May 9, 2011
Redondo Beach, CA
These past couple weeks have been an attempt to recharge my batteries and get ready for my summer swing of tournaments. Following my return from Thailand, I competed in The Ojai Open, a classic Southern California tournament that has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. They hold the junior divisions, the PAC-10 and a couple other college divisions, and the open division all at the same time in the tiny tennis hub of Ojai, California. Voted the best tennis city in the west, the entire 8,000 person town revolves around the tournament for the weekend, coming out to watch the matches and treating the players like royalty. I’ve been playing the tournament since I was 13 years old, and it continues to be a favorite of mine to this day.
In the singles draw, I lost 7-5 6-1 in the round of 16 to Slavko Radman, a tall Croatian who used to play for the University of Louisville. The big serving Radman won a couple key points at the end of the first set, began to catch fire after that, and ran away with the second set and the match. In the doubles, my partner Zeke Hindle and I won a round before losing to the team of Gary Sacks and Aaron Webster, 2-6 6-3 6-4. We came out on fire in the first set, but I felt that I personally got a little tight in the second set when victory seemed close at hand, and we let them back in. We played a close third set, but a couple of bad breaks and an incredible shot by Sacks later and we were broken to go down 4-5 in the third, only for our opponents to serve out the match in the following game. I have played doubles a couple times with Sacks recently (in the Calabasas Challenger last October and in Canada in February), so there was that added storyline as well.
Following the Ojai tournament I felt I needed a little break from the game, and took a week off. My back and knees had been giving me problems, and I wanted to give my body a chance to heal up before a brutal swing of tournaments this summer. In addition to the physical aspect, I felt my mind needed a break from the game as well. I feel like I have been letting the game affect my well-being off the court a little too much, riding way too high following wins and really letting the losses get me down. When the game gets too emotional it’s hard to play relaxed and think rationally out on court. Once your emotions get in the way, it’s hard to keep them in check during a match and they affect your performance far too much.
I needed some time away from the game in order to gain a little perspective, to realize that tennis is only a game, and there is more to me as a person than my wins and losses. In the coming weeks I want to allow myself to be much more relaxed on court by keeping that frame of mind on court, working hard and dedicating myself but detaching my SELF a bit more from how I play on the court.
So this week I’m back to training hard. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on my road bike, as it’s something I really enjoy, is easy on my body, but at the same time is great conditioning. I’ll be preparing for two Futures events in Northern California in June (Sacramento and Chico), and then the Pacific Northwest circuit that I played all last summer, which will go until the beginning of August. I’ll be playing 12 tournaments in 12 weeks! It’s going to be a great stretch of tournaments, but it’s going to be a lot of tennis that I have to make sure my body and mind are ready for. Stay tuned as I prepare for summer.
Thanks for reading!!