Gatineau, World Team Tennis, Binghamton
It’s been a while since I last wrote, and I have a lot to catch everyone up on. There is Gatineau, World Team Tennis, preparation for Binghamton, and my mindset moving forward to write about. Maximilian Neuchrist and I lost first round in Gatineau after having 3 match points. We lost the first set 6-3, won the second set 6-0, and lost the tiebreaker 12-9. I was extremely frustrated after the loss because another tournament came and gone where I prepared well but didn’t have good results. Once the match finished, I gathered my things and left. I didn’t cool down, I didn’t stretch, and I even forgot my running shoes at the site because I left so quickly. Luckily Alex Lawson grabbed them and gave them to me at this week’s tournament. I booked the earliest flight I could to Orlando, Florida the following day. I honestly didn’t want to think about tennis or pick up a racket for a few days after the loss. I wasn’t planning on doing anything related to tennis except for gym.
Once I landed in Orlando. I got a text from Matt Elefant from World Team Tennis. He told me of an opening on The Washington Kastles on Thursday, a Friday, and possibly a Saturday. He asked me if I was available. I thought it would be a great opportunity to play considering World Team Tennis pays well per match, Id play in a fun environment, I’d have teammates, and I’d get to spend time with Dave Macpherson who coaches Isner and the Bryan Brothers. However, I was most looking forward to playing in a fun environment and having fun. I had been having tough results, and I felt more upset than usual after Gatineau. Me playing in a competitive, high pressure environment like World Team Tennis while having fun was exactly what I needed.
Our first match was against Springfield, Missouri. Yoshihito Nishioka and I played doubles together the whole time. Yoshi is currently ranked 73 in the world and has had really good wins over top players thus far in his career. This best results this year is a quarter final of the Sydney ATP 250 and the round of 16 in the Indian Wells 1000 event. We played against guys like Jean Julien Rojer who is ranked 13 in the world in doubles, and we played against Neal Skupski who is ranked 34 in the world in doubles. I was lucky enough to get Rojer’s number. I’ll use him as a resource and reach out for tips and advice as I continue my tennis journey. It was also a nice experience getting to play alongside Venus Williams in mixed doubles. She’s came across to me as easy going, light hearted and confident. In World Team Tennis, music is played in between both points and games. She was often dancing to the music and smiling. I’ve been lucky enough to hang around a lot of successful pro tennis players, and they all seem to act as normally as most other people in the world.
My last World Team Tennis match ended in New York, which worked perfectly because my upcoming tournament is in Binghamton, New York. Max and I play tomorrow. The schedule isn’t out yet, so if you are interested in watching our match, you will have to check the order of play online which will come out this evening. Max and I have been having great practices as always. We have been having our usual morning sessions where we work to improve our individual skills. In the afternoon, we look to find match play. We will record the practice set we play this afternoon and watch it later as a team. Our results haven’t been what we wanted them to be yet, but the only thing we can do is continue to work hard and believe. I reached out to Eric Butorac this past week to ask him about some of his hard times while on tour. He told me a story where he and his partner at the time, Chris Drake, was working very hard and lost 5 first rounds in a row at the challenger level. The next tournament on the schedule was a 150 plus H which is the highest level challenger there is, and they won it. The next week, Eric and his partner finialed their first ATP 250. Eric followed his story up by saying “You never know when you’re a week or two away from having a string of good results and erasing months of misery and frustration.” His words stuck with me because I feel like I've been working hard, I just have to do a good job of continuing to focus on getting better each day and staying optimistic. This plan may seem simple, but it is a lot easier said than done. I hope to update you all about good results after this week, and I will see everyone next time.