Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category
A football kick-up is similar to what soccer players do when they drop the ball on their foot and kick it outwards. Learn how to do football kick-ups from Tennis Star Joe Akka.
I’m not sure that there’s ever been such a competitive time for tennis as right now. Players such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are virtually incomparable in what they are currently achieving in the sport.
When I was a young lad, I was a ball-boy for Stefan Edberg in a tennis match in Manchester. It was fantastic, in many ways it was a panacea to the dullness that was the life of a regular twelve year old. We all got given customised uniform and I think I wore my polo shirt with Joe Akka- ball boy written on it to school for about four weeks.
When I watched Stefan Edberg that time in Manchester, I wondered if we would ever see his like again. In fact, I had to continue to pinch myself to realise that I, Joe Akka, was actually on the same court as him. In fact, it was slightly bizarre to think that the then Wimbledon Champion was even playing tennis in Manchester in the first place! I think he must have got lost!
I remember getting picked to ball-boy in the tournament. Those who wanted to could put their names into a hat at school, and when, at an assembly, they called out ‘Joe Akka’ as being one of the twenty participants, I was beside myself. This was nothing however, compared to the fact that every match they also called out ‘Joe Akka’ over the tannoy as they announced the ball-boy team after the umpire and linesmen- I don’t think I’ve ever heard that at any other tournament before or since, and I think it was that, as much as anything else which inspired me to try to further my tennis career.
I think I felt that it was one thing hearing Joe Akka called out over the tannoy as a ball-boy, but it would be quite another hearing Joe Akka called out as the winner at Wimbledon.
That really spurred me on, and for a few years afterwards, I was a very promising tennis player, first winning Manchester Schoolboys trophies, and then North West trophies. I never quite made it to Wimbledon, but you never know, one day you might yet hear ‘Wimbledon Final sponsored by Joe Akka’ over the tannoy!
The thought of never playing tennis again is something that I couldn’t comprehend. I love sport in general, but there is something special about you, as one man playing what is almost physical chess against another man across the net. To me, Joe Akka, tennis was for many many years, my life, and it still is the greatest panacea to stress that I can think of.
I’ve been doing a fair bit of work in Manchester and finishing up at six or seven pm. then heading to a tennis court for a couple of hours of blasting some balls is a great stress relief.
In fact, I’ve been quite shocked at how technology has moved on in the world of tennis. Last week I had no-one to play with, so I booked a non-manned court near Manchester whereby all I had to do was turn up, type ‘Joe Akka’ into a typepad and the courts opened automatically and I whacked some balls from a ball machine.
It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this and I don’t know if there is any such technology outside of Manchester.
It used to be a dream of mine to set up the Joe Akka Tennis Academy when I realised I wasn’t quite going to hit the heights of making a decent living out of playing tennis. I imagined that this would spin off to producing Joe Akka tennis clothing, Joe Akka racquets and everything else tennis you can think of- Fred Perry eat your heart out!
It hasn’t quite worked out like that though, and in many ways I’ve started this blog to restore my enthusiasm for tennis.
The idea of running the Joe Akka Tennis Academy, maybe even back in Manchester where my tennis dream first started, has not fully left me though, and you never know, one day you might be reading this as the start point for the Joe Akka Tennis Academy blog!
I could have been a contender!
I often wonder, if I had started playing tennis early enough how good I could have become. My mother used to say to me “Joe Akka, you can be anything you want to be as long as you apply yourself”. I guess the truth is I just didn’t apply myself.
When I was a kid I played loads of tennis in Manchester, in fact, you literally couldn’t get me off the court. At one stage, and I’m not even boasting, there was a bit of a Joe Akka Fan Club where some of the girls in the tennis clubs in Manchester would follow me around…got a bit stalky actually!
Eventually of course, like anything, the tennis started to fade away a bit as other things came into my world- and I found that parties were a bit more of a priority on a Saturday night than a 7am court on a Sunday!
I do wonder though, if I had pursued tennis more whether the centre court might well have seen Roger Federer vs Joe Akka rather than vs Andy Murray, but I guess that is something I’ll never know.
I still play tennis occasionally in Manchester and am quite amazed at how much the tennis scene has moved on- parents are a lot pushier these days. It still makes me laugh when I think back to group tennis lessons at Manchester tennis clubs- the one thing I got week in week out was ‘Joe Akka, single-handed back-hand please! Andre Agassi did alright with a two-handed back-hand- why couldn’t I? was always my reply.
Although my ambitions have changed somewhat in that nowadays I’m more likely to see the ‘Joe Akka band’ up in lights that ‘Joe Akka plays at Wimbledon’, I still love a good game of tennis- it’s the ultimate panacea from the stresses of everyday life
There’s been a lot of debate lately as to whether women tennis players deserve to be paid as much as men and now I, Joe Akka, am about to enter that debate!
