Tennis Ace of the Month Marc Pollock
Tennis Ace October 2016
Where were you born and raised?
Right here in the Burgh.
If you aren’t from Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, what brought you to Pittsburgh, PA?
If I weren’t from Pittsburgh, I’d want to come here for the friendliest people around.
How long have you been associated with the Highland Park Tennis Club? In what capacities?
Member for at least 10 years and playing on those courts for almost 30 years.
At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?
At age 23 at a wedding reception in Connecticut I saw 80 year old men playing on grass in long white pants with vintage racquets, and I said , ”That’s for me, something you can do and love forever”.
Did you play for any school teams? If so, what teams, when and at what schools?
Not tennis, but baseball from age 8, through high school and then college teams.
What level tennis player are you now? What was your highest ranking?
When I was playing matches and tournaments, I was rated a 4.5. I’m probably still a 4.5 ball striker, but not that good a match player any more since I haven’t played competitively for 20 years.
Do you play in tournaments now? If so, why? If not, why not?
No. I now mostly crush the ball for an hour or more to reduce stress and keep me out of my psychotherapist’s office.
Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play? Why?
One on one, mano a mano is my game now.
Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.
Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer, both for their incredible talent and for their gentlemanly demeanor at all times.
What tennis player would you most like to meet or have met? Why? What would you ask them?
Roger Federer, and I’d ask him if he’d hit with me.
What is it about the game that you like? Why?
It’s an incredible combination of physical and mental skills. I see it as infinitely pleasurable physical chess.
Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?
I think the “win/lose is everything” mentality really shortchanges the pure beauty of the game.
If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?
What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?
My forehand is my strongest shot, followed at a distance by my slice backhand. My serve was very strong when I was playing matches, because it was a natural follow-up to the pitching motion I had used for so many years.
What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?
I’d like a strong topspin backhand (like Stan Wawrinka’s!), just for the pure pleasure of hitting one like that.
Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind? Please share the circumstances of that match with us.
About 20 years ago, I played a very good young doctor in the quarterfinals of the Wrap Up tournament. In that match I was really in the zone and could do almost no wrong. I even served and volleyed, coming to the net for the first (and last) time to finish off points.
Aside from tennis, in what other athletic activities do you participate?
Speed workouts at the gym, and marathon walks with our new 1 year old puppy.
What is your favorite type of music?
Name your favorite musical artist/group?
Nina Simone, after whom we have named two family dogs (Art Pepper, Mose Allison and Eddie Harris).
What is your favorite food?
Jack Daniels sweet bourbon, salmon, and my world famous creole shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo.
What can always be found in your refrigerator?
Wild caught salmon, omelet ingredients, Pellegrino water and Vitamin water.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
What would most others be surprised to know about you?
I do five crossword puzzles every Sunday.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Eliminate the notion that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe, is an infidel and needs to be eradicated.
Is there anything you would like to add?
The Highland Park courts are an incredible venue for terrific tennis and multicultural camaraderie– a great model for the way the world at large should be.