March 26, 2011
Khon Kaen, Thailand
After over 36 hours of traveling I have finally reached my final destination of Khon Kaen, in the northeast of Thailand. My day and a half of travel was exhausting, taking 5 flights and waiting over 12 hours in an airport, 10 of which were spent in Bangkok waiting for my last flight. I arrived late Thursday night, met with my roommate/doubles partner for the three weeks (New Zealander Matt Simpson) and crashed the instant I laid down in bed.
I practiced twice yesterday (Friday) in order to adjust to the humidity of the Thai summer. The dense, wet air makes you sweat a ton and makes breathing sometimes a bit of a struggle, but each day I spend here I am getting more and more accustomed to the change in weather. I’m pounding tons of water and electrolyte-replacement drinks because the most important thing in a climate like this is to stay hydrated. As soon as you get dehydrated on the court your energy is zapped, your muscles stop working, and you can even get heat exhaustion and collapse. So it’s lots and lots of water for me!
Feels nice to be back in Thailand and around this beautiful, easy-going culture. Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles because of how happy, welcoming, and relaxed the people are. It is the only country in Asia to never be under foreign reign, and because of that you can feel the history and originality of the culture and the national pride of the people. It is important to “save face” in public for the Thais, and it is looked down upon to raise your voice, make a scene, and create a confrontation in front of people. They are care-free and relaxed. They drive like no one is around and walk like they have nowhere to go. And of course the food is absolutely incredible…personally my favorite cuisine in the entire world.
When I’m not on the court, eating, or sleeping, I’ve been spending my time walking the streets, reading my books, and watching BBC and soccer with Thai announcers on TV. This morning I woke up and hit the gym early to get in a light workout, did a number on the hotel’s buffet breakfast to fuel up for the day, all in preparation for my first round qualifying match this afternoon. I haven’t seen the draw yet, so my focus for the match is to keep a high first-serve percentage and play each point tough, regardless of what happened in the previous point. I don’t want the past or the future to affect the point I’m playing in the present.
Stay tuned for updates from the first of three Futures in Khon Kaen, Thailand…thanks for reading!!