Year End Tennis Awards

The 2nd Annual T-Dubbys are here! If you missed last year’s award ceremony, click here.

After such an epic 2009, 2010 had some high expectations to live up to, but I think she did a great job. Nadal completed a career slam, Djokovic closed the gap between him and the top 2 players, Wozniacki won 6 titles, and I believe the Isner/Mahut match just ended about 5 minutes ago.

And to celebrate all of the fantastic achievements from the past year, we have the highly sought after T-Dubby’s. Put on your Sunday best and get ready for this years award show. Without further ado.

Surprise Player of the Year (SPY)
-    Michael Llodra. OK, I must admit that I didn’t know who Michael Llodra was before 2010. I didn’t even know who he was the first half of 2010. But that’s the point of this category. His serve and volley playing style is just so exciting to watch! Don’t believe me? Watch the highlights of his match against Berdych. He beat Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Masters and Tomas Berdych at the US Open.
-    Mardy Fish. Whipped himself into shape for the 2010 season and it showed. The leaner, meaner Mardy Fish won a couple tournaments, beat players like Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco, and Andy Roddick. He reached a career high ranking of 16.
-    Caroline Wozniacki. Would she be where she is today without Serena Williams’ injuries? We’ll never know, but 6 titles is 6 titles.
Winner: Caroline Wozniacki

Best Supporting Player in a Loss (BSPL)
-    Andy Murray @ World Tour Finals vs. Rafael Nadal. I don’t think I’ve seen Murray play at a higher level. The type of shots he was making was unbelievable, and he kept doing it over and over. The way he was playing, he would’ve beat 99.99% of the world. Unfortunately for him, Rafa was standing across that net and he’s the .01%.
-    Nicolas Mahut @ Wimbledon vs. John Isner. When I had to go play tennis, it was 18 all in the 5th, and I remember thinking to myself, “If I leave now, I’m going to miss the end of this match!” Little did I know, I would’ve had time to play a 5 setter myself, watch all the 14 or so Harry Potter movies, deliver a baby, and I still would’ve had time to watch the end of this epic match. Not the prettiest match ever played, but both players showed tremendous heart and determination.
Winner: Nicolas Mahut. (Fun Fact: Mahut ended up winning more points than Isner)

The “No Way” Award. Best Point.
*When you’re watching the point unfold and you find yourself saying, “No way! No way!” over and over again.
Nominees: Why read what I have to say when these videos can do 6.3 times the job I can.
-    Federer vs. Dabul. 1st round at US Open

-    Nadal vs. Ferrer. Rome Finals.

-    Nadal vs. Verdasco. Monte Carlo Finals.

-    Francesca Schiavone vs. Alona Bondarenko. US Open

-    Monfils vs. Roddick. Tokyo Quarterfinals

-    Murray vs Cilic. Australian Open Semi-Finals

Winner: Nadal vs Ferrer
-    Honarable Mention: Hit for Haiti.

Biggest Upset
-    Llodra over Berdych @ The US Open. Berdych had a ton of momentum going into the US Open with solid showings at both the French and Wimbledon. Who would’ve predicted that the French Volleying Machine would beat him in straight sets in the first round?
-    Melzer over Djokovic @ The French Open. It’s shocking enough that Melzer took out the 3rd seed. But add to that the fact that Djokovic was up 2 sets to none, and it’s an upset worth talking about. Or blogging about, as it were.
Winner: Melzer over Djokovic

And finally, the most important award of the night…….

Most Valuable Player (MVP)
-    Rafael Nadal. Started 2010 with a scare by pulling out of a quarterfinal match against Murray at the Aussie Open. But then he caught fire. Not literally. From that tournament on, all he did was: win all three clay court Masters titles, break the all time record for most Masters titles (18), win the French, Wimbledon, and US Open, complete a career Golden Slam, regain his #1 status, score an endorsement deal in which he gets to rock a $525,000 watch made by Richard Mille, and appear in a Shakira video. I think that last one is the most impressive.
-    Let’s face it; there are other players that had a pretty good year (Federer, Serena, Clijsters, Wozniacki), but no ones taking this award from Nadal, I’m pretty sure that of all his trophies and awards that he won this year, the T-Dubby will be his most cherished.
Winner: Rafael Nadal

A memorable 2010 tennis season filled with record breaking achievements and jaw dropping shots has come to a close. What can 2011 bring us? Can Rafael Nadal win all four majors? Will Caroline Wozniacki or Andy Murray finally win their first major? Is the next great American tennis player going to emerge?

Here’s to a great 2011!

Jason, TW

Holiday Thoughts

Andy looking out at Point Vincente

December 20, 2010

Redondo Beach, CA

The rain hasn’t let up since Friday. I spent the whole weekend holed up in my dad’s apartment, watching the howling winds and sheets of rain come down from a storm that is strangely intense for December in southern California. No court time or road biking in the constant downpour, just doing everything I can with my body weight and a Thera-band to keep active.

