‘Tis The Season

How there’s only 25 more days until Christmas and one month left in 2017 is absolutely beyond me. I feel like I just pulled into the driveway on my way home from Canada. I’ve basically been on the road nonstop since then, so I’ll do my best to catch you up on everything!

When I returned from Canada I had the opportunity to play in an exhibition match at Big Springs Country Club with Eric Quigley. The head pro there, Alladin, had asked us a few weeks prior if we would be able to participate and fortunately the scheduling worked out. Every now and then it’s nice to step out on court with no pressure on the line and get to entertain a little bit. It was a great atmosphere to play in considering there’s almost never anybody watching on the road. Of course Eric and I still wanted to win, and I ended up coming out on top. Eric kept throwing around excuses about how he had his wedding a few days before and was looking for a job blah blah blah. You know how people are when they lose (Just kidding Q!).

exhibition

Following the exhibition I played in the State Closed where I lost in the semifinals of singles to my old teammate Albert Wagner and in the finals of doubles. I was pretty disappointed with this showing because I felt my tennis dropped a bit. I also missed out on extra money, and I’ll never complain about some extra prize money to help cover my expenses. To be completely honest with you all, I was scheduled to leave for Egypt only a few days after this tournament, and I was seconds away from cancelling the trip. However, I decided that I needed to tough it out and keep playing tournaments. It doesn’t matter how well I train if the tennis isn’t coming out on game day.

After a couple of days back training I returned to Egypt much to the dismay of my family. I know. Egypt again, right? You’re probably wondering why I don’t just live there year-round at this point. It was the best decision for my tennis at the time, and I knew some other Americans going as well so I wouldn’t be completely alone.

I ended up staying for four tournaments in Egypt, and each week I played progressively better and the results showed. I don’t want to bore you with all of the tennis details as I’m trying to fit 2 months worth of hitting fuzzy yellow balls around in this post. The highlights were I ended up losing in the first round of main draw twice. You’re probably wondering why this is a highlight if I lost. Well, these were my first main draw matches in a looong time, and since my injury this summer my tennis had been struggling.

The last week I was there I by far played my best tennis. I rolled through qualifying and in the first round was playing the 6 seed, a Ukrainian ranked 644 world in the world. After losing the first set I cruised 6-1 in the second and was up 4-2 in the third with 0-40 on his serve. Anyone who knows anything about tennis would tell you I was in prime position to close out the match and get my first ATP points. Unfortunately, I squandered that opportunity. I had 0-40 again at 4-4 on his serve and once again couldn’t convert. Ultimately I lost 6-4 in the third set, so I’m back to chasing those elusive first points.

Everyone I’ve talked to has asked me if I think I got tight or if I choked or was it too much pressure, and I can honestly say no. Of those 6 break points, I only had one point that I can look at and say I absolutely should have won that point. So did I choke that one? Maybe. But my opponent is a very good player and came up with big serves and shots when he was in a hole. This loss still stings, but I look at it and know I have the level to start competing day in and day out again. It was the first time since April of this year I had felt that way.

As usual, I made some new friends in Egypt. There were a couple of Canadians that came along as well as some other college players. Shoutout to Antoine LeDuc for putting up with my shenanigans for an entire month. I didn’t think it was possible to find someone else as insane as me but you succeeded. A group of us would usually go watch our friend Kanika play at night and cheer her on. Check out the pic below for the best cheerleading squad around. We coined ourselves Kanika’s Kamarades. Maybe if she makes it big time she’ll have some fanboys across the world.

kamarades

I finished off the year with two more tournaments in the states. In a questionable decision on my part, I drove down to Pensacola only three days after returning from Egypt. The plan was to play a wildcard tournament and then stay for either qualifying or main draw depending on how I did. I won my first two matches before losing in the quarters of the WC tourney, but then my knee flared up. I ended up having to withdraw before qualifying began and came home.

The next week was spent deciding if I would play in Columbus or not because of my knee. If I didn’t get in, no big deal, but I decided I would play if I was able to and then take some time off afterwards. My friend Jarryd Woog came up for the week to train with me, and we also roomed together in Columbus. Do you see where this is going yet? As the tennis gods would have it, he and I drew each other in first round of qualifying. He got the W with a 6-2 4-6 7-6 win.

As you can imagine, the past couple months have been an absolute blur for me. I was on the road for 6 weeks straight and only home for a couple of days here and there. Luckily when I came back from Egypt I got a little down time over the weekend and went up to Columbus for my good friend Mackenzie Eichengreen’s birthday. We had a blast barhopping on the pedalwagon, eating some awesome local cuisine, and dancing the night away to celebrate her 24th.

macbday

I also got to be in town for one of the first holidays in quite some time. In the past years I can’t even begin to count the number of birthdays, banquets, and other events I’ve missed because of tennis. I think everyone got wind of me being around for Thanksgiving, though, because none of my other cousins came back into town. Guess I’ll have to keep my plans to myself if I want to see them next time.

Right now I’m currently taking some time off to rest and rehab my knee, something I should have done a while ago considering it has been bothering me since late July. So far everything is on schedule and I should be back out on the courts practicing in a few days. The plan is to play a couple of tournaments in December scattered in with my offseason training to get ready for 2018.

Thanks to everyone who has kept in touch and followed my results as I’ve been on the road! There are days I wouldn’t get through without you all so I appreciate the support. Hope everyone survived the Black Friday madness and is looking forward to the holiday season!

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