Good day everybody! Hope you’re still enjoying the tennis at the Open as it heats up and enters its first weekend! We’ve seen numerous retirements/withdrawals as well as a few upsets to keep the tension and drama alive in both men’s and women’s draws. I’m particularly fond of Donald Young’s win against Stan Warwrinka today. 5th set tiebreak, he held his nerve, kept his ball in, and clinched a great victory. It’s great to see a story like this because all the U.S. commentators wrote Donald Young off as “the former future of American tennis”, and labeled him as “Never living up to expectations”. It shows that the men’s game truly has matured to a state where you need to grow physically and mentally if you want to win big matches, gone are the days when an 18 year old with 1 or 2 weapons can show up and win a Slam. I also think those comments made by the ESPN2 Network Commentators were foolish considering Donald Young is their countryman and shows a lot of passion on the court. I know I have no expertise on the issue but saying that someone had never lived up to his/her potential is just a very negative perspective, especially if you do not know exactly where someone comes from, what they’ve experienced, and what trials they’ve had to overcome just to be in the position that they are in.
Speaking of potential, I’ve been practicing with Alexandra Stevenson this past week, and she has the potential for big wins in her upcoming events on the East Coast too! The reason is because she still hits a HUGE ball! I’ve found that there’s your “junior” ball, lots of topspin, height over the net, etc. You have your “collegiate” ball, stronger, still has a lot of spin, and more consistent than the junior ball. Then you have your “pro” ball. Alexandra strikes this kind of ball with spin, but it penetrates through the court more than a very heavy topspin shot. I struggle during our cross-court rallies because the ball lands so deep and feels like I can’t control it off my strings because of the speed. It sort of explodes off the court, it lands and then accelerates. It’s tough to describe until you actually experience it. I feel like I have no time between shots, when I roll a ball to her, I expect to run because she’s going to take it early and drive it to a corner. I feel like I have to constantly back up and give up court positioning just to take a full swing at the ball, at which point I usually find myself having to run down a ball struck to the opposite corner! On the plus side, when somebody can produce power against you, you don’t have to generate your own power so much, so it’s nice to have rallies where the balls are just flying across the net at speeds much higher than what I had in college. So right now I’m trying to develop this pro ball by taking things early, driving through my shots rather than trying to roll them, and just “letting it fly” sometimes. I think pros aren’t afraid to miss, they believe they’ll make every single one of their shots, and they’ll never shy away from going after the ball. In college I learned how to keep the ball in, which resulted in some wins, but not all. But against players with weapons, keeping the ball in doesn’t cut it. To develop into a more mature tennis player, there’s a balance between being able to hit the heavy/high clay court ground strokes, and then the penetrating, flatter, and deeper shots that one most possess to have a threatening weapon. It’s been a fun learning process practicing with Alexandra and I’ve been able to apply some of the lessons learned to the rest of my practices with local Orange County juniors (with success!) so I’m going to miss her when she leaves.
I have made a switch to a new racket, I’ll update you soon when the shipment arrives! It definitely goes through the air faster and allows me to hit more effective shots. I’m still not trying to think about my upcoming tournaments yet, however I went to a local bookstore and purchased: The Inner Game of Tennis, and Open (Agassi’s) to keep my mind off tennis but also help train my mind for the upcoming struggles. I’m still excited to train, still treat everyday like it’s a new opportunity on court to get better and work my butt off until my game improves! I don’t see myself taking a day off yet, but I try to balance my practices so that I do have some downtime between them. Talk to you soon with more updates about this ongoing project of mine!
Trying to hit a bigger ball,