I’ve been doing shoulder exercises, crunches, push-ups, all that good stuff. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym this afternoon for my physical therapy to keep working on the knee. Three times this week before I see the doc…hopefully I can make some more strides in the strength in my knee by then.

Fortunately, though our place is small, the apartment my dad and I are sharing at the moment has a perfect location, just a half block up from the beach. I walked down to the beach this morning to take in the gorgeous view and to check out the waves. It’s pretty amazing, the view from the lookout right above the beach near where my dad lives. You can stand on a cliff overlooking the beach and see for miles. You can see all of West LA, all the beaches (Hermosa, Manhattan, Venice, Santa Monica), all the way north to the end of Malibu. There were dozens of surfers out this morning, enjoying the perfect waves that this winter storm has brought in. I’ve never been a surfer (when I was younger I would only bodyboard from time to time), but it’s always been something that’s fascinated me, the beauty of which I can absolutely appreciate. The awesome size and picturesque shape of the waves are amazing, and to see people use nature as their playground is beautiful. The serenity and tranquility of being out in the open water, one with the ocean, combined with the incredible power of the waves and the intensity of being in the barrel of a wave, that at any moment can crush you under its tremendous power, is amazing.

It’s important to see the beauty of the world around you, as much as you can. It’s easy when you’re stressed, caught up in your life and all the things that it requires of you, to forget to give yourself a minute to take in the world around you and the wonder of it. I’m watching the surfers and the sets of waves roll in, and I realize that people come from all over the world to see what I’m seeing, be where I am, experience what I live in everyday. When you live somewhere or spend a lot of time in one place it’s easy to take the world around you for granted. This morning made me think, and remember that, even with the next year of my life and my future in tennis always on my mind and undecided, I still need to step back, take a moment, take in the world around me, and appreciate all the wonderful things it has to offer. So this holiday season, take a minute to step back and appreciate what’s around you, whether it’s where you are, who you’re with, you’re health, you’re good fortune, etc…Happy holidays everyone!


Rehab in Redondo

December 16, 2010

I’m back home in Redondo Beach, working intensely to rehab the torn PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) in my right knee. I’m going into physical therapy twice a week, where we focus mainly on improving strength in the surrounding muscles around the knee (quads, hamstrings, hips), and stability in the knee with balancing exercises. In addition to physical therapy, I’m working out on my road bike in order to keep my endurance strong. I can even get out on the court and hit a little bit, as long as I keep the movement to a minimum. This enables me to keep practicing forehand and backhand cross-courts, volleys, and serves. I feel confident that even if I can’t incorporate movement into my on-court practices, I can still make strides in my game and be even better when I return, whenever that may be.

We’re still undecided as to whether or not I’ll need the reconstructive surgery on the PCL, since we’ve seen mixed results so far from the physical therapy. The strength and stability in my leg has been noticeably improving, as I’m progressing quickly through my exercises and am able to do more and more each time I go. However, there is still a lot of mobility in the knee joint that is not getting better.The  tibia (shinbone) is supposed to be positioned slightly in front of the kneecap, and the function of the PCL is to keep the tibia from shifting behind the kneecap. My latest MRI showed that my tibia now is actually positioned slightly behind my kneecap, and when I plant on my right leg there is still noticeable forward and backward movement of the shinbone in relation to the knee. I see my orthopedist next week, and we will most likely decide at that time whether I’ll continue with physical therapy, or shut it down and get the surgery. If I can continue with physical therapy, I’m looking at starting to play tennis again in about a month, easing my way back into it and aiming for a stretch of tournaments in March as a comeback date. On the other hand, if I have to get the surgery, I’m looking at 6-9 months of rehab before getting back on the court. So hopefully I can continue with the physical therapy, get the knee good and strong, and be back in a month!

This knee injury and the subsequent rehab process has thrown a wrench into my plans for the upcoming few months. Before the injury, I was planning on playing two prize-money tournaments in December (one of which was in Seattle), and then heading back to Asia to play three tournaments in Cambodia and Vietnam. I had already made travel arrangements with people and had people depending on me for these trips. However, since I haven’t been able to play, I have been unable to play the December tournaments I needed in order to finance the upcoming trips. I’ve had to cancel both trips, and the next couple months remain in complete flux. I can’t make any certain plans because I don’t know how the knee is going to heal up and what my body is going to be capable of doing. So it’s been a little hectic and stressful trying to make and un-make arrangements, as well as trying to figure out how to finance myself during a time when I can’t go out and compete and earn money that way.

With that said, my main focus is getting my knee strong and healthy. I’m doing my physical therapy, staying optimistic about the future, and doing what I can to stay fit and strong. I’m doing everything in my power to get back to health, and hopefully I’ll keep making progress in the coming weeks and be back sooner rather than later! Thanks again for reading and stay tuned for updates!!