We won our first match in the World Doubles Championship. 6/0 6/2 6/4 against Frank Filippelli/Bret McFarlane. Head professionals of Royal Melbourne Tennis club and Hobart Real Tennis club. We both feel comfortable on the court. We were only playing at about 60% effort. Tonight at 5pm, 1am back on the east coast is the big match against Steve Virgona & Chris Chapman. The winning team goes on to World Championship. I feel confident with my form and Rob looks in ominous form so we should be able to get the W tonight.
Rob and I pulled off a great victory in front of a very large Hobart crowd 6/5 4/6 6/0 0/6 6/5.
We started the first couple of games well. going 1/0 40/0 up having only lost 1point. We lost the game 2nd game from 40 love up and that lost our rhythm a bit. We soon found ourselves 3/1 then 5/3 down. Steve & Chris were playing well. to their credit. Steve was brilliant in front of the tambour and it was very hard to hit winners. They were also covering the main wall force when we missed lo very well. Hobart has a high ledge so you miss a lot of balls low where on other courts the ball would be on target for the dedan. We fought back with some solid play and forcing. Especially Rob who was finding his targets and we tied the set at 5all. Fortunately we were on the service end at 5 all with Rob serving. Rob served tightly and we were able to close the set out which would of been a sucker blow to Rob & Chris from the position they were in.
2nd set was a close set through out with all of us playing well and a lot of long rallies. At 4 all, Rob & I tried hard to close the set out we were unlucky to lose both games. Now at 1 set all Rob knew the 3rd set was incredibly important. We both played solid tennis. Especially Rob who was in a league of his own in that set. We were able to win the set 6/0. 2 sets to 1 up I realized I was only 1 set away from being in a World Championship. I was very nervy in the 4th set as I new the magnitude of this match. No many players have every played in a World Championship and it's what us professionals train for and dream of being in. In the 4th set I was receiving Chris Chapman's serve for the first time as the previous 3 sets I was serving and facing Steve's serve. I really struggled in this set and played poorly. We found ourselves 5/0 down and on the receivers side. Rob told me to leave every ball so we could change who we faced the serve from in the last set.
So now it was 2 sets all. Rob was in my ear with positive reinforcement almost every point. This really helped as my nerves went away and I was able to focus on the task. Steve served first in the last set so I started the return serve. I had struggled most the match with returning Steve's serve as he was serving such tight left handed railroads. In this set dealt with his serve much better. I also served really well to Steve and was able to put Steve under a lot of pressure. As the set went on the standard of tennis got better. Some of the rallies we insane. I remember at 3all 30 all, I ripped an awesome cut volley and thought for sure I was going to get a good chase or a point but Chris played the shot of match, as the ball hit the main wall Chris got his racket with perfect timing to send the ball back at pace straight in to the winning gallery. It was an amazing shot and a real blow to Rob and i as we were now game point down. We won that game and the next to now be 5/3 up. 1 game away from being in a World Championship. We were not able to close out straight away as Steve & Chris were not giving an inch and brought the match back to 5 all. I can tell you now I was certainly feeling nervous. I really wanted to win. we were on the receivers side and we won the first point to go 15/0 up. We lost the next 2 points to be 30/15 down. I saved my best 2 shots till the end. Steve served his railroad and volley the ball at a lot of pace straight in to the main wall then in to the dedan. The next ball i ripped my best cut volley of the match to get a chase of 1 & 2. I really don't know where I pulled those shots off from in the situation as I had not been great with those shots
all match. now it was 30 all, and I retuned another solid gut volley and then when the ball came back Rob popped the ball in to second gallery. So now we were changing ends with chase 1/2 and second galley to defend. I had served well all match and just needed two more good serves. I served my worse serve on the match with us having to defend chase 1&2. I put the ball on the back penthouse allowing Steve to turn so he good force the ball on his left hand. Fortunately for us he forced the ball on the back penthouse. Match point to Rob and I. This time I served a good serve and Steve put the ball in the net to great relief for Rob & I.
so now we have a day off before the World Championship. This is played over 2 days and the first pair to win 5 sets become World Doubles Champions. We take on the World Doubles Champions Camden Riviere & Tim Chisholm after they won their match last in 4 sets.
it's the first day of the Double World Championships. All four players are introduced on court by the MC. Already I can feel this is different from anything else I have played in. After a 10 minute warm up it's time to go. I feel nervous but excited nervous. Straight from the get go I was hitting the ball well. Some of the rallies were insane. It was a very tight first set but we weren't able to take it. Rob who is normally incredibly at hitting dedans out of nowhere was just off on some close points that could of made all the difference in winning that said had he been on. we lost the set 6/4. The next 2 sets were even tighter.
We unfortunately lost them both 6/5 6/5. We had a set pointin the 3rd set but Tim served another brilliant Giraffe that did not allow Rob to attack it and Tim sating only a few feet from the net smashed the ball away. The set point came and went and with it the set. the 4th set, Tim & Cam were on a roll and we tried to get our teeth in to the set but were not able to. After 3 really tight sets, the 4th set went easily to Cam & Tim. If just on of the first 3 sets went our way we may of been able to pinch 2 sets. So we go in to the final day with Cam & Tim needing only 1 set to become World Doubles Champions again.
On the final day with nothing to lose, Ron & I came out firing and had a 4/1 lead. Tim & Cam got it back to 4all. The next two games took forever but Rob & I took the set to and elated Hobart crowd 6/4.
We took the first game of the 6th set and went 40 love up in the next game but did not take it. From there Cam & Tim were brilliant and despite our best efforts we could not stop them. They were worthy champions and quite an incredible team.
Being involved in a world championship was such an incredible experience that not many have had the chance to be involved in. I was proud of the way I played and that I really stood up to the challenge of playing in a World Championship. This has given me so much more confidence in my playing ability and my mental strength. I am now looking forward to the Australian Open and feel i have a good chance of making a final with the way i am playing and thinking