Morelos and Calgary
Updated: Mar 13, 2020
Max and I lost first round last week in Morelos, 6-4, 4-6, 10-5. The loss was the most painful of the year for me because I fully expected to at least make semifinal or better. We made two semifinals in a row our most recent tournaments, we prepared well for Morelos, and we felt that playing in altitude suited our style of doubles. I felt like all the ingredients were there to have a great tournament, so it leads to extra disappointment when expectations aren’t met. After the loss, I remember feeling like I was far away from achieving my goals this year; however, I also know it only takes one good week to feel back on track. This emotional roller coaster ride is common, and its what every player on tour goes through from week to week. The key is to continue steadily improving throughout the year, although the ups and downs can make it tough. This process we go through to reach our goals includes feelings of fulfillment, fun, excitement, hope, anger, discouragement, pain, and anxiousness. It’s an exciting ride, thats for sure.
Since losing last Wednesday, I took the next two days off and didn’t think about tennis. On the third day, I watched the match, took notes, and designed a practice plan of things to work on for the week. I initially thought that both Max and I played poorly to lose last week; but after watching film, I realized that we did a lot good things. The majority of our holds were easy and dominant, and we got into their service points more often than I initially thought. We just didn’t capitalize once we neutralized the point. I didn’t play well off the ground, on my second shot specifically, after getting the return in play. I also didn’t volley as well as I normally do in 2 up vs 2 back situations. I got a handful of flex opportunities while at net that I didn’t capitalize on. A flex volley is when my opponent has a chance to hit much bigger shot at me because he’s addressing a weak ball or he’s in an offensive position on the court. When flex volleying, I try to watch my opponents racket because it gives away the direction he’s hitting his shot. After projecting where the ball may go, I have to try and perfectly time the volley to execute on the play. I don’t expect myself to make every flex volley, but I expected myself to make more than I did. There were two return games in the second set where making a play on a flex volley would have given us two break points in a row. Facing break points is a difficult feeling for opponents to play with. If I would have flexed and played better on second balls, our chances of breaking in the second set would have been much higher. On the bright side, I served and returned well. I just didn’t do everything else as well as I normally do. This isn’t something I’m going to panic about. Me flex volleying and playing second and third shots off the ground has always been comfortable for me and one of my strengths. Out of all the matches we play throughout the year, we may not execute our strengths the way we’re accustomed to. It’s a part of being on tour and playing a lot of matches in varying conditions.
Ill continue primarily focus on improving my serve and return everyday. Since last Monday, I’ve been adding an additional practice on top of the two I normally do daily. I’ll continue finding a guy to practice serves and returns with for an hour. 50 percent of my points are played returning. The bottom line is I need to continue making the effort to hit a large amount of returns everyday. My returns feel great right now because of the extra reps. Even when I miss returns, they still feel good and don’t miss their intended target by much. My serving has continued to improve ever since starting my serve journal and making it a primary focus each day.
I’m currently in Calgary, Canada. Max and I are in the quarterfinal after winning our first round on Tuesday. I served and returned the best I have all year. It’s an exciting feeling when I execute well on things I strive to improve on. We play 5th match on after 11:30. I think we will likely go on around 5:00pm. See you next time!