Tennis Ace of the Month – Joe Hall
Where were you born and raised?
If you aren’t from Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, what brought you to Pittsburgh, PA?
How long have you been associated with the Highland Park Tennis Club? In what capacities?
I’ve been associated with the club since the club’s beginning.
At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?
I started playing tennis around the age of 35.
Did you play for any school teams? If so, what teams, when and at what schools?
No, i did not
What level tennis player are you now? What was your highest ranking?
I’d say am a 2.5 now. Years ago my highest ranking was a 3.0
Do you play in tournaments now? If so, why? If not, why not?
I do not play in tournaments now. I play for fun and exercise now. Years ago I enjoyed playing in the NAACP tournament with Bill Torrell. We had many good matches and wins.
Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play? Why?
I prefer playing doubles because you have less court to cover, I enjoy playing different strategies in doubles and it’s fun. Years ago we had family tournaments. My wife and I use to beat our kids. My daughter Cyeda and Tony tried hard but couldn’t beat us. Once we threw a point to let them win. I had to so my wife wouldn’t divorce me.
Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.
Rafael Nadal is one of my favorites. I’m in awe of the way he hits and his crazy top spin. Venus Williams is also one of my favorites. Her speed was amazing. If they had worked on her second serve and her coming to the net, she’d be awesome.
If you could ask each of them a question, what would the questions be?
I’d ask Nadal, “What is your training regimen?” “How do you get side spin and topspin on the forehand with that crazy curving ball?” My question for Venus is, “Why don’t you attack the net more when you have your opponent pinned?”
What is it about the game that you like? Why?
I like the exercise I get from playing tennis and the discipline which helps to keep a mental thing working for me. I’m always plotting.
Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?
If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?
There is nothing I want to change.
What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?
My shot variety and spin are strong. My forehand is strong and I can flatten or add topspin with it.
What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?
In a different part of my life, I’d like to improve my racquet preparation and foot work.
Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind? Please share the circumstances of that match with us.
Years ago I played doubles with Bob Gibbs, who is a really good player. I had taken some medication and had a bad reaction to the meds. It affected my lungs and made me run out of breath easily. We had a good shot of winner that match, if it wasn’t for that.
Aside from tennis, in what other athletic activities do you participate?
Years ago, my main sport was baseball. I was a very good pitcher and played for Tuskegee University.
What is your favorite type of music?
Smooth jazz and some popular music. I was once in a doo wop group at Tuskegee. We played at various venues, including down in New Orleans where we sung for gatherings and at different clubs.
Name your favorite musical artist/group?
What can always be found in your refrigerator or cupboard?
Peanut butter. My wife and I use a food processor and ground our own peanuts and make roasted peanut butter without salt.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
None in particular. I don’t do a lot of traveling.
If there is anything that you would change about the world in which we live today, what would it be?
A lot of what has been taught religious wise might be incorrect. Daily treatment of man in a fair way is needed. We need to truly consider others and want the best for them. Religion should be used as a unifying source as opposed to one that divides and persecutes people.
What would most others be surprised to know about you?
I like to consider others even when I might not come out on top. I’ve had such good luck in life, I like to spread the joy. For example, I will spend my money in my neighborhood with local merchants even if the price is higher. I want our merchants to succeed. I worked with Duquesne Light for 36 years. I enjoyed all of it thru the last 8 years. I started off as an instrument engineer and move up to a principal engineer.
Is there anything you would like to add?