Jan 15, 2013
So it is 2013 already. It even sounds weird just writing it out. It feels like just yesterday I hit the tour. I have had my fair share of struggles out here. There have been ups and downs. The majority of those being downs to be honest. I floated around 800 in the world for the most part of the past three years. I struggled to win a round or even qualify at the smallest of tournaments. Positivity wasn't something that was in my bag of tricks. All the confidence I had after winning the NCAA tournament in 2009 had disappeared within weeks of turning pro. I beat myself down and treated the sport like it was everything in life. If I won, I was happy. If I lost, I was down for the next week until I played again…and I was losing a lot. My mindset was my biggest mistake. The minute I stopped taking the sport so seriously and got back to the basics, things started to look up. When I say "stopped taking the sport so seriously", I don't mean that I stopped caring. Tennis is a sport, and one that I love. I will always care. It is also a blessing to have the ability to play the game at a high level. However in the big scheme of things, tennis is in fact just a sport. It doesn't make you a good person to be a great tennis player. It doesn't guarantee you happiness to be a great tennis player. In reality it doesn't mean a whole lot besides that exact thing: you are a great tennis player.
I can remember the day that it hit me. I was sitting in Shenzhen, China the first week of January 2012 after a loss in the quarters of a $15,000 futures event. I was going crazy on the court during my match. My racket was flying around like it was some sort of makeshift frisbee. You probably could have heard me from ten courts away. I wasn't making myself or anyone else that I represent look good. I didn't feel good about myself or my game. I sat down after the match and was thinking to myself that something had to change. I couldn't continue the way things were going. I took a look at all I had done to get to this point. I wanted to win about as badly as anybody, but I just couldn't get it done. I was exhausted, and it was the first week of the New Year. I wasn't happy. Period.
So I decided that I needed to get things in the proper order in my life before I could really enjoy the game again. That order, for me, is a simple one: God, family, friends, and then tennis. I know not everybody shares the same beliefs, so maybe your priorities aren't identical to mine. Either way I think it is key to have your priorities in order. I had it all backwards until this point. I had tennis at the top of the totem pole. Thinking about that now still makes me shake my head. The minute that I put the big guy back to number one where he should have been all along, I started to feel better about myself. I felt like I was doing good for the first time in a long time. What I am trying to say is that it is easy to get wrapped up in all the hype of sports (or whatever your profession may be). Just remember that it isn't everything. Your profession will never define who you are as a person. Your profession will only define what you do as a person.
Those are my words of wisdom for you from this past year. I hope that it can be of some use to you, and if not, I appreciate you hearing me out. I am currently in Maui, Hawaii this week for a $50,000 event. I am going to start posting regularly again so stay on your toes. Don't expect the posts to be this deep on the reg. I am more about good times. I figured I would just share a little bit about my 2012 with you guys. I don't take our blogger/blog-reader relationship lightly. I am kicking off my first round here tomorrow against Rhyne Williams (USA) second after 10am. Tune into the ATP/WTA app or website for live scores. I will also keep you all up to date on the action. Happy belated New Year.
All the best,
Oct 14, 2012
Well singles didn't go as I would have hoped. I lost in the quarterfinals to Daniel Garza (MEX) 6-3 6-4. He played a pretty solid match, but I definitely didn't bring my best to the table. The good news is that Austin Krajicek and I won the doubles final 6-4 7-5 against Chase Buchanan (USA) and Carsten Ball (AUS). I pretty much give all the credit to our cheering section for the week (pictured below). My sister Katie and her friends always bring the intensity. My mom took the picture, but she belongs in there as well. I have to give her some side credit. Doing well in front of my family is always nice. It is also always nice to walk away with a title. It is a scientific fact that winning never gets old. That is just sports for you. I definitely felt the mental fatigue kicking in a little bit during this tournament though. It is easy to get tired after multiple weeks on the road. I was lucky enough to finish here on Friday though so I had a couple of days to take it easy before next week's battle in Mansfield, TX.
Now let's move to the day off activities. My first priority on Saturday morning was to find an insane breakfast. Nothing spells good day off like a huge tasty breakfast. I ended up having some pumpkin pancakes that absolutely blew my face off they were so good. It was pure magic from the first bite. I am not a huge pumpkin person, but these things were unreal. That just goes to show you that you shouldn't judge a book by it's title. Something like that anyways. My second priority was to watch some college football and pretty much do nothing for the rest of the day. Let me just tell you first hand, the mission was accomplished. Sunday on the other hand, I was rested up and wanted to see some of what Austin, TX has to offer. My sister came up big and got us tickets for the Austin City Limits music festival going on in town. It has pretty much taken over the city. It was one of the more cool experiences I have had. There were a bunch of different great groups playing. There was a ridiculous amount of people there as well. People watching was about as prime as I have ever seen. Overall it was pretty awesome.
