My upcoming trip will be a 3 week swing in Italy!
My Euro Prep! Italy, Switzerland and Milan
My upcoming trip will be a 3 week swing in Italy.
Hello everyone, I’m currently sitting in the Atlanta Airport as I wait to board my flight in a few hours. My first flight is to Newark, New Jersey and my second flight is to Geneva, Switzerland. Once I get to Geneva, I’ll take the train from there to Milan, Italy, and then I’ll transfer trains to Parma, Italy. It’s currently 8:18 am, and I’ll get into Parma the following day at 7:45pm (1:45pm US Eastern Standard Time). I’ll be in Parma approximately 29 hours from now. The flight to Newark is 2 hours and 15 minutes, the flight to Geneva is 7 hours and 45 minutes, Geneva Airport to Geneva Main Train Station is 6 minutes, The Geneva station to The Milan Station is 3 hours and 58 minutes, and the Milan Station to The Parma Station is 1 hour and 10 minutes. I’ll have around 9 hours and 45 minutes of waiting time in between travel (waiting to board flights, trains, etc). This travel day may seem extensive, but it’s actually not that bad. Try traveling to Korea or Australia, haha. Every single week from now leading up to the US Open is extremely important. The rest of the challenger level doubles guys and I will be competing for a US Open Wildcard. Evan King and I were lucky enough to get one last year, we will fight for another one this year. The wildcards are given to a mix of American singles guys and American challenger level doubles teams. Evan and I are currently the second highest ranked challenger doubles team. I’m 131 and Evan is 134. Unfortunately, I won’t be playing with Evan these upcoming 3 weeks because of schedule differences. I’ll be playing two weeks with Max Schnur. Max played his college tennis for Columbia, and he had a career high of 97 in the world two years ago. He injured his shoulder a little over a year ago, and he returned from injury a little over a month ago. He has a protected ranking around 140 in the world. The other guy I’ll be playing with is Hans Hach from Mexico. He’s also a very good player, and he is currently 138 in the world. I will be blogging quite a bit from now until after the US Open. I will be playing almost every week from now until then and there will be lots to talk about, there will be lots of lessons learned, and I’m sure it will be a fun journey to experience together. I’ll be writing a blog at least every Monday to review the tournament from the past week, and I’ll also be making additional blog posts whenever I see fit; I’ll create a large Facebook Group to update everyone on when new blog posts are available; I’ll post when I’m competing in American time incase you’d like to watch my matches live stream, and feel free to contribute tennis discussion to either the Facebook thread or the comment section under my blog posts. I would absolutely love to create a huge following, so if you know anyone that loves tennis and would be interested in following a story like mine, please invite them to the Facebook group. The biggest way that you all can help me is by spreading my blog to people that might be interested. The past 3 weeks have been spent trying to raise money, so I could afford this trip to Europe. I have also been working hard on my first volley, and my play making ability when I’m at the baseline hitting to volleyers. Regarding raising money, I had a fundraiser at the Atlanta Athletic Club earlier in the week. I am extremely grateful for the members there: Nathan Singleton, Jeff Chandley, Patricia Jensen, and everyone else that donated money or contributed in other ways to making the event happen. Without that fundraiser, I would not have been able to go on this Europe trip and continue to battle for US Open Wildcard positioning. In an ideal scenario, it’s my ultimate goal to find 6 people willing to donate 500 dollars a month, so I can just focus on tennis and breaking the top 100 rather than take weeks off to work or pull fundraisers together. This is why I’d be extremely grateful for you all to spread the blog to 1, anyone that is interested in tennis and loves to learn or 2, anyone that would take an interest in my story and is in a position to help. From the last blog, I have definitely improved my first volley and play making ability from the back. There are a couple of things that I feel have improved my first volley. First, I have to design around 60 percent of my practices to where I’m focused on first volley work. I hit them great when I’m making the conscious effort to simply hit a lot of them in practice. There are times where my focus turns towards other parts of my game, and my first volley level drops because I’m not hitting enough of them. First volleys are too foundational and important to doubles for me to hit them at a below average level, so a lesson learned for me is to never let that part of my game slip again. Second, an aggressive mindset is everything on my first volley. I have to have the mindset of “I can’t wait to hit a first volley, and I’m going to put it exactly where I want to.” When I have this mindset, I hit my first volleys very well. However, if I have the mindset “just make the volley,” I execute the shot at an average to below average level, or I miss the volley. It’s funny how much the proper mindset affects everything. As I practice my first volleys, it’s just as important to practice the proper mindset along with the physical practice. I have improved my play making from the back by changing the way I practice it. I am focusing on practicing without rhythm rather than practicing with rhythm. When hitting to my partner at net it’s my goal to keep the ball low, so he can’t angle the volley off; it’s my partners goal to hit quality volleys to me, so he doesn’t get attacked and put away the volley the first chance he gets. This forces me to hit quality balls, so my partner isn’t consistently putting volleys away. If we do the drill properly, each repetition should last anywhere from 2 to 6 shots. We are basically getting lots of reps in with the mindset of playing the point out. The worst thing we can do is hit a million balls back and forth to each other in a row because it’s not realistic to a match situation. It’s extremely important to practice exactly how we will play in the match rather than trying to do a drill for the sake of doing the drill. Hopefully my average blog won’t be this long. I had 3 weeks worth of things to catch everyone up on, which is why this post was a little bit excessive. I look forward to the travel day ahead, and I look forward so sharing my experiences, learning, and growing with all of you! See you next time.