02 May 2014

Top 55 men's players keep to seeding

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneMark Vines (USA) and Glenn Busby (AUS)

Frequently a tennis draw, especially one that boasts 128 players, will go topsy turvy regarding the results.

But on some occasions, when its time for the final, its found that the draw has gone to form with the top two seeds reaching the finals. And thats just how its worked out this week with the Mens 55 singles competition at the 34th ITF Seniors World Individual Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

On a hot and humid morning at BallenIsles Country Club, top seeded Glenn Busby of Australia and second-seeded Daniel Waldman of USA secured their berths in the final.

The 57-year-old Busby, the Director of Tennis at the Kooyong Tennis Academy, the Melbourne club that used to host the Australian Open, trounced eighth-seeded Mark Vines of USA 62 62. An avid competitor and better sportsman, Vines only could pay Busby a compliment when walking off the court: The better man won today, thats for sure.

Busby is an expert in the art of taking a player out of their game and capably playing his own game to work a win. Busby forced Vines to hit backhands not his strongest suit and managed to capably run around his own backhand to orchestrate many lethal forehands.

For me, it wasnt necessarily playing my best tennis but I had to be disciplined with how I wanted to play,Busby said. I played a certain way and stuck to it. Hes got a great forehand so I had to make sure I hit 90 percent to his backhand. I definitely tried to use my strengths to his weaknesses and today it worked.

In the other semifinal, 58-year-old Daniel Waldman, a high-powered Washington attorney specializing in securities enforcement and litigation at Arnold & Porter LLP where hes a partner, put up a 64 62 win over 18th-seeded Luiz Penna of Brazil.

Its been a long, long two weeks but Im getting a little better used to the heat, but the humidity and the heat is tough,Waldman said. The balls are heavier so its a lot of work. Im very fortunate to get there (to the finals) because its a big draw.

For Busby, tennis is a way of life and the ticket to his making a living.

Boasting a Bachelors in Applied Science - Physical Education and a diploma in Sport Psychology, Busby spent one year jaunting around the world playing tennis which resulted in a career high ranking of No. 326.

Once he stopped playing the pros he started coaching seriously and even lived in Boca Raton, Fla., for two years where he worked with some well-known pros: Aaron Krickstein, Vince Spadea and Marlene Weingartner.

I probably learned more about tennis from those two years than I have in my 30-40 years of coaching,Busby said. I learned more that teaching the elite players is no different than teaching the juniors and its the same concept that they need to focus on. To me, now, its more about teaching how to play the matches than it being a matter of how to hit the ball. Its actually a problem worldwide that we have so many kids that hit the ball so well but they dont know how to play tennis.

His wife longed to go home to Melbourne and thats where theyve remained. And while the majority of his efforts is in coaching he still makes sure to carve out time to play important international events such as the ITF Senior Worlds.

I have a very big coaching program back home but I love the competition,Busby said. Thats the thing. I enjoy the technical part of playing and I love the travel. I wasnt able to do it when I was growing up because my parents didnt have a cent so I just traveled when I needed to, but I appreciate it so much more now when I can travel and see the world.

As for Waldman, he played at Harvard while studying for his undergraduate degree and then went on to law school at Columbia University. Initially out of school, Waldman teamed with Tim Mayotte to play doubles on the pro tour, but his father kept emphasizing that practicing law would be a more stable profession for the long haul.

All that said, Waldman never lost his zeal for tennis and has played at the top of the senior game. And his life in the legal realm allows him to look at tennis with an appropriate mindset.

It gives you a perspective when you have a lot of stress at work,Waldman said. When youre out here and you put stress on yourself because you want to win you realize its not in perspective. People going to jail or their livelihood is threatened you realize this is just for fun.

But be assured that all that said doesnt preclude Waldman from already thinking about how best to play Busby.

Hes so tough,Waldman said. “”I hope to play a little better than I did last time (we played) and hope hes really tired, but I doubt it. Ive played him several times before and I know what I need to do, but its just very hard to do it.

He makes it difficult to execute your game plan since he tends to execute his.