I had a great weekend, and now I am ready to get back to work. I am making the three and a half hour drive to Mansfield, TX first thing tomorrow morning. I am looking forward to getting there and hitting some balls. I will post again tomorrow for the first Mansfield future update. For now though, I have to get some sleep. I hope that you all had equally awesome weekends. Thanks for reading along and for all the comments. You guys are the bomb.
All the best,
Oct 10, 2012
It was a long day at the Polo Tennis Club (pictured below - new iPhone panoramic update aka sweetness taken by my sister Katie) here in Austin, TX. It rained early on in the day around 7:00am. There was a lot of cloud cover and drying was a pretty big hassle. Matches were supposed to start at 10:00am but ended up starting at 12:30pm. Rain delays always make for long days. I ended up going on for my singles match against Eric Quigley (USA) at around 2:15pm. It was a pretty up and down match for the most part but I was lucky to squeeze it out in the end 6-1 2-6 7-6(4). I started off pretty solid, but a couple of missed break opportunities early in the second set hurt me. He played a solid return game to break at 2-2 in the second and the momentum was lost. He started to play better all around, and I knew I had my hands full then. I let my frustration get the best of me and lost six straight games to go down 2-0 in the third set. I finally picked it up in time to break back at 2-3 down in the third. We both held serve fairly easy to the breaker. I played a couple of big points to finish it off 7-4. I was happy to get the W, and I am looking forward to being better tomorrow. Austin Krajicek and I also got a routine win in doubles 6-0 6-1. The other team wasn't putting out a lot of energy, and that's all I will say about that. My second round singles match is second after 10:00am tomorrow and doubles semifinal is not before 3:00pm.
In other news the site was having a small sewage problem today. The practice courts smelled pretty terrible. It wasn't bad enough to make you sick, but it was more like an added weight on your shoulders. I don't know how else to describe it. They swore that it would be solved by tomorrow so I am optimistic. I don't want to downgrade the facility though. It is a beautiful place. The people are very nice, and the courts are perfect. It was just a little side story of the day. It was good times to watch the people walking to the practice court. Their facial expressions told the whole story.
Besides that there isn't much to be told. I also need to get some much needed rest to be fresh and ready to go for tomorrow. Thanks for reading along. I appreciate all of your support.
All the best,
Oct 9, 2012
I have a lot of information to give to give you all since I haven't had access to the internet in the last week, and the week before I was too frustrated to even consider posting. It wasn't a great week. I am going to start with it anyways. We can go ahead and get the bad news out of the way first. It was the dreaded Irvine, CA future. I lost first round of singles 6-2 1-6 6-4. That's all I am going to say about it. It was ugly and I don't want to go back to that dark day in my tennis life. I am living in the present. I'm not dwelling on the past. I mean I can't sit here and think about how poorly I played. It's in the past you know. It's all good now. Those kinds of things don't stick with you. It is easy to get over a loss. I'm cool (computers smashes into the wall). I am kidding. I didn't really smash my computer. I may have wanted to at the time though. The good news is that Austin Krajicek (USA) and I won the doubles title there. That definitely helped to ease the pain. Doubles always has my back, and I love it for that.
The following week was in Sacramento, CA for the 100k challenger event. I lost in the last round of qualifying to Greg Jones (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-3. I had a couple of chances to break early in the second set and didn't take advantage. Unfortunately if you don't take your opportunities when they are there, they rarely show themselves again. That is the name of the game though. Doubles was a different story. I teamed up with Austin Krajicek again and we had a pretty good run. We ended up losing in the finals after having four match points 4-6 6-4 12-10 in the super tiebreaker. Three of which were on our serve. I think if you give us that same scenario a hundred times we maybe lose the match .05 times. I think of it like a horse pill made of cardboard. That's a tough pill to swallow if you know what I mean. It just wasn't meant to be that day I guess. It still boosted the doubles ranking a few spots so overall it was a positive tournament. Tennis is awesome, but it can be a cruel beast every now and again. You just have to deal with it.
I am currently in Austin, TX playing a futures event. I have the honor of getting to stay with my sister Katie this week since she lives here. My mother also made the trip from Mississippi so there is a whole gang. It should be good times and great oldies all week. I am teaming up with Austin again this week in doubles. We won our first round today 6-3 6-4. My first round of singles is tomorrow second after 10:00am so I am ready to get it going. Second round of doubles is also tomorrow not before 3:00pm.
