When you're a sports psychologist, everyone expects your mental
game to be the one factor that lifts you to that higher level come
crunch time. For Jeff Greenwald, who has written a book about
mental strategies in tennis, it was actually a change in his
physical game that pushed him to his second world championship last
week in San Diego.
Greenwald won the 45-and-over division of the 2012
Federation Seniors World
Championships with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over fellow American Carl
Clark. Greenwald, a licensed family therapist who specializes in
sports psychology, also won the 35s at the 2001 world championships
The biggest difference in Greenwald's game at the recent world
championships was a more attacking style of play. Greenwald said
his change in strategy was aided by lessons from San Rafael's Paul
Cohen, who used to coach John McEnroe. Greenwald also worked with
Rod Heckleman, general manager of Mount Tam Racquet Club.
"Paul made it clear that I needed to create a path to the net,"
Greenwald said. "Rod reinforced the importance of using a short
court. That made a huge difference."
Greenwald, who works with athletes from all sports, is the
author of "The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for
Fearless Performance." While he credits his most recent world
championship with improved net play, the 45-year-old from Corte
Madera still relied on mental toughness to claim honors.
"I have hyper-awareness of the traps," said Greenwald, who ranks
No. 23 in the world for his age group. "I see potholes before I
step in them. I have a lot of tools to draw from."
He needed to dig deep in the finals, falling behind 4-1 in the
second set, before getting back on track to avoid losing a set in
the entire tournament. Greenwald's semifinal victory was also
impressive, defeating former No. 1-ranked Karl Hale of Canada 6-4,
Not bad for a guy whose top world ranking on the ATP tour was
"My results now are better than when I was younger," Greenwald
said. "I have improved confidence and the ability to not let nerves
steer the boat."
Playing in the 50s was Polo Cowan, Mill Valley Tennis Club
manager and pro. Cowan upset fifth-seeded Marek Lubas of Poland
6-3, 6-3 in the first round before falling to Jacques Hervet of
France 6-0, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in the second round.
Shibu Lal of Novato represented his home country of Bangladesh
in the 35s. He defeated Andrew Makarevich of Russia 6-2, 6-3 before
falling in the second round to American John Chanfreau 6-2, 7-6
(13) in one of the longest tiebreakers of the tournament.
Geoff Martinez of San Rafael represented the U.S. in both the
team and individual tournaments. In the world team competition,
Martinez helped the U.S. men's 55s team take second to Australia.
Martinez won two of three matches, partnering with Ross Person to
go 1-1 in doubles and posting a 6-2, 6-2 victory over South
Africa's Bobby Favish in singles.
Martinez reached the second round of the individual singles
tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Finn Rasmussen of Denmark,
then dropped a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 heartbreaker to Andrew Rae of
Martinez and Tim Anderson of San Rafael advanced to the third
round in 55s doubles. Martinez moved up to No. 6 in the 55s world
doubles rankings, while Anderson is No. 34. Anderson lost in the
opening round of 55s singles to Heinz Kueppers-Anhamm of Germany
Tracy Houk, a former pro at Marin Tennis Club, won her singles
match in the finals of women's 50s team competition, but the U.S.
lost to Australia 2-1. The only team victory for the U.S. came in
Representing New Zealand, Rolling Hills pro Pauline Hanson went
2-1 in the women's 50s team competition. She had a huge victory
with Penelope Smith in group play against Australia, prevailing
6-1, 6-3 against Ros Balodis and Leanne Swaysland, who ended up
winning the women's 50s doubles title in the individual
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