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.
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.
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.