King Of The Court 3

     To think King of the Court is only a week away.  Took some time between salt baths and various massage therapies to consider the initial draw this morning.  Right off I noticed the competition committee created a Royal Group, consisting of the Royal Court of KOtC2.  King The Todd has been spotted recently in Hawaii, The Four Seasons Resort in Irving, and the Mellow Mushroom in Downtown McKinney.  If his recent shoulder surgery, or life in general, was bothering him, he sure didn’t show it.  He looks confident.  At all times, regardless of task or perceptions of others.  He lives a different life, above all.  It is an honor to hang with him when given the chance.  He had people following him, but they all kept their distance.  I figured they worked for him.  They bring him beers and complement his attire.  He acknowledges, then waives them away.  He does this all without seeming rude.  It is amazing.  Anyway, he will be tested very early with Prince Frank Friday.  King The Todd better eat a breakfast bar.  Frank Friday was the single most destructive player in the field last year.  If given a chance at the King draw last time, he might have won it.  His consistent and intense game will test King The Todd and his vocal joy and frustration could give him a mental edge.  Odds are against it, but maybe.  Duke Joe Vita, who is sponsoring the trophy’s this time around, has been seen in newly purchased attire, made from modern fabrics that make you cold when it’s hot and make you hot when it’s cold.  His plantar fascia injury is still bothering him a bit, but his rocket forehands will test any opponent.  To round out the morning Royal Group, Earl Leo Escario, the only 2 time member of the Royal Court, will bring his inspired game and American flag bandana.  During our mahut last summer, in 105 heat, I believed I was going to die.  I didn’t, but Leo, a marathon runner, took me down 8-2 to win the Prince title.  He always brings game.
     Brent James, former King James, headlines my morning group.  Hell, I think he’s 40 now.  Maybe he starts giving up some points or double faulting.  Any decline in his game would be welcome.  Last summer he mouletted me 10-0 in KOtC1.  Haven’t been kicked like that since Mesquite high school freshman Hernando Ledezma gave me a reality check regarding my college tennis prospects back in 1987.  1-6, 0-6.  I went on to quit tennis for 10 years, emerging to find complicated and nauseating USTA leagues with old guys in short shorts telling you are a 4.5 and can’t play in the 4.0 group even though you figure you’re about as good or bad as everyone else.  The USTA, where tanking, sandbagging, cheating, and elitism thrive.  And you have to pay a fee.  To have this organization leading the tennis effort and infecting the tennis culture in the U.S. has produced predictable results.  No mind weak American player could hang with anyone in the Top 10 right now.  Only Isner has made us proud in the past 10 years.  Of course the Williams sisters are holding up their end, but we have their daddy to thank for that.  The Bolivian player, Sergio Oporto is back, although it’s doubtful he followed through on his promise to purchase a ball machine and really hit the court after the November KOtC.  We’ll see.  The Young Chuck Cernosek is also in my group and out to avenge his loss to Jared Keck, the 5thgrader that took him down last summer.  As a 4th grader.  Chuck was disappointed when I told him Jared was not playing, but he looked strong when we practiced the other day.  His was getting all his dinks in with his Prince Magnesium racquet. 
     Perhaps the most anticipated participant in KOtC3 is the headliner of the 3rd morning group, Kamran Mir.  Reports of exotic training techniques and mental preparation are very intriguing.  He is either Afghan or Peruvian, maybe both.  He will not go quietly and is a trendy pick to surprise King The Todd in the afternoon.  He’ll have to take down Bobby Pierson first.  Using strictly demo racquets, Bobby has refined his game through the rigors of the Isner Scoring Method.  He is a bulldog on the court and will not be intimidated by Mir.  Rueben Decoud is a very steady player with fierce eyes.  He will know what to expect in KOtC3 after his experience last November and his game is well suited to the format.  The huge man with the huge serve from the north woods of Michigan is back as well.  Russ Fires tells me he’s ready every time I’ve asked.  He looks serious.  Although he’s struggled with tennis elbow, dropping out of KOtC was never considered. 
     Just found out from Keck, the tournament administrator, that Mike Mabe from the Rangers, pulled a Roddick.  No shame, and I’m sure there is a legitimate explanation, but disappointing as well.  Anyone know a 1st seed type player (a true 5.0)?   He was coming for King The Todd and Brent James specifically and was heard to call them both ‘spares’ and ‘punks’.  Shocking.  Well he did give us ample notice and it is appreciated.  Al Oliver, Charlie Hough, Julio Franco, or Buddy Bell never Roddicked ( http://isnerscoringmethod.blogspot.com/2012/09/anatomy-of-roddick.html ).  Maybe Billy Vita.  Now, mainly a coach, but a potential sub if he’s not on the road in Chicago or Billings or somewhere.   Even if we get BV, this still leaves Jason Keck, tournament administrator, a clear path to the King afternoon draw.  Keck’s perfect forehand and newly enhanced two handed backhand give him an edge as long as he can hold up in the heat.  Last summer in KOtC1 he had to pull out in the afternoon due to cramps.  He followed that up in KOtC2 with the before mentioned destruction at the hands of Frank Friday and dropped a mahut to me, 2-8.  He sees the opportunity for redemption.  He’s been listening to a lot of early Metallica lately.  Mike Zhaung is back and understands the opportunity and format.  Vito Nquyen is a relative unknown and could be out of his element.  His background is shrouded in mystery and word is he learned the game from a secretive society in either Malaysia or Galveston .  I don’t know about all that, but we will all be ready.  Bring water, bring nutrition, bring a can of balls, bring cigarettes if you want.  KOtC3, June 14, 8am, Eagles Landing.  Mahuut!!!!!

*please consider leaving your pre-tournament thoughts in the Player Testimonial section of the KOtC website ... http://kingofcourt.blogspot.com

Group 1
Brent James
Paul Gorman
Sergio Oporto         
Chuck Cernosek

King The Todd
Prince Frank Friday
Duke Joe Vita
Earl Leo Escario

Group 3
Kamran Mir
Bobby Pierson
Rueben Decoud
Russ Fires

Group 4
Mike Mabe
Jason Keck
Mike Zhuang
Vito Nguyen