Tuesday, 24 March 2015

2015 US Open - Boston


I was really looking forward to the US Open being played in Boston, it is the 1st time in my playing career Boston has hosted the US Open as the court has been out of action since the 2007 World Doubles due to the roof closely resembling a sieve...

I arrived on Monday 16th Feb, 24 hours delayed after my original flight was cancelled as 3 feet of snow fell over the weekend. I was able to fit in a couple of hours practice on Tuesday an hour with Rob Fahey and an hour with my doubles partner John Lumley. Thursday I was able to have an hours practice on my own to enable me to do some serving practice which is always an important aspect of playing on a court for the 1st time in my career. I had one last practice with Camden Riviere on Friday morning in preperation for my tournament to start on Saturday.

Saturday 21st - My first match of the 2015 US Open was against Ladies World Champion Claire Fahey (nee Vigrass) who has been allowed to enter the Open tournaments due to the out right fact her handicap is now that of a level to qualify for the big tournaments. She is hitting the ball very well and is stronger and more aware of tactics and court craft than her male counterparts of similar handicap.
I started a little slowly and went 0/2 before getting on top in the points. I was very much still trying to get used to the court in a match situation but was able to do enough to keep Claire at bay. 6/3 I took the 1st set. I quickley went 2/0 up in the 2nd before Claire played the best tennis I've seen from her. she went 2/3 and then 4/5 up and I knew I was in for a fight to take the 2nd set. I got back to 5/5 and the 1st point of the final game of the set, set the tone for me for the rest of the match. I was completely out played in that point and it was a turning point for me as I knew i had to really knuckle down and take some of the distractions i was facing out of my mind. I took the set 6/5 and then quickley raced through the 3rd set taking it 6/1 after being 5/0 up. 6/3 6/5 6/1 victory, not my best tennis for the season but that sometimes happens in a 1st round match of a tournament when your opponeint has also already played a competetive match to get through to play me as a seeded player.

Sunday 22nd - Singles Quarter Final day. I was the second match on for the day taking on Men's World Champion Rob Fahey. I was really looking forward to this match and I had put together a game plan that I thought could put me in a position to win the points required to win the match. The 1st time I've thought this to date when talking about taking on Rob Fahey in a 1 on 1 match.
I felt I started well and was getting my range on my giraffe serve. We went game for game all the way to 5/5, at 30 all I made a bad decision from the Hazard end with a chase of worse than 3 up my sleeve got an easy ball and then skyed a backhand drive out of court when I should of stuck to the plan and either hit it into corner or gallery. We changed at 30-40 down chase worse than 3. I served almost the perfect giraffe only for Rob to lob the ball to a perfect length up onto the side penthouse where it then bounced off and was going to land in the dedans, I was able to hit an awkward backhand volley from deep in the court, Rob played a good ball down the line to my forehand corner which I made good ground to recover the ball only for Rob to play a deft touch backhand half volley back across to my backhand corner and with me way out of position I set off at full speed made it all the way across the court but tragedy struck as I lunged and tried to decelerate I slipped or lost my balance and crashed in to the backhand wall basically head first. I somehow didn't knock myself out but I knew I was in a bad way. One of the spectators on hand was Anders Cohen who is a top neurosurgeon and he was one of the first on court and made sure my neck and head were stable and ordered somebody to call 911 and get an ambulance here to take me to hospital. Thankfully after a CT scan I was cleared of any fractures to my skull and no internal bleeding. My right ear lobe started to fill with blood and in the end needed to be drained. This unfortunately was the end of my US Open campaign as I wasn't able to compete in the doubles which was very disappointing as its annoying for my teammate as well.

I spent a few days recovering and flew home to London a few days later. I'm now fully recovered and getting back into my practice with a number of National League matches to come over the next month. Including playing Rob again at RTC on the 28th March.
The next tourament's are in the summer with the World Doubles Championship taking place at Tuxedo Park (New York) and then the US Professional singles being held at Newport (Rhode Island) in the first two weeks of June.