June 20, 2011
Just finished up a good weekend up here in Medford, Oregon, at the Rogue Valley Open. I reached the semifinals in the singles draw before losing to University of Portland player Michael Hukwo of China, 3-6 6-2 6-3. I reached the finals of the doubles draw with my partner George Jecminek of Vancouver, Canada, where we lost to the local legend Jon Endrikat (UC Irvine standout) and Curt Wheeler of Salem, OR
Talk about a first class event! This tournament was run as good or better than any professional event I have ever played. A large portion of the Medford tennis community was out for the entire weekend supporting the tournament and the players, and was provided with food, beer, and wine the whole time. Players were treated unbelievably well, with free meals everyday, incredible support, and great prize money. One of the reasons this Pacific Northwest circuit is so special and so much fun to play is how well they treat the players, and the amount of support you get as a player from the local tennis community. The clubs have been preparing for their tournament for the entire year, and the club members love watching good tennis and getting to know the players over the weekend. My good buddy Jon and his wife Kayleen are putting me up in their home as well, making life as comfortable and as easy as possible.
It feels so good to be back here in the northwest for the summer. Though I didn’t do as well as I would have wanted in the tournament, I’m already having a lot more fun than I was playing the Futures event. The business-like feel and intensity from the Futures events is replaced by an easy-going, fun-loving atmosphere here in the northwest. You’re seeing the same guys every week at these tournaments, and everyone is extremely friendly with each other. In between matches and in the evenings, your relaxing and hanging out with the same guys that you go compete with during the day. The tennis community is also extremely appreciative of the good tennis. I had an older gentleman whom I had never met come up to me while I was eating lunch, tap me on the shoulder, look me in the eyes, and tell me with heartfelt sincerity that he was so happy and thankful that I was able to make it up to the tournament. That kind of appreciation for the players and the tennis makes it a lot of fun.
I now have a couple days off before the next tournament begins on Thursday in Roseburg, just an hour up the I-5. I played a lot of tennis on Saturday (two 3-set matches and a doubles match), and the 3-set doubles final yesterday, so my body is pretty fatigued. I will lay low today, relax, and recuperate, and see a little bit of Medford. Tomorrow I intend to drive out to Crater Lake and do some hiking, and maybe get a light hit in. Then Wednesday will be a longer practice, and then back out competing on Thursday. Stay tuned for updates from the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Thanks for reading!