Tim Smyczek defeats James Duckworth in the 1st round at the US Open. Photo by Cynthia Lum
Yesterday was an extremely long day for me. It started off with another first — our tournament car ran out of gas on the highway! Thankfully, we were able to make it over to the shoulder and not hold up traffic, but it was still a bit unnerving. And luckily someone who works at the US Open operations desk just happened to be driving by! He pulled over, popped his head out the window and said, “Do you guys need a ride?”
After we got to the site, I went through my usual routine (albeit a bit abbreviated). Then I had a quick bite to eat and started to prepare for my match. For me, this means gripping racquets, mixing electrolyte drinks and seeing the trainers for some treatment and stretching. Pretty soon it was game time.
My day started pretty early this morning. I woke up at 7:15 and caught my tournament car at 8am. I don’t play until the third match on after 11, but I had a warm up on Louis Armstrong at 10 (I wanted to hit on my match court and that was the time I had to do it). I made it to the site around 8:45 and saw my trainer from 9-9:30 (basically just getting stretched and some light soft tissue work). From 9:30-9:45, I got on the bike and did some dynamic stretching. Then it was time to walk a few hundred yards to Louis Armstrong from Ashe.
I had a great warmup from Ronnie Schneider, a freshman at UNC who I actually playdoubles against in the 1st round here this week. I typically go really light for pre-match warmups, but since I was hitting several hours before my match, I went for a full half hour. I probably have not sweat that much in a warmup in a long time!
After the warmup, I got a quick stretch in from my trainer, showered, and went to the dining room to grab some food. For a 3-5 set match I try to eat quite a bit, so I grabbed a plate and a half of pasta (with a small amount of sauce), some pretzels, and a few cliff bars (for the match). While I was relaxing after lunch, rain suspended all the matches. I’m currently just sitting in the player’s lounge just trying to relax and stay comfortable. I still have one more match to wait out before going on once play resumes.
Day 1 of the matches was quite eventful. I had a bit of a snafu with transportation, but I was able to make it to the courts in time for my practice. Usually, you call and book your car through the transportation office the night before, and your car is waiting for you outside the hotel. This morning, my car was nowhere to be found! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do my normal pre-practice routine, but luckily I didn’t miss my practice court.
Early in the week at the Open, the practice courts are a busy place. Almost everyone shares courts and there are only 45 minute slots. So, as you can imagine, it’s a hectic place. I got a good practice in with Steve Johnson even though we were pressed for time.
Afterwards, I headed to the player cafe for a little lunch. During tournament weeks, my diet is pretty strict. I make sure to have really balanced meals with plenty of lean protein, good carbs, and about as many veggies as I can fit in. They put in a new coffee bar in the lounge this year as well, so I topped it all off with a little iced coffee!
For my afternoon practice, my coach, Billy Heiser, and I went to a secret spot which I can’t reveal right now…we got in some feeding drills and worked on some specifics. I always like to have a couple practices a week like this. Billy has a great eye for the fine tuning what I need and I always feel better after we can get some of that work done.
After practice I got some treatment and a massage and headed back to the hotel. Just takeout for dinner after an exhausting day!