June 24, 2010
Through some more good fortune, I will able to make it into the main draw of the doubles here in Chico. A friend of mine who I had not spoken to in almost ten years saw my name on the singles draw and knew that I was in town, and contacted me via Facebook to ask me to play since we were both searching for partners. Due to his doubles experience (he has been playing on the Futures and Challengers circuit for years), we were able to receive a wildcard into the main draw, where we were set to play another familiar foe, a good friend of mine in the top 300 in the world in doubles.
We started off strong in our match, taking an early 5-3 lead in the first set, but got a little tentative late in the set and ended up losing the first in a tiebreak. Second set, same story. We stormed out of the gates to a 5-2 lead, before once again letting our foot off the gas pedal a little bit, and falling once again in the second set in the tiebreak, losing the match 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6).
Like I have previously mentioned, it’s how you respond to tough matches (and especially tough losses) on the road that make or break you. Do you put your head in the sand, lose confidence and begin doubting yourself? Or do you realize that because the match was so close, there were many things that we did right, and by learning from the couple mistakes that we made we could become even better? I prefer to see things in the latter context. I admit, I am disappointed and upset we lost the match. We had great opportunities to win both sets, and it would have been a very nice first win over two very accomplished players. However, I look at the match and realize how close the level really is, and by continuing to work hard, improve, and keep a positive mindset, with a little bit more experience those matches will begin to go my way. It was very encouraging for me to see that I am right in there with experienced players on this circuit, and gave me confidence that my keeping up my work ethic and positive attitude I will be climbing the rankings with them soon.
Next up today is a five-hour drive further up Interstate-5 up into southern Oregon, where I will be playing an Open tournament (anyone can enter) in Roseburg, OR. Though the Open events do not offer opportunities to obtain ATP points like the Futures tournaments do, they are great because they typically have more prize money than the Futures events, and it is great experience picking up matches against very good players. Action is set to kick off tomorrow, so I will arrive there this afternoon, get a good practice in, and be ready to go for my match at 4 pm on Saturday. I am the #2 seed in the singles draw, and the #1 seed in the doubles draw, so I am excited for big things over the weekend. I will be playing doubles and traveling with a good friend of mine, the same guy who I lost to in a tight match in the opening round of qualifying here at the Chico tournament. We have never played doubles together before, but we know each other’s games and personalities very well, and I think we will make a very formidable team.
Going into the weekend I want to stay positive, and though the expectations are a little higher for this tournament than the one I previously played, I need to maintain a relaxed intensity throughout the tournament. It’s important to keep a level head, not getting too high when you win a couple matches, and not getting so down when you lose a tough one. You must view every match as a learning experience, and realize that each opponent on each given day will have its own unique obstacles, which can only make you better with the right attitude. Stay tuned for updates from the Umpqua Valley Open in Roseburg, Oregon!