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Daily Egyptian

Fashion is my only future in tennis

By Aaron Graff

The only possible career in tennis for me is creating a clothing line for players.

This week, I challenged sophomore Jonny Rigby to four games of tennis. In the total of four games combined, I scored just one point and that was because of a double fault on Rigby.

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Coach Dann Nelson said there is a possibility my bright yellow polo and brighter red shorts might have just been enough to distract Rigby on those two serves. Even Rigby said all points are the same no matter how they’re scored, so I did better than I thought I would.

Rigby has been playing tennis since he was seven years old, and I have only played tennis a few times in seventh grade gym, apart from my intense games of table tennis against my friends and family.

Like those table tennis matches, my friends were not on my side for my contest against Rigby. Two of my coworkers stood on his side of the court, telling him to put as much power as he could into every serve.

The joke’s on them though; they would have never scored a point against him. Even if he only let me score because of pity, he swore it wasn’t. It had to be the outfit. Rigby said my getup was a 10 out of 10, and he would wear it.

Rigby was a four-sport athlete in high school. He was ranked number one in tennis in his county for the under-18 and sixth in all of England.

He had a 6-0 record in singles against Missouri Valley Conference opponents and a 17-8 overall record as a freshman. He was a member of the All-Conference team.

In the fall, he won the MVC doubles championship with freshman Michael Kianicka, and was the runner-up for the singles championship.

Nelson said the team trains roughly 20 hours a week, and he wants tennis to be a year round sport for his athletes.

I trained by juggling tennis balls and playing the air guitar with the racket… It wasn’t enough.

Nelson said I would need a year straight of training with roughly 50 hours a week to even have a shot at beating Rigby. Nelson said his only surprise from our match was that I actually scored a point, but once again, I’m crediting the outfit.

Since I played Rigby, he is 4-1 in individual sets and 1-0 in doubles. Nelson said he thinks Rigby has a lot of confidence going forward in his season.

Rigby said his serve is not his strongest part of his game, but I only got my racket on two of them. I was surprised when I actually returned one, but the other one shot off onto the other courts, where others were.

Nelson said I was trying to hit too many backhands. That’s my strong part of my game… in table tennis. It doesn’t work the same in actual tennis.

Rigby’s family has had more success in rugby than tennis. His grandfather made it to the professional level with the Wigan Warriors. His mom didn’t really want him playing rugby because of it being dangerous, and she noticed his tennis talents.

Losing tennis was embarrassing, but I am grateful I didn’t have to play rugby against him, though I would rock a rugby sweater.

I don’t know if there will be a next time for me, but Rigby plays this weekend against Eastern Illinois University at home.

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected] dailyegyptian.com, @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269

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The student news site of Southern Illinois University