I’d be lying if I told you I had a good a week. To be completely honest, it was pretty terrible. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently in the process of changing a lot of things with my game— technique, strategy, court positioning, tactics, the list goes on. I actually just wrote out everything that David and I have been working on and it ended up being two full pages. I agree with all of the changes he’s making, but things aren’t always clicking. I doubt I’ve been the most fun to work with this week…. Just ask my parents how I get when I’m frustrated about things. Particularly tennis. I wouldn’t classify myself as psychotic, but I think there’s plenty of people who would recommend I go see a therapist if they came and watched some of my practice sessions.
On top of this, Matt and I have been in the process of finding and moving into a new apartment in Belgium. Between tennis, moving all of our stuff, and running around buying things for the apartment, it has been a pretty stressful and exhausting week. You should also ask my parents how I am when I’m tired (anyone that knows me can tell you I religiously take a daily nap haha). I’m no fun to be around and will snap at any little thing that rubs me the wrong way in about 0.2 seconds.
On the bright side, we’re finally moved into the new apartment. It’s a great location, only about a 5 minute walk from the tennis club. Here are some pictures below! From the outside (picture up top) it may not look so great, but the inside is quite cozy. It’s also nice having our own place close by. I’m sure David and his family will be happy to have some family time again. Everybody can use some “me” time here and there.
Last weekend after returning from Egypt, I experienced my first soirée (French for party) in Flémalle. David and his wife organized the event as a mixture of a recognition ceremony for his academy as well as a celebration of the year. The night started off with the traditional meal of Liège, les boulets liégeois (lapins ou tomates), and after dinner turned into a giant dance party. I got to meet a lot of the members of the club, perfect for me considering I could still count the number of people I knew in Belgium by name on one hand. It’s also nice to relax every now and then and remember to enjoy yourself. I know I can lose sight of this sometimes and get too serious on the court, so little reminders like this are good for me.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure when my next tournaments will be. Next week Matt is heading to India. Originally we planned on going together, but I’m not getting into qualifying anywhere. A change most people probably don’t know about is that the ITF (International Tennis Federation) mandated that the lowest level Futures tournaments change from $10,000 prize money to $15,000 with the idea that it would be better for the players. Though the prize money is a little better, some tournaments are getting cut because they couldn’t find the additional money to continue the tournament. Because of that, the level in all the other tournaments is now higher, meaning it’s harder to get in. Basically a big domino effect and the law of unintended consequences. So for those players who weren’t able to pick up points last year, it’s now difficult to even get into qualifying draws of tournaments to have a chance at getting a point. To give you an idea, I’m entering tournaments in 6 different places each week and not getting into any of them.
I also want to give a shoutout to Stephen Pobst (or Stevie P as I call him) from back in Louisville. Steve is a chiropractor, but he does way more than that. He’s a borderline superhealing shaman wizard. I started working with him two years ago after I had injured my back so badly that I couldn’t even walk anymore, but within two weeks Steve had me competing again. After that, I started seeing him once or twice a week whenever I was in town and haven’t been injured since. I could use some of his magic over here in Belgium because my body is getting beaten up from all the training. If any of you back home ever have a problem, he’s one of the best around.
Hopefully when you check back in a few days I’ll have some better news about the tournament situation! In the meantime, it’s back to work on the practice court and in the gym. If anyone is swinging through Belgium you have a free place to stay. I wouldn’t mind seeing some familiar faces.