Name: Andrew Ong Home Club: Mt Lebanon, but many days it feels like Fox Chapel Racquet Club (thank you Tom W. for always hosting) Division: 1
What is your paddle of choice?
Now, Viking Ozone. I started with the blue Wilson Blade, but Rashid recently convinced me to switch to a “real paddle.” Playing with a real paddle, I feel the biggest difference hitting backhands and volleys.
How long have you been playing paddle?
I started playing in Fall 2018. Max Rubin brought me to play for Oakmont, conveniently during OCC's only season in D1. I vividly remember getting humiliated by Matt Rogers and Danny Hersh in my first match. But it has gotten better.
What is your favorite part of playing paddle?
I love playing & winning long points – growing up playing tennis, our coach (@toddwojo) had a saying “TLTP” (meaning, The Longer The Point…the more important it is) which happens much more often in paddle than tennis. There is nothing better than working hard to set up a point to get exactly what you want, and it paying off. Also, love playing tournaments and the strategy and teamwork that paddle requires.
Your greatest paddle strength?
Maybe being able to get to a lot of balls and being able to extend points. But the real answer is probably my positive attitude (don’t worry, everything is always OK, my partner is perfect, has never done anything wrong – it was my fault from something dumb I did 8 shots earlier).
What is your best paddle memory?
Not sure, too many to choose from. Probably something tournament-related, but not when Ben Graham and I played Cleveland tournament & he left his paddle in Pittsburgh – that was stressful.
What do you enjoy when you’re not playing paddle?
Cooking, running, rock climbing…but I spend a lot of my free time playing paddle.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
Before any time playing paddle, putting my hair up – 1 hair tie, hat on, pull bun through the back of the hat, another hair tie, then sweatshirt hood goes up over the hat. In tournaments, also make sure my over-grip is fresh.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Play with anybody you can, as much as you can - there are always ways to get better and things to work on. Don’t make it too complicated, and don’t worry if you haven’t played much tennis. Embrace using the screens right away – like anything else, starting is the hardest part. And have fun!