Thursday, 23 January 2014

2013 - 'good times and not so good times....'


I thought with the new year now upon us it was time for an update of all things tennis as well as an injury update.

2013 was a pretty good year on court but it of course didn't end well going down with a fairly serious injury in my 1st British Open Semi Final in the doubles. On that front the rehab has been going well and feeling improvement each day. I have gone from first using rubber bands to light weights to swimming and now I find myself back on court practicing as of the last couple of weeks. I have also entered the Seacourt Silver Racket to be played in only a couple of weeks 7/8/9 February.
The start of the year has already seen the completion of the Australian Open of which was disappointing for me as I had to withdraw due to the dislocated shoulder. The US Open starts on the 24th of January but have had to miss it as well due to lack of preparation.

2013 tournament round up;
January - US Open, I started the year with a Quarter Final after defeating Rob Whitehouse in the 1st round I ran into Bryn Sayers and lost in a tight 3 sets.

May - Australian Open, Even though I made another Quarter Final I was a little disappointed in my trip down under. Firstly scrapping by my 1st round in the ugliest match of my career to date (due to injury times and broken play) defeating Nick Howell in 5 sets after being two to the good. Then going down to Kieran Booth (World Number 7) for the 4th time in a row in a tight 4 sets which was a great opportunity to make a Semi Final of an Open.

April - Premier National League, Nick Wood and I competed in the season's national league Premier Divison. I was able to defeat Ben Matthews (world number 6) twice at his home court at Hatfield before defeating Ricardo Smith (World Number 11) in the final which was to clinch the title of Premier Divison winner without taking it to the doubles.

June - The Inaugural Middlesex British Challenge, Open to the top 8 British residents this was a new tournament, unique in the fact the Final was over the Challenge format of the best of 13 sets of which I really wanted to do well in to get the chance to play over said Challenge format. This was the highest point of 2013 on court for me and after defeating plucky Tom Durack in 5 sets to open the tournament I faced Ben Matthews (World Number 6) in the Semi Final and in a tough match that could of gone either way. I closed it out with a 6/5 6/5 6/5 victory and my 1st over Ben in a tournament. I then took on a somewhat of a surprising finalist in Ricardo Smith who had defeated the current British open and world number 4 Bryn Sayers in the other Semi final. The final being played over the best of 13 sets saw the 1st 4 sets played on the Tuesday. This to say the least didn't quite go to plan. Ricardo played an amazing 4 sets and took all 4. I took 2 of the 4 on offer on the Thursday while also saving a match point in the 4th set. Saturday saw Ricardo only needing 1 set to win which unfortunately he did at the 1st attempt to leave me with being content as runner-up in my 1st 'big' final.

September - French Open/World Championship doubles, I was somewhat unlucky in both draws here as twice just missing out on being the last seed. This meaning I drew Steve Virgona (world number 3) in the 1st round. I felt I competed well and took my 1st ever set off Steve but went down in 4 sets. In the doubles I partnerd Rich Smith and we pitted against Camden Riviere and Tim Chisholm. We took the 3rd set but were outclassed losing in 4 sets.

October - European Open, again the tournament was held at Lords on the MCC court. Due to a couple of withdrawal's I was seeded 4th for this tournament. I had a good straight sets win over a tricky 1st up opponent in Jon Dawes and then ran into the world champion Rob Fahey. I was totally outclassed in the semi final in front of a pretty big crowd which was a little disappointing but lessons we're learnt!

October - IRTPA Championships, we headed up to Manchester after the completion of the European open for back to back tournaments. I was again seeded 4th in this tournament. I had a 3-0 victory over a young Neil Mckenzie and then ran into the fastly improving Darren (doink) Long who was on a bit of a winning streak. I thankfully ended his recent good form in a solid straight sets victory to set up a re-match with Rob Fahey only a week after playing him at lords. I felt I played much better in this match but try as I might I couldn't stop the greatest Real Tennis player ever from winning 10 games in a row in the middle of the match which was very disappointing.

November - British open, most of the top players in the world headed for Queen's Club for the open championships. I was seeded 8th in this tournament and after getting a bye through to the 2nd round I faced Conor Medlow who if more than 8 were seeded would of been the 9th seed, so a tough draw. I started well taking the 1st set but dropped my discipline in the 2nd to lose it for 1 all in sets. Leading 2/2 in the 3rd we had a 23 minute game which I was to win and turn into a 6/1 3rd set and 5/0 in the 4th before taking in 6/1 in the 4th set. That win set up a quarter final match against Tim Chisholm (world number 5) I didn't feel like it was my best night at the office but the problem was only made worse by the serving display and hitting power of Tim as I went down in straight sets. 
In the doubles I partnered fellow Aussie Kieran Booth. We we're seeded 4th and again after getting a bye through to the Quarter final were we faced 5th seeds Andrew Lyons and James Male. We were still figuring things out in the 1st set and after losing it settled into our game winning in a very enjoyable 4 sets. I was now through to my 1st British Open Semi final. We were really looking forward to the match against Bryn Sayers and Tim Chisholm but as mentioned this was the low point of the year for me when slipped in the 3rd game and dislocated my shoulder.

It will be deep into 2014 before I play my 1st major tournament when the French open kicks off next season in September. Between now and then I'll play the Seacourt Silver Racket and Browning Cup which are both handicap tournaments before going down to be practice partner for Rob Fahey in his world championship defence back home in Melbourne.

The highlight off court in 2014 will be my wedding to wed my beautiful partner Carly again back home in June before honeymooning in LA, San Francisco and Vegas on our way back to London. 

Many thanks to everyone for they're support.