You’re probably wondering how I ended up in Paris. In a last second decision I decided to come here to train at a small academy outside of the city with Sebastian Proisy, the coach I met in Egypt that started helping me towards the end of my last trip there. I really liked some of the changes he made in a few short days, so I thought it would be good to come here for a couple of weeks of proper training before heading back out on the road.
I was completely unprepared for the Antarctic weather in Paris, mainly because I had planned on going home after Egypt so I had absolutely no winter clothes packed. Kinda hard to stay warm when you thought you were going to be in a desert for a few weeks. Fortunately my parents were able to ship me some things to stay warm, but we would have been better off just having me buy those things in Paris. Don’t ask us about the cost. If I could insert the facepalm emoji here I would.
I’ve been in Paris two full weeks now. Between training and visiting the city in my free time I’ve been running around nonstop, but I feel like my game has made some big improvements with the help from Seb. Here’s what a typical day looks like:
7:30 Wake up and have breakfast
8:30 Get picked up for practice
12:30-2:00 Lunch, shower, and rest
4:45-5:15 Stretch, shower, and head home
I’m absolutely dead by the end of every day, but it’s been great for my tennis and conditioning. When I first saw the schedule I was a bit worried about my body holding up because of my history with injuries, but so far I’ve stayed in one piece (as far as I know). The main thing Seb and I have been working on is the mechanics, rhythm, and toss for my serve. Any of my coaches over the past few years can tell you nightmare stories about the hitches in my serve, but the things Seb has had me work on are making a huge difference and my serve is starting to click again. It’s only the most important shot in tennis so I’m pretty pleased about that.
I got a nice surpise last week when Seb told me I would get to practice with Stefanos Tsitsipas, a Greek player currently number 80 in the ATP World Tour rankings. I had been a hitting partner at the Cincinnati Masters Series before, but I had never truly gotten to practice with a player of his level. I was only able to practice with him for two days, but those practice sessions were a huge help. People don’t realize how good these guys in the top 100 are. They’re able to hit the same spot over and over again while absolutely tagging the ball, so getting to train against that level was awesome. Stefanos was also super helpful and gave me some tips at the end of the week. Best of luck to him the rest of the year!
It was also a nice surprise when I found out my friend Kanika would be coming here to train at the same time as well. After Egypt she had gone home to Singapore, but a few days later she told me that she would be coming to work with Seb since he has started traveling with her and coaching her on more of a full-time basis.
Last weekend we were able to go out and see Paris. Honestly it might have been more tiring walking around the streets of Paris all day than running around the tennis court for hours. On Saturday we went to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica situated atop Montmartre. We made the poor decision of climbing 300 steps to the top of the dome in the church, but the views from up there were amazing. Afterwards we trekked our way over to Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s crazy to think they were able to build such elaborate and ornate structures hundreds of years ago.
Sunday was another day full of sightseeing. We woke up early in the morning to get to the Eiffel Tower at opening time and went up to the top for a view overlooking Paris. It was absolutely freezing so we only spent a couple minutes outside, but it was well worth it. After that we pretended to be art snobs for the day and made our way through the Louvre, Musee D’orsay, and Musee de L’orangerie taking in some of the classic artwork of Monet, Degas, and Cézanne. Of course we also saw the famed Mona Lisa, but to be completely honest it was pretty disappointing. To finish off the day we ventured over to the Palais Royal before calling it quits and heading home.
For me the highlight of the weekend was the food. It’s a good thing I don’t live in France because every other store is a bakery or pastry shop with shelves full of heavenly goodness. If I lived here year round it’s safe to say my diet would consist of beignets, eclairs, and chocolate. I need to wear blinders when I go walking through the streets because some of the food is irresistible.
The last place left to visit was the Chateau de Versailles which was absolutely spectacular. I didn’t realize it, but we had passed by it several times already when we took the train into Paris. The castle itself is absolutely humongous and definitely a bit gaudy, but it’s an impressive site to see. I can only imagine how beautiful the gardens are in the spring and summer when everything is in full bloom.
Today is my last day in Paris before flying out to Portugal tomorrow morning. I was supposed to go to Japan, but I completely blundered the visa situation. I thought I needed a working visa but turns out I could have acted under a tourist visa so live and learn. I guess Portugal isn’t such a bad place to be. After the first week there I’ll either stay in Portugal or head to Japan or California for some tournaments depending on the entry lists. I’m still not sure when I’ll finally get to head back home, but if I ever get my schedule figured out I’ll be sure to let all of you know. Missing everyone back home!