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!
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