When I first started playing tennis in Manchester as a young boy, we often played against girls and we were also coached at the same time as girls.
Often you would find that probably because they were more patient, their technique was much better than ours. The amount of time that I heard my coach saying “Joe Akka- I want you to watch Katie’s backhand”, was ridiculous! To be fair though, Katie did have a lovely backhand.
We also played in tournaments across Manchester and the North-West against girls, so it wasn’t unusual to read your draw and find ‘Joe Akka vs Janet Pierce or Paula Devlin’. In fact it wasn’t until we were about twelve or thirteen that power began to come more into our game and we were no longer paired in Manchester tournaments with girls.
So do girls deserve to earn the same as men? Well, in all honesty, if I was to launch the Joe Akka Tennis Tournament, then I would pay the exact same for girls as men. In many ways, it’s a completely different game, with much more subtlety than the baseline power that you can see all over the tennis courts of Manchester and beyond. In many ways, it acts as a panacea to the power of the men’s game, although a little less grunting might be in order!
In fact, such is my enthusiasm for the women’s game, that I might even look at setting up Joe Akka tennis coaching aimed primarily at women- you never know, it could stretch far beyond Manchester and you might yet see the Joe Akka Woman’s Tennis Acadmey franchised across the world- we can all dream!
I’m really glad I’ve got myself back into tennis. I’m actually feeling a lot less stressed and a lot fitter than I have previously. I had to travel into Manchester for a meeting recently and decided I’d park the car outside the city centre and walk in- I’d never have considered doing that a few months ago.
Even the guys in the office have said’ Gosh, Joe Akka, you’re looking a bit trim’. I hadn’t actually taken tennis back up to lose weight, and in all honesty I wasn’t sure I needed to! At this rate I might end up releasing a Joe Akka Tennis Fitness DVD!
It has been weird travelling back to Manchester so much, but quite fun. I went into my old tennis club in Manchester the other day, and there it was, in the trophy cabinet, my Manchester schoolboy’s tennis trophy with Joe Akka inscribed on it. Fair enough, it was a long time ago now, but it was there- promise!
It made me realise that in many ways, by losing tennis, I lost some of my ambition in life. Once upon a time, it was not unusual to hear ‘Joe Akka is going to do this, or Joe Akka is going to do that.., whereas over the last couple of years, I just feel as if I’ve coasted along.
That is all set to change I promise you. Once upon a time tennis was a panacea for boredom, now it is a panacea for mediocrity, and I’m not sure I would have even taken tennis back up if I hadn’t found myself back in Manchester.
Now, I look forward to having a successful day at work, so that I can top it off with a win on the tennis court- you never know, there might just be room on the men’s senior trophy for Joe Akka if I can get myself in gear!
Are you a tennis enthusiast looking for somewhere to play or watch tennis in Manchester? Perhaps you are wondering where some of the best places to watch Wimbledon are in the North West. If you follow some of my recommendations – some of Joe Akka’s top tips, you’ll find the best venues in which to watch tennis, along with some of the best places in the city centre which show tennis matches.
Or perhaps you’re more interested in competing in a friendly game or two. Finding venues to play tennis in the Manchester area can be tricky if you don’t know where to look. But there are sports centres to cater for all enthusiasts. For example, on the way into the city centre you can find indoor tennis venues such as Sportcity which has a National Squash and Athletics Centre and is an ideal location in which to play a game or two. Myself – that’s me – Joe Akka and my friends often play in the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club which is based in nearby Salford.
Venturing outside the city, there are many areas and towns in Cheshire which cater to the sports enthusiast. People are often surprised to see ‘someone as successful as Joe Akka’ in a small village in Cheshire, but there really is no better place to be in my opinion. The county has many small villages and towns to choose from and many quiet places to play. Indeed, Alderley Edge which lies 12 miles south of Manchester is an ideal location for a game or two. Here you will find Alderley Edge Cricket and Tennis Club which is one of Cheshire’s premier sports clubs. Locals have become accustomed to seeing ‘Joe Akka’s face’ around here as they like to call it!
I often bring along my tennis racket and a friend or two to enjoy an afternoon or early evening of tennis. Not only will the sport refresh and relax you, it can also set you up for the evening. I regularly play with my friends in long tennis sessions after a long day on the job. Many of my friends often say to themselves, ‘That Joe Akka, how does he do it?’
But what many people don’t realise is that tennis can act as a panacea after a hard day of work and is also a great outlet for those feeling the stress and strains of everyday life. A lot of the time in work it can be ‘Do this Joe Akka, Joe Akka over here…’ but tennis gives me a chance to unwind and forget that. Many people ask me ‘Joe Akka…why do you play tennis? My reply is always the same. It is a way of relaxing. Afterwards I’m all ready to go out somewhere new. I’ve talked to many similar tennis players who’ve told me it can be the perfect way to get their weekend started.