Q. I am 14 and a tournament player but I like to play doubles twice a week at my club, which is an event meant for adults. Some of the other players are at the same skill level as me and there are some that are a lot better. When I play with them I tend to get the feeling they don’t want me there, and when I miss a shot I tend to let balls go with the fear of making a mistake which makes my playing even worse. So I was wondering if you had any ideas in helping me be more comfortable in playing with adults.
A. Just let it rip. Be polite and respectful, but do not compromise your own game to please some adults. If they do not want you to play, then they can address this with the club professional. Once you are out there though, play your best.
By the way, this is one of the best- and rarely discussed- aspects of our sport. There are not many other sports where kids get to socially interact during competition with elders. It is a great learning experience. Sometime adults can be real pains in the neck, but they are not all bad.