Struggles early in Montreal

Andy in Montreal

Andy in Montreal

February 27, 2011

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Played my first round match today in the qualifying draw here at the Montreal Futures event, and lost 6-1 6-4 to Canadian youngster Hugo Di Feo. The courts here are indoors and extremely quick, and my young opponent executed a much better game plan for these speedy conditions. On the fast indoor courts, it is important to serve big and play aggressively from the baseline, which is exactly what Di Feo did while I was playing a much more conservative, lower-risk style to which I’m more accustomed.

Though I’m disappointed with the early exit from singles, it was a good learning experience and I clearly know the game style I need to play in order to be successful on the rest of this Canadian circuit. Now that I have a week until my next singles match (the next Futures event in nearby Sherbrooke, Quebec), I will work on positioning myself closer to the baseline, taking more risks during the point, and being very aggressive with my serves. I will also have the doubles event that will start tomorrow here in Montreal, which will also allow me to work on my serve, returns, and net game. I’m disappointed but not discouraged, as now I have a clear plan for the next week of practice and what I need to do in the next tournament.

Off the court, I have really been enjoying my time here in Montreal. Though the weather has been cold (it has not been above freezing since I’ve arrived), the city is beautiful with lots to do. The architecture is a beautiful mix between old and new, as some of the enormous cathedrals in the old part of town having been here for hundreds of years. Everything is in French, but everyone is also able to speak almost perfect English, which has been incredibly impressive. I’m using the metro system daily, which is awesome and very easy to use, to get to the downtown area. Snow-covered sidewalks, French culture, and lots of things to see and do have made Montreal a really cool place to explore!

Stay tuned for updates as my partner Charlie Cutler and I begin the doubles main draw either Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks for reading!

-AG

Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe & Lendl showdown promotes youth tennis

Legends of the game, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl take to the court Monday, February 28 for Tennis Night in America at the BNP Paribas Showdown at historic Madison Square Garden.

Nothing inspires tennis fans like legends playing at the Garden and you can catch it all live starting with McEnroe Vs. Lendl streaming at 7pm (EST) on ESPN3.com.

At 9:00 p.m. ESPN2 will televise the final match when rivals Sampras and Agassi square off.  A replay of the BNP Paribas Showdown will be telecast on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14.  For more information, visit tennisnight.com.

The players will be competing on a court with blended lines. The additional lines will mark the smaller, 60-foot court employed by the QuickStart Tennis program for youth tennis.

Blended lines are another step in the USTA’s revolutionary 10 and Under Tennis initiative. The 10 and Under Tennis is real tennis scaled to size for its youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game fun, easy to learn and easy to play, ensuring that kids will return to tennis again and again.


Throughout March, Youth Registration events will be held at 700 tennis facilities across the country.  These events will feature games and activities for kids and gives parents an opportunity to sign up their kids for spring and summer tennis programs.  For more information, log on to youthregistration.com

Adversity on the Road

“Adversity makes some people break – others to break records”

The Cal Poly Women’s tennis Head Coach, Hugh Bream, has implemented the concept that we have to be adaptable in all situations. Throughout a tennis match, we do not have control in many things. We do not know what the weather or conditions will bring. We do not know how our opponents will play (perhaps the best match of their life) and we do not know if we will feel at a hundred percent (perhaps under the weather or an injury). However, what we do have in control are our attitudes, effort, and concentration. We can bring this to every match and be adaptable under the difficult circumstances. This is exactly what the Cal Poly Women’s tennis team brought this weekend.

Originally we planned to head to San Francisco on Friday night and play on Saturday, but due to the weather we postponed our trip for a Sunday match against San Francisco and a Monday match against Santa Clara. On Sunday, we headed to Golden Gate Park to play at 11:00am. The courts were wet and we had to postpone the match for a few hours. This is when the girls had to be adaptable. As the coaches roll dried the courts, we had the players stay inside and keep warm. It’s important for them to stay focused and mentally prepared for the upcoming match. A lot of them stayed relaxed by listening to their iPods and laughing with the other girls. Around thirty minutes prior to the pre-match hit, we had the girls do a very long dynamic warm up and stretch to get loose and energized. It is difficult to come out ready after sitting around for a few hours, so the girls did an extra jog, as well as plyometrics and balance drills. After the warm up, we did our ritual talk to prepare the girls. Hugh and I explained that it was going to be windy, it could potentially rain, and the only thing we could control is how we kept it together. We wanted to come out with more energy, more focus, and more vocal support than our opponents. And we did just that. The girls battled with San Francisco and pulled out a 6-1 win. We were excited about the win, but even more excited about playing Santa Clara, who was 9-1 in dual matches this season.

Me and TW playtester, Kana, after a grueling practice

On Monday morning we woke up with some bad news. One of our player’s grandmothers had passed away during the night. It was a very emotional day for her, as well as for our team. To see someone you care about upset and hurting is really hard on all the girls because we are such a family unit. We did our best to support her, but also to prepare for the upcoming match. On top of that, our number one player woke up feeling very sick and we were not sure if she would be able to play.

We took these challenges in stride, met as a team, and discussed the things we could control. We knew some of the girls were not going to be as upbeat or as loud as normal, so those of us who could, would need to bring more team support and energy. We were going to fight out there with all that we had and for as long as we could.

The match began as a grueling, hard, and competitive match as we expected. Santa Clara brought out lots of fans (the hecklers on the hill) and we tried to not let it affect us. The girls stayed focused on their courts, and only on the things they could control. They stuck to their game plans, played tactically, and most importantly with tons of heart. I have never seen a team dig so deep for each point. As I watched us take a lead at 3-2, I was not sure if we would get the win overall, but I had faith in the girls and how hard they were competing. We eventually won 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on one of the last courts, and 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9) on the final court. We had beaten Santa Clara 5-2 on their home courts.

When we hugged each other after the match, our family had just overcome a tough and difficult day. They had faced the challenges together, overcame it together, and succeeded together.

I couldn’t have been more proud.

Living the Dream,

Suzie