Category: Tennis

Lost in 3 set from my First UTR Match – start my 2024 season

UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) is a globally recognized rating system for tennis players.  After being an outsider looking for a few years, I finally played my first UTR tournament (Flex League) in Toronto.  Overall the experience was positive, despite losing a close match in 3 sets.  In this post, I’d like to share my overall experience and my match breakdown.

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Winning men’s singles champion in 2023 Chinese University Alumni of Canada Tennis Tournament

Winning men’s singles champion in 2023 Chinese University Alumni of Canada Tennis Tournament


the highlight of my life over the past few years

I am hoping to write two long-form blog posts.  This one will focus on technical analysis of the final game I played in this tournament.  The final score is 8:3.    The next one will cover my overall experience, the stress and expectation, the takeaways, and the broader term implications to my tennis life.


Heading into the final I felt relaxed and recharged, after winning the previous two elimination games with the expectation to win.

The schedule for day 2 (Sunday) was quarter-final at 9:45 am, semi-final at 12:45 pm – both played at 6 game regular set. The final was at 2:45 pm – 8 game pro-set.

My goal was to do better than last year, in which I lost in the quarter-final. Therefore my 1st game in day two was the most important one. I played a bit tight but did make it by 6:3. Next in the semi I needed to play against Shawn, whom I played a practice match against a week prior and I won 6:3. This time I played slightly better and won by 6:2.

Now I am in the final – already surpassed my pre-tournament expectations. My opponent is Ken – the #1 seed.

Before the tournament started, I knew I was ranked #2 seed and wouldn’t play against Ken – the 1st seed who was a runner-up last year and only lost a close match in the final.


Strength & Weakness

Without watching much of Ken’s prior games, I needed to figure out his style during our game.  He had better movement (He saved this match point by running back from net position to baseline twice), and net touch and athleticism ( It is eye-opening to see him perform a jumping overhead smash as Monfils did 

At the same time, there are two areas that I played conclusively better than Ken in the game.

  • Serve – similar speed, but I had 90% first serve in versus Ken’s 61%)
  • Backhand ( 5 winners w/4 unforced errors(UE) versus his 3 winners v/ 8 UE).

Tactics and in-game adjustment


To my( and my spectators’) surprise, I captured an early lead 4:0 after the first 20 minutes without facing a breakpoint.

Usually I like to use the first 4 games as a tune-up period.  I was totally prepared for a back-and-forth dog fight-style final.  In retrospect, this one-sided result could be attributed to two reasons – on one side, I was playing the best tennis during the whole tournament was I was playing “free” of expectation to win.  On the other side, Ken wasn’t used to my heavy topspin style and made many unforced mistakes.


After a quick 4-0 lead, my level dropped a bit and Ken held his serve and made it to 1:4.  He was actually already playing a lot better from the previous game on my serve (when I was leading 3:0) .   He seemed to be increasing his net-aggressiveness – hoping to neutralize my baseline advantage.

During the changeover, I told myself I needed to make the adjustment to my game plan. The best way to take away his success of going to the net (and take the momentum back ) is to go to the net more often myself.

Battle on the net

Starting my first point on a 4:1 service game with an opportunity to go the the net, I took advantage of it and executed pretty well with a backhand down the line and a forehand volley winner to finish the point

This point really boosted my confidence.  I took every chance in this game to go to the net, and Ken doesn’t seem to be used to my change of tactics – made a few errors with his passing shot.  I held serve and the score was 5-1.

In the next two games, I rode the momentum with the same approach and took the lead to 7-1.  The last point was the best point I played, summarizing the battle on the net


“It is not going to be this easy” – I was telling myself during the changeover.  And it was true.   Ken raised his level when his back was against the wall by producing a few breath-taking overheads. At the same time, my level dropped a bit, making a few unforced errors that I wouldn’t make before.  He took the next two games in an easy fashion and took the score to 7:3.   By this time I knew I needed to refocus and raise my level again.  I kept reminding myself that I only needed to win 4 more points.  With a bit of luck, I won the first three points in game 11, holding three match points.

Ken played the best point (in my opinion) on the 1st match point – showcasing his athleticism by running back and forth TWICE

Gladly he can’t repeat this performance over and over – I won my 2nd match point with his overhead error



First outdoor game in 2022 season – my tennis journal #1

Finally, I am able to play my first outdoor game, recorded using my newest equipment fence cap (bought on Black Friday 2021). It is a pro-set game with Kevin – my doubles partner from Credit Valley Club Inter-county “B” team. We didn’t play very often recently, as he spent more time on doubles and I focused on singles match plays.

The game was played at Glen Abby community part upon my request. The weather is cloudy with mild wind conditions, 8 degrees celsius in early after. I believe this to be an ideal weather condition for tennis, but Kevin feels it is a bit too cold. He said the balls feel too hard with the cold temperate. My topspin heavy style neutralized the bad weather condition, as I usually don’t need to hit the ball perfectly to generate points.

For the actual scores, I won the 1st set 8:3 by winning the last 4 games straight. The 2nd set was much closer and ended with 1-1 when the times ran out (the total score for the 2nd set was 15-15).

My conditioning is still nowhere close to my peak level. If we have enough time to finish, the 2nd set would be a lot closer. Fatigue seems to impact me much more than Kevin.

What I like about my game today is I was able to hit 2 winners on the forehand cross-court, each with over 85km/h on the line. I don’t usually attack that angle on my previous matches

What is interesting is my backhand slice shots type % – only 28% slices. I used to only use slices on my backhand so this is definitely encouraging to see. It could also indicate Kevin didn’t attack my backhand with deep balls much.