Anyways, this is my catch-up post. I will post again tomorrow, Friday, and once on the weekend. I plan on bringing some good news to the table this week so be on your toes. I am tired of having to let you guys know about losses. So it's time to turn it around. I am looking forward to finishing off the year strong.
In other news I reached a career high doubles ranking of 145 on Monday. I am pretty proud of it considering I haven't really focused on playing doubles. So there is some positive news. I like it when the numbers go in the right direction. Well that is all I have for now. Thanks for following my career, and I appreciate any comments or feedback on the website or my life.
All the best,
Sep 23, 2012
I lost my semifinal singles match against Daniel Kosakowski 7-5 7-6(5). It was a tough one. I was up 4-1 in the first set and my serve really let me down. My first serve percentage was probably in the forties. He served and returned better than I did, and that ended up making the difference in the match. I will learn from it and move on.
I also lost the doubles final 6-4 6-7(6) 8-10. Ten point breakers can be incredibly frustrating. We served well for most of the match. One point in the breaker can really kill you though. The other team came up with the goods when they needed it though. I am not a big fan of losing either way.
The good news however is... Oh wait no, the Saints got beaten in OT by Kansas City today. I hate to give up on my team this early, but I have seen more organized Pop Warner football teams. I will stop the hating now before I get myself in trouble. The moral of the story is that I miss Sean Payton. The saints fans out there will know what I am talking about.
I lied before. There was some good news. The Ole Miss Rebels won this weekend. It may have been over Tulane but it was still a win. Hotty Toddy!
I am going to include my pre-match song from this week under this paragraph. Well, it is more of a pre-match beat. If you were a Michael Jordan fan growing up, like I was, you will get it. I will post again tomorrow for the Irvine, CA future update. It was an all right week here in Costa Mesa, but I hope to be better next week. Thanks for all the support. It means a lot to me.
All the best,
Sep 21, 2012
Well people, it has been another successful day on the west coast. I was able to come up with the goods in singles today. I won 6-2 6-4 against Denis Lajola (USA). I came out hitting the ball much more clean than the last couple of days. I was down 0-30 in three different service games and came out clean. I didn't face a break point in the match and that's always a comforting thing. Hopefully I can continue to keep things going and keep gaining confidence with each match. I will play my semifinal match at 10:00AM tomorrow against Daniel Kosakowski (USA). This will be the toughest match-up so far. I look forward to the challenge.
Doubles also went well today. Jeff Dadamo and I came out with a 6-2 6-2 win against Denis Nevolo (USA) and Nick Andrews (USA). Denis had a three-hour battle in his singles match earlier in the day. I am not sure he was all that pumped to have to play a doubles match soon after. We were happy to get through to the finals though. We will be going up against Nick Meister (USA) and Ryan Thatcher (USA) not before 3:00PM tomorrow. They are a pretty tough team so I look forward to a good clean battle in the doubles as well.
The tournament official pointed out to me earlier today that it was an all-American quarterfinal in the singles today. I can't say I have seen that very often. I can definitely see US tennis moving in the right direction. I know there are plenty of guys out there putting in the work. It is just a matter of time before some of us start breaking through. I thought that was pretty cool anyways. That is your fun fact for the day.
Well that is it for me tonight. I have to be ready to go for the early start tomorrow. I appreciate you guys keeping up with my life. I hope I will have more good stuff tomorrow. Be blessed.
All the best,
Sep 20, 2012
Just like the late great Ice Cube said, "Today was a good day." I was able to come away with a couple of wins today. My singles match was pretty solid for the most part. I won 6-4 6-2 against Alexios Halabien who is a pretty strong up and comer. The first set was not the most solid tennis ever. I was able to squeeze out a break though and pick it up in the second set. The storyline for the doubles wasn't nearly as clean. Jeff and I won the first set 6-4 pretty handily. We went up a quick break 2-1 in the second, but somehow lost four games in a row on deciding points. We went on to lose the second set 6-3. It is never very comforting splitting sets in doubles as the third set is decided by a ten-point tiebreaker. Pretty much anything can happen in a ten-point buster. It is one of the more unpredictable things out there. We went down 4-8 in the breaker pretty quickly. It was a comedy of errors sort of deal. We were able to come up big and reel off six straight points somehow to win it 10-8. I think Jeff and I both were pretty relieved to walk away with a win. It was way more stressful than it needed to be. Either way a win is a win so I'm happy.
