But yeah, and there was another team that we played that had some antics. They had a whole group of people right up on the fence, like literally with fingers hanging in the fence, and I didn’t hear. I sat right behind them because I have my own issues going on which we can get to. I said, literally in the gravel behind them, I was told to watch out for scorpions because it was in Arizona and the people playing even turned around saying not now, mom, not now. So they had to have been coaching somehow, but I couldn’t hear him sitting behind them, right, and I couldn’t really stand up at that point and they said not now, mom.

Carolyn: 7:10
So, yeah, mom so her mom.

Aileen: 7:12
She wasn’t that young, okay, I mean it was older people. It wasn’t their teammate standing up, but they did that and text to get started totally took our players Out of. I mean, just throwing the ball, you need to get that. It’s on their side and you can get it. They had to call a ref and I mean it was just to play. Sportsmanship was bad, yeah, and there was another one that one of our singles players had that, but I think she was just clueless. She was a young little thing, like she was a teenager, I think still, and her dad was there and she wanted to go to her dad because I think they’re used to doing that into the bathroom break and our person had to keep saying come on this way or come on, you know. She was sweet, I think right, just kind of clueless and Kind of out of her element, I think. But happened to be the same team, but that was the only, I would say, nasty, yeah, but the overall team, overall, I mean the line calls the people the gal. I guess we could get into my issue.

Aileen: 8:13
In the first set of the first match, first day, the first everything, we’re on the court and we’re at 40 love against this team and I go for backhand volley and what ended up being? I ruptured attended in my foot and broke a little bone down there. I didn’t know how bad it was at the time. List say they won that game and I think it’s bad. I think it’s bad, but you don’t make it, walk it off. And I ended up playing the whole match. We want to rupture tendon? Yeah, but I didn’t know it was ruptured at the time. I just thought you know you could tweak something but stretch it so much and it was 104 degrees.

Aileen: 8:58
My juice 104 degrees and I know they say oh yes, but it’s a dry heat, but you know. So we’re going to. My every game counts is the first game of the whole thing. If it comes down to games and we’re down by one game, I would feel horrible and we’re up 40 love. My partner was serving bombs, which is why I got somebody ballies, but I am. So we ended up working it out.

Aileen: 9:22
I figured out that I couldn’t you know what I couldn’t, couldn’t do, like I I hit a lot of topspin. And I could not hit any topspin because I couldn’t rotate on my left foot. I could kind of put straight pressure on it, but that’s it so serving. I couldn’t jump into my serve, I just kind of had to pitter pat it. So basically, what ended up happening? I ended up walking kind of up to the service line every point and kind of stand in there and if it came to me I did it, if it didn’t, it didn’t you know, and kind of work that way, but there was no running that could happen did a couple hops on one foot.

Aileen: 9:55
Anyway, we were down for love in no time. We trying to figure it out, like literally hitting things over the fence, and it was a, it was a mess. My partner who of the two of us I would say, I probably am the runner of the two of us, but, um, she had to run a lot 104 degrees, and she was a trooper and then she started getting heat sickness or heat exhaustion or whatever. So she’s like I’m gonna have to throw up. Yeah, anyway, we ended up coming back to 4-4. We ended up losing the first set 6-4, and we lost the second set 6-3. But, um, we’re like at that point I’ll take it, yeah so we’re done.

Aileen: 10:32
I knew I was done for this. I knew I was done for everything. I mean, there was no question of that in my mind. It is worth shouting out the people that I played. Yeah, um, one girl in particular was really strong. Um, she had had many overheads that she could have gone right at me because, mind you, I walked to the net every single time, right, and she chose to go back to my partner or try, and she missed a couple in the net. Yep, and she, but she purposefully did not win. Actually she should have, especially when we’re tied 4-4 in the first set. I mean, honestly, I’d love to say I wouldn’t have gone right now I was like at that point.

Aileen: 11:13
I mean, you know if you’re killing him. It was obvious that I couldn’t move right, but um, but yeah, but she didn’t and she took the high road and so I reached out to her on Facebook. I found her on Facebook and I sent her a message and she sent me a message back saying you know, just saying, hey, I wasn’t faking it apparently right yeah, um, I did it good apparently, so yeah was that really disappointing?

Carolyn: 11:39
I mean because I remember you were practicing a lot beforehand. Yeah, you, you know you paid to go to nationals, you’re part of this team and to get hurt the very first match, the very first game. Yeah, I mean, how that you know?

Aileen: 11:53
it sucked, but you know, this is what I’m thankful for. I knew I was done and I’m just so thankful that I didn’t have that. Oh, maybe I could or maybe I couldn’t, because that’s where it would have been really, really hard. Do I pull out because my partner was? I mean, how disappointed was she she? We played everything together and then now she didn’t have her partner, so she ended up not playing a lot. She did get one match with somebody at the end, so she got another match in and unfortunately it happened to be the nasty people. The one match she got she drew the people that wanted to do all these mental games.

Aileen: 12:33
Right, she’s strong though she is and she’s great, but, um, it was all good, but it’s like her experience. I feel like dampered because yeah, you know I went, but there was, you know, at least I knew I couldn’t do anything and I was able to cheer for everybody so I could watch a lot of great tennis and I didn’t have the pressure you know I have one last question.

Carolyn: 12:56
So you did make it to nationals as a 53 year old 18 plus that’s that’s still blows my mind. I think that’s fantastic. What was your most memorable moment this past year?

Aileen: 13:06
gosh, I don’t know. I mean things that pop into my head. It’s like that final match at sectionals, the final match at states, that final match when we won it. I mean those really do stick out because it’s like it’s all coming down to one court. Actually, I believe at sectionals it didn’t come down to one court. I think once we won it they actually retired the two that were on there, um, just because it was again so hot that they were. They were spent. Yeah, spent, and or maybe it was. They do that in college?

Aileen: 13:42
Yeah, I think that was finals, yeah exactly I love that they were up, they started doing it.

Erin: 13:47
Yes, yes, if your team wins, you can just retire. If you know you want enough courts, you can retire. I love watching that in college, because then the other courts like immediately celebrate with them Right, exactly. So just like college, and I think that’s how it was.

Aileen: 14:02
Well, and we also had a gal who did not do well with the heat, yeah, and she was out there doing her personal best, yeah, and once it was secured and everybody yelled across, we got it we got it, or whatever she was like we’re done, they kind of threw everything up and then everybody celebrated.

Aileen: 14:20
So that was good, but it was great that it was just every time there was no expectation. There was no expectation for states. I think we kind of expected we could get to states. I think we would have been disappointed at that point if we didn’t have a good showing at states. I think we would have been disappointed, but I don’t think in any way did we expect to win any of it. And then we did so well at national.

Carolyn: 14:45
Go all the way.

Aileen: 14:45
I mean so close to some eyes.

Carolyn: 14:47
That’s great. Thanks again to Aline for coming on the podcast. If anyone listening has a cool or crazy story from their national championship experience, we would love to hear it. Please message us on our website, which is SecondServePodcastcom. Thanks so much for listening and hope to see you on the courts soon.

Past Episodes with Aileen:

Aileen has been generous with her time (and tennis stories) and has been a guest several times. Here are some other episodes she’s joined us on: