Doubles in Ilkley

Taking a break during play in Ilkley, England.

Taking a break during play in Ilkley, England.

The singles matches ran late, pushing back our doubles encounter with the number four seeds. The conditions were hot and the grass courts were a little slippery from the moisture in the air.

The match was a strange one. The ball was skidding through the court, barely making it off the ground. This made returning serve virtually impossible, and subsequently service games were flying by with barely a rally. Unfortunately, we were the first to falter at 4-4, and we got broken. They held to take the set.

The second set was more of the same. We came very close to breaking at 4-4 ourselves but couldn’t quite get it done and before we knew it we had got broken ourselves, and the match was over 4-6 4-6. It was a disappointing result. Not because I felt we played badly but because I really thought we had a good chance of doing well in the tournament. Perhaps with a little more practice and matches together we can be more successful.

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Making the most of it

Practicing on the grass, getting ready for the next tournament.

Practicing on the grass, getting ready for the next tournament.

Following my match on Sunday, mentally I was in a bit of a bad place. I wasn’t thinking rationally and I was incredibly negative about everything. Honestly, when you’re on the road, in a hotel room, by yourself, it’s very easy to get negative. I felt like I had wasted a good opportunity and now I would have to pay for a hotel room for a week for nothing and just hang around and wait for the next tournament.

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Manchester Futures

The grass court that looked so appealing, but we were unable to use due to all the rain.

The grass courts that looked so appealing, but we were unable to use due to all the rain.

After practicing in London all week, I arrived in Manchester ready to hustle through three rounds of qualifying. Unfortunately, the afternoon before play started we were hit with a bit of a bombshell. Due to the rain and the cold weather, the groundsman felt that the grass courts needed a few days to dry out. Therefore, the qualifying rounds of the tournament were to be played on the synthetic courts.

The best way I can describe a synthetic court is terrifying. What they are is basically a carpet covered with a thin layer of sand. They are incredibly slippery. Unfortunately, I could only get a 30 minute practice in as there were so many players trying to squeeze a hit in on this foreign surface. I hoped that if I could somehow just get through my first two qualifying matches they might move play to the grass courts the following day.

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