French Open 2018
My preparation for this tournament has gone well.
I have trained hard with Michael Cecchi and recently had Ryan Harry, the Head Tennis Professional at ITHF join me in my sessions to help push me even harder. We have also been doing BoxFit every Tuesday at 6.15am which is a great cardio workout. I wanted extra fitness seesions leading up to the French and with Mike in high demand I used one of his PT's, Kevin Davis who is brilliant trainer. We worked hard on improving my hip strength.
The French Open looks good for me singles and doubles. With no Camden, it really opens up the dr aw. It looks like if it goes to seeding, I will play Steve Virgona in the QF. I really fancy my chances against him as it's a good court to serve a rail road and really ties Steve up with my serving. Kieran Booth beat Steve in Paris in straight sets last year. I am playing doubles with Rob Fahey and we are the no 1 seeds. I am determined to play well in this after my poor showing in the UK pro doubles final
I won my match against Louis Gordan 6/2 6/1 6/2. I didnt play great but I was obviously good enough. I went to sleep at the end of the match where is was 5/1 40 love up anf lost that game. The big match against Steve Virgona tomorrow. Its the same time as todays match. Im looking forward to this, win or lose. I just want to enjoy myself on the court. Thats the only way for me to play my best. For playing Steve, the key is to serve my railroad well and return the serve well. If I can do that, I will have a good chance of winning.
my game plan against Steve was to serve my railroad for first and second serve. I was willing to risk double faulting as I didn't want Steve to be able to turn and attack me with his forehand. On the return of serve side was to hit my cut volley and then either chip a gallery or force for the dedan. I didn't want to get stuck in long rallies.
The first set against Steve I lost 6/2. I felt I hadn't played badly and the set was closer than the score line. I was able to put Steve under pressure with my serve and I was getting Steve to hit the balls where I wanted them to go. I was just missing my targets and getting a few unlucky breaks. I went in to the second set with a good mind set. I told myself to keep doing what I am doing and I would soon convert my opportunities. Sure enough, I went 5/1 up in the second set. I relaxed slightly and Steve upped his game and started making a comeback but I was able to close the set 6/4.
In the 3rd set I thought played well but suddenly found myself 5/1 down. I said to myself, lets win a couple games to go in to the 4th set with some momentum. Sure enough I found myself at 5/5 and hadn't had to face a set point. I was able to take the 3rd set from an impossible situation.
I needed a quick bathroom break as my problem from last tournament had come back, it was not nearly as bad as last time but it was annoying me. I started the 4th set well. I was 2/1 up but really should of been 3/0 up. Steve then went 4/3 up with every game being close. Then I took a 5/4 lead so I was only 1 game away from winning this match. Steve in the next 2 games played really well. I was stuck at the receivers side at 4/5 but got a chase at 40 love down. Steve tied the set at 5 all but I at least had the serve which is where I had been winning most of my points. I lost the first point on an easy error. I then won the next point to make it 15 all. Steve then managed to get 2 chases. He served well when we changed ends at I ended up losing the set.
In the 5th set I won the first game before Steve fought back. He upped his intensity but I was ready for whatever he threw at me but Steve still went 4/1 up. I won the next game to make it 2 /4. The following game I was 4/30 up defending chase secondly gallery. I chased a ball down and got it comfortably and won the point.. Expecting the marker to go game he said not up won the chase. I was livid as he had just robbed me of massive point that would of won me the game. I asked him how on earth could he call that down. It wasn't even close. I did regain my composure. We had a long deuce game but I did not win it the game. Steve went 5/2 up when it should of been 3/4 with momentum in my favour.I lost the set 6/2 and the match. I was disappointed that I was so close but also proud of the way I played and conducted myself on court. I know now for sure they on my day I can beat anyone and breakthrough tournament is just around the corner.
Rob & I won our QF doubles match against to talented French players with a lawn tennis background.. It wasn't pretty but that didn't matter as we just wanted to get the job done. We will have the SF tomorrow at 5pm against Ben Taylor Matthews and John Lumley. This will be a very hard match but if we play well, we should win.
We lost the doubles semi final in 4 sets. 5/6 6/2 2/6 5/6. We didn't play too badly in this match. Losing the first set after going 5/3 up put us on the back foot. we fought back to win the second. From then on the other 2 played great. Especially Ben whose defending from out forcing was incredible. We literally through the kitchen sink at him and he kept getting the ball back. it became so hard to hit winners, especially with the court being so bouncy. It was fitting with the way Ben & John played against us that they went on to win the Open Doubles.
I am ready to get back to the US now. More tournaments to come but I am going to need a few more visits to the doctor as I am still in pain when I play. I think surgery might have to happen after British Open as I cannot go on much longer competitively being in pain with this issue.