Tennis Ace of the Month Ernie Bey
Tennis Ace July 2016
Where were you born and raised?
Pittsburgh,Pa and the Homewood community
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?
15 years and i have served as the Sergeant of Arms for many years of those years.
At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?
I think around the age of 20, I was visiting a friend in Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. A couple of fine young ladies came up to us and asked, “Do you brothers play tennis? “ Of course we said, “Yes.” But I had never played tennis in my life. The rest is history.
Did you play for any school teams? If so, what teams, when and at what schools?
What level tennis player are you now? What was your highest ranking?
I am 4.0 which has been my highest USTA ranking.
Yes. Normally I just play HPTC Wrap Up and Dom Costa’s Mid-Summer Classic
Do you play in tournaments now? If so, why? If not, why not?
Dom Costa’s Mid-Summer Classic. I like to support my local tennis friends and clubs.
Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play? Why?
I prefer to play singles because I like the challenge of singles and hate to mess up a play when I play doubles. I’m too hard on myself and don’t want to disappoint my partner.
Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.
Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal. I like Borg’s demeanor. He was always so poised and a cerebral player. I like Nadal’s fiery attitude and his never say die attitude. He plays every point like it’s his last.
What tennis player would you most like to meet or have met? Why? What would you ask them?
I would like to meet Arthur Ashe. I like his stewardship of the game. I admire his historic presence in the tennis world which was profound and he mad an impact. He did so many firsts. I’d ask him how it was being the first in those early tennis tournaments. Then I’d ask: What were you challenges off of the court?
What is it about the game that you like? Why?
I like the competitiveness of the game and that it is a constant chess match which allows you to find out your tennis opponents strengths and weaknesses.
Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?
No, there is nothing that I don’t like about the game. I like every aspect of it.
If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?
I’d like to see more of the old school tennis etiquette come back to the game instead of the brassiness that is becoming more prevalent. There seems to be more of a brassiness that is boastful and sometimes rather rude being displayed by some players.
What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?
The strongest aspect of my tennis game is my backhand. It has a tenaciousness to it. And I like to make my opponent hit one more ball. I would say my strength is my mental toughness.
What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?
I’d like to improve my composure and control of emotions on the court.
Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind? Please share the circumstances of that match with us.
A match that stands out for me is when I played at the Dallas Street courts in Homewood. The better block tennis tournament. There was a match when I played a guy won the first set and was leading me 5-3 in the second set. But one point changed the whole match around. He hit a drop shot and I was deep in the corner. He turned his back began to walk away, as he fixed his strings and knowing he had hit a clear winner and won the point. Much to everyone’s surprise, I got to the ball and hit a lob. When it dropped in, the crowd gave this tremendous roar. He never recovered from that point and I went on to win the match. Months later, I was at 3 Rivers Arts Festival and his wife came up to me and punched me. She said, “My husband just pointed you out and said that you are the guy that beat him that day. That loss made him cantankerous for weeks and caused him to lose 5 pounds, What other sports do you or have you participated in? I ran track – hurdles and pole vaulting were my events
What is your favorite type of music?
Name your favorite musical artist/group?
Earth Wind and Fire
What is your favorite food?
What can always be found in your refrigerator?
Potato salad and cole slaw
What is your favorite vacation spot?
What would most others be surprised to know about you?
I’m very critical of myself.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Greed. Even though people have more, they want more and are never satisfied.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I recently retired from the gas company after 37 years and now have more time to play tennis.