New Place, Same Story….

November 14, 2010

Bangkok, Thailand

Good fortune was once again not on my side this week. I was unable to get into the final tournament here in Bangkok, making it the second time in as many weeks. Like I’ve previously said, I knew that not being able to get into the small qualifying draws was a risk that I was taking coming over here with no ATP points. However, it was also the small qualifying draws that gave me the best chance to get through and make it into the main draw to acquire my first points, like I did in Laos. Luckily, now when I go to tournaments in the future, no matter where they are in the world, I won’t have to worry about not getting in, now that I have my points that I got in Laos.

So this week has been pretty similar to the last…cheering on my travel buddies Brad and Charlie and maintaining my training and staying in shape the best I can. However, once Brad and Charlie are done (they got into the main draw of the doubles together), we are going to head to the beautiful southern islands of Thailand, take our minds off tennis for a bit, relax and recharge the batteries before we head back to the States. These three weeks on the road, having been in a foreign land, traveling from tournament to tournament and struggling to communicate with people with a mix of their native language and ours, has been tiring and exhausting, and it will feel good to relax and unwind for a few days before we have to worry about coming back to the States.

Even though I was only able to participate in the first of the three tournaments we traveled to, the trip has been a major success in my eyes, and a wonderful experience so far! First of all, acquiring my first two points in one of my first Futures tournaments was awesome, and something I wasn’t necessarily expecting to come so quickly. And as I said, now when I travel I will not have to worry about getting into tournaments because I’ll always be able to at least get into the qualifying draws with a couple ATP points. Secondly, it’s been my goal each time I step onto the court to get one day or one match better, and I can definitely say that coming out of the tournament in Laos I’m playing the best tennis I ever have and have learned a lot that I can use in my future travels. I’m learning what it takes to be prepared and successful here on the road. I’m learning different ways of transportation in foreign places, how to find ample food and water that I need to stay healthy and strong, and how to maintain a positive daily routine, all to keep myself as centered and focused as possible in my constantly changing surroundings. That was something I struggled with during the summer along the Pacific Northwest circuit, and I feel that I’ve definitely gotten a lot better at staying prepared and somewhat sane on the road.

The experiences here have been some that I’ll remember forever, and that ultimately is what makes this trip a success to me. One of the things I’m very blessed and fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to do is to travel the world and experience all these new places, and each day on the road I’m trying to take it all in, get immersed in the different cultures as best I can, and make the most of every moment. The people I’ve been traveling with and meeting over here have been awesome, and a big reason why the experience has been so great! Brad and Charlie have been so great to travel with, as they have been so fun, easy going, and as into the experience and the immersion into foreign culture just as I am. The players I’m meeting at the tournaments have all be awesome too! Everyone has been so respectful and welcoming, on and off the court, which has been a nice change from the “cutthroat” attitude that surrounds a lot of the American tournaments.

So after the islands, I’m coming back to the States…and then thinking, what next?? I’ll play a couple money tournaments in December, one in Southern California and one in the Seattle area to stay match tough and (hopefully) build up the bankroll a little bit. Then, January is a little undecided. I’ll either get in a month of good training in Southern Cal and hit the road in February to some Futures in the US, or leave the country again in January and start the Futures right after the first of the year, either coming back to Asia or down to Central America. After my success in Laos I’ve been so excited to keep playing and see how much more success I can have, especially now that I have a couple points that will give me a little better chance at getting through qualifying and into main draws.

So stay tuned for an update on my journey through the southern islands of Thailand! I want to thank all of my friends and family who have been following my journeys and have showed their support and love! Knowing I have an awesome support base back home really helps on the road, and I am very grateful!! Thanks for reading…

-AG