Anyways, just a quick update today. I play my quarterfinal match first on at 10:00AM tomorrow against Denis Lajola (USA) so I have to get some solid hours of sleep in. Doubles semifinals will be at 3:00PM. I will have plenty of information for you guys tomorrow. I look forward to bringing some more good news to the table. Thanks for reading along!
All the best,
Sep 19, 2012
Well I have good news and good news for you guys. I won my first round of singles today in a tight battle against Chris Wettengel (USA) 6-4 3-6 7-5. He played a pretty tough match and I was happy to come out with a win. I figured if I hung in there long enough, I would have a good chance. I always think of these kinds of matches like getting ice into a bottle of coke. The ice never really wants to go through, but if you push hard enough eventually it will. Even if the pushing frustrates you like crazy, you know that cold coke always tastes better. Hopefully that makes sense. If not, you can go ahead and completely forget about it. I like to just go with what comes to me, and for some reason it was ice and coke bottles.
Anyways, let's get back to the updates. I am playing doubles this week with Jeff Dadamo (USA). We played once before in Winnetka 50K event and won the tournament. So technically speaking we are undefeated. Hopefully we can keep that streak alive this week. We won our first round match 6-2 6-4 against a pretty solid team so we are off to a good start. My second round of singles and doubles will be tomorrow. Singles is not before 11:00AM against Alexios Halabien (USA) and doubles is not before 3:00PM. I will post tomorrow night with some updates on the matches.
In other news I am housing with a very nice family this week. It is Jeff Dadamo and I in the house together so it works out well. They have cooked us some awesome dinners the last couple of nights. It is always a huge plus when the people you stay with can cook. Good food always makes me play better and that is a scientific fact. They also have a stringing machine in the house, which is beautiful because I get to string my own rackets. It is always nice to save the $18 a day on stringing.
Well it has been a long day today so I am going to call it quits. It is time for me to get some shut-eye. I will have more news for you guys tomorrow. Thanks for reading along.
All the best,
Sep 17, 2012
Well guys, singles didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped this week. I lost in my second round match 6-4 7-6 to Prakash Amritraj (IND). I went up 2-0 to start the match off and was feeling good. I got broken back the very next game after a couple pretty rough calls from the referee and things went downhill from there. He served pretty well the rest of the match and I didn't get many break chances. I had one sloppy service game in the first set that cost me. There were no breaks of serve in the second set it was just a couple sloppy forehands that cost me to lose tiebreaker 7-4. Anyways I will learn from the loss and not let it happen again this week.
Doubles, however, went well. Reid Carleton and I were able to squeeze out a couple of close ten-point tiebreakers in the semis and finals to win the tournament. We did pretty well for it being out first time playing together. It's always nice to get a title whether it's in singles or doubles.
Anyways, just a quick results update for now. I will post again soon for the updates on the next event in Costa, Mesa, CA which starts on Tuesday. Don't forget to comment if you have any other questions. It's like a nonstop Q & A up in here.
All the best,
Sep 13, 2012
It was another successful day here on the west coast. Reid Carleton and I were able to pull through our second round doubles match today 7-5 6-2. It was a pretty up and down first set, but we came up with the goods when we needed to which is always big time. We will play our semifinal match tomorrow not before 2:30pm. I play my second round of singles first on tomorrow at 10:00am as well. It should be an action packed day of tennis. I'm ready to get after it.
Besides the doubles match it was a pretty easy going day. I played a little pro-am doubles at 10:00am with Mark Verryth (AUS) and two nice older ladies. It was pretty entertaining stuff. Then I got a solid practice session in with Reid Carleton. We were stroking a clean ball out there getting ready for tomorrow's battles. Overall it was a good day.
I do have one complaint that I need to voice to you guys. It is about the stringing of tennis rackets. The normal cost for stringing is roughly twenty dollars a racket, give or take five dollars. At this level of tennis I probably break one string a day so that's roughly one racket a day being strung. Now I am no mathematician but if you do the math on that it is roughly a gazillion dollars a year on stringing alone. Which makes me think that there has to be a better way to go about it. Not to mention when you come to a tournament and you get a racket strung it could be completely different from what you are used to. So then you have to give another racket in to try an adjust to get to a tension you are comfortable with. The whole deal just frustrates the living daylight out of me. Anyways I plan on solving this dilemma. Whether it is getting my own machine to travel with or just playing with broken strings. I refuse to be a part of this system anymore. Now you guys no what keeps me up at night. Life is rough, I know.
Ok well it's about that time for me to get some snooze in. Thanks for reading along. I hope that you have had an equally awesome Wednesday. I will catch up with you guys again tomorrow, hopefully with good news all around.
All the best,