July 6, 2011
Happy belated 4th of July to everyone! My Independence Day weekend was spent in Eugene, OR, home of the University of Oregon Ducks. And what a great weekend it was! I played some good tennis at another incredible club, met and spent time with some more great people, and experienced a holiday fireworks show that I’ll never forget.
I didn’t win any titles last weekend, but coming away from the tournament I’m feeling really good about my game. After two early round victories I faced off with Roman Borvanov in the quarterfinals. Roman is a Pacific Northwest circuit veteran and is currently ranked in the top 300 in the world. I had been striking the ball better and have been staying more positive on the court, and felt this would be a good test to see how my game would stack up against a really tough and experienced player.
I got off to a good start, going toe to toe with Borvanov from the baseline and feeling really good stepping into my backhand. I broke him in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but was quickly broken back in the next game to even the match. I allowed that game to frustrate me and Roman took advantage, winning the next five games to take a set and a break lead. I battled tough in the second set, but could never even the match, finally losing 6-3 6-4. The match was further evidence of how important it is to keep my wits about me, and not let my emotions get the best of me on the court. I have been doing better with that in recent weeks, but clearly I still have a ways to go. My main focus for this week’s tournament will be to stay calm and focused throughout the entire tournament. With my physical game feeling better than it has in a long while, my main focus will be on my mental game this week.
However, what made the tournament so great was the tremendous support from the tennis community in Eugene. The members at the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club where the tournament was located were into the tennis all weekend, coming out in large numbers and providing incredible support and hospitality for all the players. I was fortunate to stay with two awesome families who made me feel so cared for and welcome the whole weekend. Thank you Jeff and Libby, as well as Larry and Brenda for being such awesome hosts.
The city of Eugene was the largest of all the cities I have visited in southern Oregon so far, but possessed the far left, the far right, and everything in between on the social spectrum just like the rest of Oregon. The Saturday Morning Market in downtown Eugene was a huge hippie gathering, where people would sit and eat on the grassy knoll, listening to bearded street-side musicians and buying art, clothes, and organic produce from the local vendors. I walked around the University of Oregon area, and marveled at the state-of-the-art athletics facilities to which Phil Knight, the father of Nike, contributes so generously. I took in Hayward Field, arguably the most historic track and field site in the country, and the brand new Matthew Knight Arena. On the evening of the 4th, my hosts brought me to their local block party, where the entire neighborhood gathered and watched as a number of different houses shoot off thirty minutes worth of some great, illegal fireworks! I sat in the front yard and watched as the fireworks were shot off in the street 10 yards in front of me. Really cool!
After my great 4th of July, I made the drive two hours north to Portland, where the next tournament on the circuit is being held. The Nike Championships is going to be the largest draw with lots of good players, and once again I’m eager and excited to get underway. This week I’m not staying with a host family, but instead at the Homestead Suites where the tournament was kind enough to comp my partner Trevor and I a couple rooms. Stay tuned for updates as the Nike Championships start tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!