Analyze my tennis post-game videos from a Mac

This holiday I got another tech toy – an M1 powered MacBook Pro 13”.   One of the reasons to justify my buying decision is I will be able to “produce” more tennis tracking videos using the Mac version of the SwingVision. In this post, I’d like to share my initial review of it, after using it for a couple of sessions.

In a normal situation, I would wait for a few more weeks to get a bit more hands-on experience. Unfortunately, the city I live in imposed a new lock-down measure, essentially blocking any indoor tennis over the winter. The plan is to keep updating this with more information available.

Key takeaways & recommendations

  • SwingVision on Mac is a working version that can analyze video captured from any recording device with a minimum of 720p and 30fps.
  • The convenience of viewing and editing the video on a bigger screen with a Mac provides a better user experience.
  • The post-game editing feature is still limited since SwingVision doesn’t allow for exporting video in the Mac for now. However, it doesn’t limit any video edit by tools like iMovie to pre-process the imported video
  • If you are an apple watch user to tag the game with real-time scoring, I don’t suggest you wait a bit. The current combination will result in losing the real-time scoring capabilities since the video and the watch stats isn’t talking to each other.

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Tennis video analysis – a Primer

Tennis video analysis – a Primer

I received a special gift from my lovely wife during last year’s Christmas.

It is an add-on lens to put on my iPhone to capture more area. It is particularly useful when recording the tennis match from the baseline, because my iPhone doesn’t have a wide angle lens built-in so it doesn’t capture enough area.

To be honest, originally I was just planning to try out the new AI feature offered by SwingVision app. After using it for over 6 weeks and multiple rounds of trial and errors, post game video has become an essential piece of my tennis life. The app itself is still in its infancy stage with all kinds of limitations, however I can see a lot of potential in this area.

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Analyze first and second serve , and rally length breakdown using exported data from Swing Tennis App

Back by popular demand, this blog post continues diving into making use of the data we captured via Swing App from my Apple Watch. 

If you are new to the tennis tracking via apple watch, please check out my introductory blog post.

If you are interested in tennis, and subscribed to the Pro version of the Swing App, you will be able to export all the data to a clean Excel format. That is really cool, but what can you do about it?

In this blog, I will share my experience of playing and analyzing the raw data for over 30 hrs over the past few months. Hopefully by reading this article, you will have slightly more incentive to make use of the data, after your hard fought game and logging via Apple Watch.

We will cover the following three topics with hands-on examples:

  • Basic data cleaning and data modeling for the required analysis using Excel build-in feature
  • How to breakdown the first and second serve performance with speed and distribution
  • How to breakdown the short, medium and long rally on game points

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Tennis score tracking and exported data analysis with Apple Watch using Swing App

Tennis score tracking and exported data analysis with Apple Watch using Swing App

During the winter of 2018-2019, I was able to take my tennis tracking journey into a new level.  By now most of my tennis hitting partners are calling me a “data nerd”, clicking my watch like crazy during the game. But when I show them the stats after the game, they all (seem to be) impressed.

I did the following two new things in particular:

  1. Used the “Point by Point + ” score tracking in the Swing App to track all the points I have played. In total, I tracked 18 matches over the last 4 month, all of them were single matches and played in 1 hour.
  2. Exported the captured data into spreadsheets. By analyzing the data set, I was able to identify some of the limitations, as well as some opportunities to further enhance the analytics experience.

Before we dive in, if you are interested in knowing the tennis tracking tools and methodology, or a high-level overview, you can check my 1st blog post of this series: Tennis tracking after 18 month of usage. Or if you prefer to track drills instead of match, you can check out my last post on advanced tennis shots tracking.

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Tracking tennis swing with Apple Watch (Series 4) and the updated Swing App

Tracking tennis swing with Apple Watch (Series 4) and the updated Swing App

It has been 9 months since I first shared experience to track tennis performance with Apple Watch.   Backing up by popular demand(Surprised so many visitors found this blog from search engine all over the world), I’d like to take it further with a more in-depth review, of my own experience tracking and analyzing my tennis workout with the Swing app.  

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Tracking tennis using Apple Watch – My own takes after 18 month of usage

Tracking tennis using Apple Watch – My own takes after 18 month of usage

Playing tennis has been a major part of my adult life: It is fun, competitive and a truly global sport. More importantly, it has shaped my character and my social network.  Over the past 18 months, I have been using my Apple Watch to track, and subsequently, to analyze my tennis performance along with swimming    

In this post, we will cover the background, the pros and cons of different apps, and how the additional metrics playing a role in my mindset shift.

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Lessons learned from an unexpected doubles tournament

Lessons learned from an unexpected doubles tournament

Tennis is a big part of my personal life.  Playing competitive level matches since 2006, I have won a few tournaments in the “club” level.  Ironically, I have never played in a doubles tournament ( never a fan of doubles game, and often complain about not even getting sweaty), nor have I played in a game organized by the companies I worked for (tennis might be such a “minority” sport that didn’t get much attention).

I broke both rules last week.

It was the 1st “3M Open” tennis tournament – featured only doubles matches. One of my colleagues in the lab signed me up for it.  We have played together a few times in the past but never played doubles as partners.  For both of us, the original goal was very clear –

“Enjoy the sunshine and have some fun. “

In the end, we brought the “3M cup” back home by winning three straight matches in a row. When I look back today, the experience was 100% memorable. But “fun” is not the appropriate word.  Instead, it is more of the mix of drama, pressure, heartbreak, teamwork, and a sense of relief.

Let me tell you why:

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