Thursday, 9 May 2013

Aus Open 2013 - Melbourne


Tonight was my Quarter final match up vs number 3 seed Kieran Booth.

It was a really warm day today in Melbourne with the temperature around 25 degrees. The match was at 6.30pm and I had all day to get prepared for the match keeping hydrated and fueled for the match.
I took a wet towel to cool my face and neck as well as a dry towel onto court. I was far less nervous than I was on Monday night for my 1st round match and struck the ball well in the knock up. We got stuck into the 1st set and it could of gone either way with Kieran taking it 6/3. 

I raced away playing probably my best tennis of the match to lead 4/1 in the 2nd set before Kieran rallied back and I just couldn't get a constant length or width on my shots. I especially struggled to hit a good main-wall Dedan and Cut Volley return of serve which added more pressure on other shots and made too many unnecessary unforced errors. I found myself 4/5 down and facing the prospect of going 2 sets to love down in a match I was desperate to win. But was able to grit my teeth and win some clutch points to sneak the 2nd set 6/5.

It was again nip and tuck in the 3rd set but I lost a little momentum and a drop in concentration mid set and I couldn't stop the rot and Kieran took the 3rd 2/6 and I again trailed in sets going down 1-2. 
I was really struggling now with a seriously tight right hamstring after tweaking my lower back on Monday night and I found myself 2/5 down in the 4th. It was up to me to grit my teeth again and got back to 4/5 and was so close to taking it to 5/5 but wasn't able to and Kieran took the match 4/6 in the 4th set and my 4th loss in a row to Kieran which is a little hard to swallow, not only are we mates who compete against each other but a semi final was up for grabs for the winner and would of taken me tantalisingly close to the 100 points required for my official world ranking.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be and it has been a disappointing singles event without playing anywhere near my best after having two great results back in the UK before heading over to Melbourne. But the sun will always come up tomorrow and with that the Doubles event starts for young John Lumley and I against Ballarat Head Pro Brett McFarlane and Prested Hall Assistant Lewis Williams tomorrow Friday 10th at 12pm local time.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Aus Open 2013 - Melbourne


Well..... 1st match complete. Not my best match by any stretch of the imagination. 

The match was the only one to be played on Monday 6th May in conjunction with the welcoming cocktail party which attracted 90 odd RMTC members. I faced local assistant Pro Nick Howell. I felt good in preparation and while warming up on the squash court at RMTC although the closer the match time drew the more the nerves grew, which isn't too dis-similar to most matches where I do have nervous butterflies but as soon as I walk on court and start hitting up they usually disappear. Last night was slightly different for some unknown reason. I was taking some really good winning form after defeating Ben Matthews and Ricardo Smith in National League. But the nervous feeling never really left my stomach the entire match especially late in the 4th set.

I wasn't quite seeing the ball properly and I put that down to the nerves and potentially still a little jet-lag, but was able to get out to a 4/1 start. Nick played a couple of good games but I took the opening set 6/4. Again I took an early lead in the 2nd again getting to 4/1 before taking the 2nd set 6/3.
I still wasn't quite feeling myself. I had been eating bananas and drinking plenty of water but felt a little shaky like I was low on sugar. The 3rd set was going to script getting to 5/2 40-30 up with a short chase to try and win, during the rest I attempted a backhand boast and just tweaked a little thing in my back which didn't give me too much trouble during points but at this same stage Nick started having a lot of trouble with cramp and was given an injury time-out at 5/3 to me. I mentally shut off a little almost thinking about finishing up this match with only going through one set of strings and onto playing a match potentially against Kieran Booth on Thursday. 

What a big mistake that was. Nick kept fighting and kept cramping which was now causing a break in play after almost every point which really broke up the rhythm and tempo to the match and I fell off the pace that I want to play at to play good tennis. Nick kept hitting winners and because of the constant cramp he kept lacing the ball genuinely straight down the middle of the court. I somehow managed to lose my lead and Nick took the set 5/6 to bring it back to 2 sets to 1.

Nick's cramp continued. He was given another injury time-out which without getting too much into and nothing against Nick personally but a player should never be allowed to have injury time for cramp. It is not an injury it is either lack of preparation for a best of 5 match or dehydration from not taking in enough food and water during the match. During this 2nd injury time he took in some salts which started to have effect as he started to cramp less. I got it into my head that he was about to retire and by this time I had dug myself into a deep hole and lost just about all concentration and was making unnecessary unforced errors and found it hard to serve to him. I always thought I was going to win the match because I didn't travel all the way to Australia as the number 5 seed to lose in the 1st round. I got to a 5/4 lead and it was again mine for the taking. Nick had other ideas and I managed to lose the 4th set also 5/6 to make it 2 sets all...

I raced to a 3/0 lead and his body finally shut down on him and he had to retire. It was unfortunate for Nick as  he was playing the match of his life. I was very relived to say the least. I think its been the best part of 18 months since I played so far below my best tennis. 6/4 6/3 5/6 5/6 3/0 ret

Today I have spent the day having a massage and relaxing at a natural hot springs down on the Mornington Peninsula in preparation for Thursday's match. I have a practice with Mike Happell on Wednesday and have now completely put the 1st round out of my mind.

This weeks Link Pumps Australian Open is being streamed at



Friday, 3 May 2013

Aus Open 2013 - Melbourne


As I start this post, I'm currently sitting on flight SQ217 from Singapore to Melbourne heading for this years Link Pumps Australian Open held at my old club the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club.

The two Melbourne courts are very difficult to get used to. They are quicker and livelier than any other court in the world.
I was talking to Rob Fahey the other day before leaving for Melbourne about this very subject. Even he believe's that the Melbourne courts are the toughest of all courts to get familiar with and even though I worked at RMTC for the best part of 2 and a half years I've made sure to book about 6 hours practice before my first match on Monday evening against local Assistant Pro Nick Howell.

On Friday morning 3rd May just over 12 hours after landing I'll be heading down to my old masseur Gary McDonell or as most people on the Mornington Peninsula (south eastern side of Melbourne) know him only by 'Dr Death'. Gary specialises in deep (DEEP) tissue massage and has a tiny little studio in town called Rye (1 and half hours from CBD) and would have a daily schedule that most city masseuses and physio's would be jealous of. Whether you've got a neck problem or ankle trouble his massages always start on the right calf and the pain begins....
In Gary's own words the human body is the greatest of god's creations which runs on blood and oxygen. Hence why he get's in so deep to get blood and oxygen flowing to the muscles. It's something I have done monthly in London but especially after such a long journey to Aus it's key to getting over jet-lag.

I'm very excited to be home in Melbourne for the best part of 2 weeks although it is a strange thing coming back 'Home' more as a visitor, relying on lifts from Mum and Dad to ferry me around.

I will be updating after my matches and Nick and Stef will update the scores on the notice board and in the Pro Office.