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4.5 Player Gives Insight

 For most of us, a match against a strong 4.5 or 5.0 is the closest we’ll get to taking the court against a touring pro.  Donna Saleeby, a 4.5 on the LATA team at the 40 and Over Championships, was kind enough to give us some insight on what it’s like to play at the 4.5 level. 

Playing at 4.5 is a lot more work than playing at 4.0 (as the author can attest), Donna says that she practices several days a week and puts in lots of hours on the court.  She also supplements her practice with lots of league and tournament play.   "Of course you must have a love for the game, and a will to improve," says Donna.

One thing to remember, Donna stated, is that matter how good you are, there’s someone who’s going to be better.  When she’s facing off against a 5.0, strategy is the key.  Strategy starts off with knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how to apply them against your opponent, she states.  Donna isn’t the best shot maker on her team, but she’s a backboard and is in great shape, which helps her wear down players who may have stronger shots.  Of course, a can-do attitude and never giving up can win you lots of points.

Donna says her captain’s job is difficult, especially since their team is loaded with talent.  Obviously your lineup is affected by players’ availability, but once you know who can play on your team, you’ve got to study the other team a bit.  Tough decisions have to be made when the other team has an unbeatable 5.0, says Donna, but in the end you put your best team on the court and hope for the best.  Winning the first match can be critical, and helps set the tone. 

One interesting fact about Donna’s team is that while a few of the players started as juniors, many of them picked up tennis later in life, after their kids started school.  Her teammates are all very close and it helps when everyone is so encouraging. 

To see how the team is doing, make sure to check out the follow a team page on