After taking some time off this fall, I was getting back into playing and training hard. Unfortunately, I have not had good luck as for the last 3 weeks as I have had pretty bad plantar fasciitis. I had a mild case several years ago, but this is really uncomfortable and limits my movement. I’m trying to do different things to heal it, but I am always on my feet coaching. Hopefully, something will work to get me back doing what I love. In the mean time, I tried a few of the new racquets and have feedback on that as I’m sure many of you are looking at some of the newer racquets out there.
As some of you know, I have been using Head Radical racquets since I was in middle school. The first racquet I playtested this fall was the Prince Tour 98 ESP. I chose this racquet as it was a similar weight to my Radical and is also pretty flexy. I tend to like racquets that are not too stiff. I could definitely tell a difference in spin on my shots from the 16×16 string pattern! I had nice control in a very comfortable package, but felt I was just not quite getting enough sting on my serves and forehands that I am used to. Continue reading →
I just want to start out by thanking everyone who’s made the past couple of weeks such an incredible experience. The outpouring of love and support has been both humbling and heartwarming. It’s such an amazing feeling to have so many people behind you.
Tim Smyczek at the US Open — photo by Cynthia Lum
Saturday night was a three and a half hour adrenaline rush. I’ve never been a part of something that special on a tennis court. I found it impossible to feel tired with a crowd like that carrying me the entire way. I can tell that feeling is addictive and I can’t wait to be in that same position again. I got chills every time the crowd started chanting, “USA, USA!” I wanted so badly to win that match for all the people cheering me on, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
There’s a reason that Pete and Andre and Andy used to love coming to New York every summer and I feel like I can in some small way relate to that. And I can’t wait to be back next year to do it all over again.
Well obviously I’m disappointed with the result of my first round match against Hewitt. However, I am proud of the way that I competed and felt that my level was pretty solid for the most part (especially for being my third tournament back after over 6 months off). I think my biggest issue was that I haven’t been able to train quite as hard as I’ve wanted to, and that forced me to play too aggressive in the final set. My legs just weren’t quite there and didn’t feel like I could extend a ton of the rallies. Another huge factor was that I didn’t serve well. I probably broke him enough to win two matches, but just never got a good rhythm on my serve. He obviously returns well, but I should never lose my serve that many times.
Brian Baker at the US Open — photo by Cynthia Lum
On the bright side, I’m still alive in the doubles with my good friend Rajeev Ram. We won our first match against the youngsters who won Kalamazoo earlier this month (Ronnie Schneider and Paul Oosterbaan). It was definitely an interesting match because Ronnie and Rajeev are good friends from Indianapolis and share the same coach, Bryan Smith. It was all business during the match, but I’m sure it was tough on Rajeev to play his good friend in his first US Open experience.
Today we play the 7 seeds, Benneteau and Zimonjic. They are a great team who has been in good form lately (won DC). However, Rajeev an I are a confident team and truly believe we can beat anyone out here if we play well. If we take care if our service games, we should be in good shape.
Time to go get on the bike and see my trainer before our 10:45 warmup. We play 2nd after women’s doubles, so we will probably go on around 12:30.
Tim Smyczek battled the rain delays and up-and-coming Aussie, James Duckworth, to win his first round match at the US Open. In his second round, he had to grind against fellow Athletic DNA player, Alex Bogomolov Jr., pulling out the win in five sets proving he was “born for this!” As he makes his way into the third round, let’s take a look at what this Athletic DNA athlete is wearing this week!
Tim Smyczek at the US Open — photo by Cynthia Lum
His apparel & gear:
For his matches, Tim is wearing the Athletic DNA Spring Victory Polo — a classic look with a modern edge. This polo features a ribbed knit collar with contrast tipping, three-button placket with a fun custom print, raglan sleeves and contrast mesh insets on sides to keep cool. He has paired that with the ADNA Summer Tournament Short in red. This lightweight woven short features an elastic waistband with an internal drawcord, an inner print and pockets for balls. Rounding out the look, with a hint of blue, Tim is wearing the adidas adizero Feather II’s. These shoes are comfortable, quick and high performing with a focus on multidirectional speed and support for aggressive movements — if you have watched Tim play, then you know why these are his current shoes of choice!
Tim’s weapon of choice on the court is the Dunlop Biomimetic F3.0 Tour. This racquet offers advanced players exceptional control from all areas of the court with a tight 18×20 string pattern that provides an extremely predictable and precise response. Baseliners with big swings are rewarded with controllable power with this one and it’s clear why this racquet works so well for Tim’s game.
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!
Well the time has come for all eyes in the tennis world to gravitate towards NYC. The first day of the 2013 US Open is here! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be back up playing in the main draw of both singles and doubles. For an American, it doesn’t get much better than playing here because the atmosphere is electric. The crowds are loud, the spotlight is always on, and opportunities are there to make dreams come true. I’m especially pumped because I’ve been watching tennis from the couch for most of the year due to the right knee injury I sustained during the Australian Open. This is my third tournament back and I’m ready to get after it. It’s also the 20 year anniversary of the 1st time time I visited Flushing Meadows. I definitely was a wide-eyed 8 year old whose dream was to one day to play in the US Open.
Today was Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open. The whole place was a zoo! Security was so high at the courts, I felt like I was at the airport.
I started my day off like I usually do on the training table, having a little work done. After I finished there, I had a great practice with Brian Baker. We grooved up the middle for 15-20 minutes and then played some points. I always love practicing with Bakes because he hits such a clean ball so it’s usually really easy to get a good rhythm.
After a little lunch, I had a good practice with Colin Altamarino. He’s coming off a great win at the US National Junior Championships at Kalamazoo and he’s a fellow Athletic DNA athlete.
Right now I am stuck in traffic by the midtown tunnel. I can’t think of too many things more frustrating than sitting in traffic. However we just saw a cab driver turn around and try to drive the wrong way on the shoulder of the bridge. Only in New York…
Just wanted to let you guys know how the semi-finals of the US Open National Playoffs went for me. The way I saw it, almost all of the pressure was on him to win since he was the top seed. I have been surprised with how well I have been playing recently, and it was time to just let it all hang out and do everything I could. At the same time, I was enjoying the tournament with such a fun setting.
My opponent, Jeff Dadamo, was a #1 player at Texas A&M, and was able to win the NCAA doubles title with Austin Kraijeck. On tour, he has won a few doubles titles, as well as being ranked in the top 500 for singles. I watched him play his match the other day, and he looked good. He plays a very aggressive game, with a huge serve. Whenever he gets a chance, he will go big on the shot. He has a one-handed backhand that he is content to chip a lot, but is capable of hitting big on that wing as well. To make matters worse, he is a lefty. I knew I would be able to be in the match with him based on groundstrokes, but the keys to having a chance to win would be returning serve, playing defense, and managing my own service games with smart play. Continue reading →
The US Open is just days away (I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!). Working at TW is always fun during the tournaments because we all have our favorites and are glued to the matches, so of course I wanted to know who the playtesters were picking to win it all this year! Check out their answers and let us know who you pick to win it all this year at Flushing Meadows!