Monday, 24 June 2013

2013 British Challenge - Middlesex Uni


Well... I have managed to make it through to my 1st big (ish) final with my 1st victory in a tournament over Ben Matthews. Before this season I hadn't even taken a set off Ben and I also now have two wins in National League.
Friday's match in the very warm and muggy conditions at Middlesex Uni was won by the closest of margins... A victory over the number two seed 6/5 6/5 6/5

Ben is always a tough competitor but I was able to keep my nose in front leading 5/3 in both the 1st two sets and out to a 4/2 lead in the 3rd before training 4/5. To close the match, a Semifinal no less, in straight sets was such a satisfying feeling.

Winning 5,5,5 gives me great confidence and if I can stick to the game plan and keep a cool yet focused head then I know my tennis can match it with the top players in the World. The next challenge is a best of 13 World Championship format match against the very talented Ricardo Smith who amazingly enough defeated last year's British Open Champion Bryn Sayers in 4 sets.

The opportunity to play in a World Championship format best of 13 set match is so exciting. It is such a different concept to get your head around. Knowing regardless of how things go on Tuesday, the 1st day's play, we'll come off court after playing 4 sets, stretch, shower and prepare for another 4 sets on Thursday. A very weird concept but as I said such an exciting one.

Not many of the current tournament players have managed to play in a best of 13 set match let alone win one. Rob Fahey obviously the leader of the pack with multiple times defending his WC crown, Steve Virgona has won two best of 13 Final Eliminators against Camden and Bryn to reach the last 2 WC challenge matches against Rob and that possibly only leaves Tim Chisholm having played in a best of 13 also against Rob on a number of occasions. So this will hopefully be great experience for what I hope will be the 1st of many best of 13 matches.

Again it would be great to see some RTC members down supporting because I know Ricardo will be bringing a rowdy Essex crowd from Prested Hall.
Tickets are available via


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

2013 British Challenge - Middlesex Uni


Well last night's (Monday) match against Tom Durack in the quarter final of the Middlesex University British Challenge was one hell of a battle. As I said in my last post I would be happy to get a win and even though I didn't quite play as well as I know I can I had to battle for my life, down 1-2 in sets and 2/3 in the 4th set on a very hot and muggy court, I was able to trust in the work I've been doing off court to get through probably the toughest match of my short career. Winning 6/1 3/6 3/6 6/4 6/2.

Tom to his credit played exceptionally well. I have in the past battled against Tom and for some reason he has a game that doesn't quite suit mine. I stuck to my guns and was able to get through it in the end and boy am I paying for it today.

Thankfully I've got a few days to recover and this Friday the 21st June at 6.30pm I play Ben Matthews in a Semi Final. To recover from a tough match like last night I've been keeping myself hydrated, stretching, using a foam roller as well as having cold baths and wearing compression clothing which helps with circulation, all in order to help aid in the recovery of my muscles that were worked so hard last night.

Draws and Ticket sales can be found at or for more information please don't hesitate to speak to myself or the Pro Team at RTC.

It would be great if some RTC members could come and support me this Friday.



Sunday, 16 June 2013

2013 British Challenge - Middlesex Uni


I can't believe it's been a tick over a month since Melbourne and the Aus open.... In that time I've been preparing for the British Challenge starting on Monday 17th June.

A brand new tournament in the calendar, The 2013 Inaugural British Challenge at Middlesex University Real Tennis Club is for the top 8 players that enter but only open to British residents Professional or amateur as well as any UK resident Professionals like myself. The draw contains 3 top 10 players, a handful of experienced players and a talented youngster.

This tournament is like no other! The Quarter and Semi Finals are played over the usual best of 5 sets, The Final however with the backing of the World Champion as well as the International World Championship Committee is being played over the best of 13 set challenge format.

The 1st round is with 8 players straight into quarter finals. (1) Bryn Sayers vs Jon Dawes, (4) Ricardo Smith vs John Lumley, (3) Chris Chapman vs Tom Durack, (2) Ben Matthews vs Matty Ronaldson. 

My first match is at 4pm Monday 17th vs Tom Durack of Petworth/Holyport with a handicap of 1, Tom can be a tricky customer as he is a good retriever he also isn't a massively attacking player so doesn't give away as many loose balls as even higher ranked players. I will be looking to go into this match nice and fresh and be confident in the work I've been doing in the gym to get the job done.

The draw and tickets can be found on the IRTPA website at It would be great to see some familiar faces in the crowd cheering me on.
Finally, all profits from this tournament will be given to Myeloma UK, so please help to do all you can.

A word from the World Champion on what it takes to win a best of 13 set match;
“The physical, mental, emotional, tactical and tennis demands of a best of 13 set match are unlike any other format tennis players compete in. There are no “secret weapons”, no “brilliant night out” that will get you through a best of 13. Whereas you might surprise someone with something on the night of the British Open final, by day 2 of a World Championship match that “weapon” has been worked on and solved, that “brilliance” has faded and you are back to the drawing board. Best of 13 is a true test of tennis, if you have any weakness – it will be found, if you like to play to a strength – it will be taken away from you, it comes down to who has the best all-around game, the strongest body, the strongest mind, the biggest will to win and the nerve to stick with it all. At 2 sets all in a best of 5 matches there are still some questions to be answered and the natural ebbs and flows of a match can decide the outcome. At 6 sets all, in the best of 13 sets, there is nothing left unanswered. It is 2 players looking at each other, looking inside themselves and deciding who has the heart to win from here. There is nothing in Tennis that can compare to this!”