Game on!

They say having a child changes your life. And my daughter has. She’s beautiful, and she’s everything my husband and I dreamed she could be and more. She was born in December, and I’m just now returning to work.

Future TW playtester

Returning to work for me also means returning to the tennis court. My doctor cleared me for exercise six weeks after she was born, so I could have played before I came back to work, but I didn’t. It’s not that I hadn’t wanted to get back out there earlier. Rather as a new mom, I just was not yet ready to leave her in someone else’s care while I went to play. Instead, I took my baby girl on daily walks, and my route inevitably would swing by the tennis courts. Trying to entertain my little one, I would tell her about tennis and how mommy liked to play for fun and to stay fit.

Now it’s time for this new mommy to make good on that and begin playing again — and regain some level of physical fitness. My fitness has taken a big hit. I played until the start of my third trimester, but honestly those last few weeks of playing were not intense. I exercised to the end, with my doctor’s permission, lightly using the elliptical machine and walking. Since the baby’s birth, I’ve been walking and going on small hikes. My body has changed, and so has my mindset as a new mom. No longer do I want to get in extra exercise after work. My No. 1 priority is to get home to spend the evening with my family. That, however, is no excuse.

So, today I put on my new shoes, the adidas adiPure Pro, and went down to the TW tennis court to play. I’m on the playtest squad for the Yonex V Core 100 S, so I took that down as well. I borrowed a racquet from Brittany, a fellow playtester and much better tennis player, and she had it strung up with Adrenaline. I prefer multis to begin with, so returning after about six months off, the poly setup was a little brutal since I was shanking more than I’d like to admit. Initial impressions are that I’ll like this stick as a Yonex fan, but I am going to have to try a different, softer string setup.

My timing was slightly off; I was catching balls late off both sides, but I noticed an improvement toward the end of the hitting session with some good rallies. Though what’s painfully obvious — and I do mean painful as I’m fully expecting to be aching tomorrow — is that my footwork and stamina have fallen off dramatically.

Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters are moms who can really kick butt on the tennis court. I don’t have their games, but I am inspired by them. What I don’t have in tennis skill, I have in determination.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW

Quick turnaround…heading back to Thailand!

March 21, 2011

Redondo Beach, CA

The theme for this past week for me has been traveling, as I worked my way from Rimouski back home to Redondo Beach, while also preparing to leave tomorrow for another trip to Thailand. It took two days on a train to get back to Toronto from Rimouski, where I managed to lose my debit card for the bank account that contains all my travel funds. I then flew back to LA from Toronto, where I ended up leaving my wallet in my friend’s car as it slipped out as I arrived at the airport in Toronto. I got back home Thursday night, where I washed and switched all my dirty, cold weather clothes for my tank tops and shorts as I prepare to leave Tuesday afternoon for another trip back to Thailand (my third trip there in the past 15 months). The past week has been hectic, but it’s nice to be back in LA for a little bit, and I’m very excited for another journey to southeast Asia.

I felt I played my best match of the trip in the singles qualifying in Rimouski, but unfortunately came up short against Igor Bujdo, a tall, lanky left-hander hailing from Poland. The first set was a serving fest, as we both held serve relatively easily all the way to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, one loose point on my serve to give him a mini-break was the difference, as he used his huge lefty serve to close out the first set 7-6(5).

I came out focused in the second set, but once again it was just a couple loose points on my serve in the first game of the set that allowed him to get an early break and gain an upper hand. I started to get more looks in his service games in the second set as his first-serve percentage dropped, but failed to convert any of my opportunities. The early break relaxed Bujdo, and he started playing more aggressively, putting the clamps down on the match, and taking the second set 6-1. I was pleased with the way I played the first set, staying mentally tough and executing well in my service games, but once again was displeased at my lack of focus in the second set.

Though the Canada trip was in a sense a bit of a disappointment because of the results, it was a huge positive because I was able to learn a lot and grow from the experience. It exposed me to some extremely quick indoor courts that I had not played on before, and improved my ability to travel somewhere, judge the playing conditions, and quickly adapt my game in order to succeed. This skill is very important on the tour as the conditions are constantly changing every week as you move from place to place, and the players that adapt the best and the quickest are the ones that are doing the best. In addition, the losses exposed areas in my game that I need to improve, which I can now focus on and improve before my next match.

My mental toughness, which I feel is normally a strength of mine, was a liability in Canada, and this will be my primary focus for the coming weeks. Improving my mental toughness will come from prioritizing the time between points in matches, and my ability to let go of what happened in the previous point/game/set, refocus and determine how I want to play the next point, relax and step up to serve or return with a clear and calm mind. The points in the past and the results in the future cannot affect the point that is about to be played. I want to play every point tough, clear-headed and focused. This is more important for me than anything about strokes or strategy that I can focus on.

These past few days in LA I’ve been trying to hit as much as possible in between the spring storm we have had in the area over the weekend. While it’s raining I’ve been hitting the gym, staying strong and preparing my body for the heat and humidity in Thailand. Stay tuned as I prepare for my next circuit…Thanks for reading!

-AG

Head WingTennis

Tennis on the Wings of a Biplane

It all began when a HEAD Tennis Facebook fan posted an old photograph on www.facebook.com/headtennis and asked: “Has anybody ever tried this?” In the black-and-white picture two dare-devil men can be seen playing tennis on the wings of a biplane. HEAD took up the dialogue with its Facebook community and promised to try the experiment with one of its tennis pros. Novak Djokovic agreed to do it: “I asked myself: ‘Is this really possible? Playing tennis on the wings of an airplane?’ And I decided to accept the challenge,” Novak said about his extraordinary stunt.

Here are the first four video clips:

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Leading into the fifth and final video, HEAD racquet rebel Novak Djokovic and HEAD Tennis have produced a spectacular short film featuring the new YouTek™ IG Speed racquet played by the Australian Open and Davis Cup champion. Novak and his new chosen weapon go airborne to play tennis on the wings of a legendary Antonov II biplane to bring to life the concept of “Ultimate SPEED” in dramatic scenes.

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Check out Novak Djokovic’s comments after his epic flight.

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There is truly no shortage of powerful players and talents supporting HEAD in this endeavour: In addition to Novak Djokovic, Robin Söderling and Andy Murray are two other players in the ATP Top Ten under contract with HEAD. And only recently, sports and fashion icon Maria Sharapova joined the team of stars equipped with tennis racquets, bags and accessories by HEAD coming out later this year.

Novak Djokovic

Here is a list of the different versions of the new YouTek Speed IG Series:

- YouTek IG Speed MP 16/19: The Speed MP 16/19 is the perfect combination of power and feel in a slightly longer version to accommodate a wide range of players.

- YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20: The Speed MP is Novak Djokovic’s racquet of choice. It comes with an 18×20 string pattern and appeals to a wide range of players with its perfect combination of power and feel.

- YouTek IG Speed 300: The Speed MP 300 is the lighter, yet more powerful MP version which makes your shots faster with less effort. With its weight of 300g, this racquet offers ultimate power and control.

- YouTek IG Speed Elite: A Tour Light version providing complete tour performance with greater manoeuvrability. The slightly wider beam gives it even more power.

- YouTek IG Speed Lite: This is the lightest racquet in the Speed series. A great tweener providing the perfect combination of power, maneuverability, control and feel. An excellent tour racquet for players with a moderate swing style.

Ad Out,

Brittany