At the start of the season, I was beating off hitting partners with a stick. I had so many people wanting to hit with me that I was having difficulty scheduling them. It got to a point where I was hitting twice a day - once in the morning before work and then in the late afternoon during normal training hours. Most of these players were not as good as me but I had no problems hitting with them because they could at least return the ball and keep me on my toes. I could have said no to some of them, but most of them are my friends and I happen to like my friends. Anyway, some of the players were much better than me, including this Slovakian girl I met a few months ago who used to compete against Daniela Hantuchova when they were juniors. She was unbelievably good and I couldn't believe that she wasn't playing professionally. (She wants to study at an American college and play college tennis first, but is learning English in Australia before she goes there.) Now, nobody wants to hit with me. I am literally begging for hitting partners because I am still playing competitions (as are they, I might add) and need to train hard for my style of tennis. They are not as good because they don't train. The players better than me, including the Slovakian girl, all stopped hitting with me because they think that I am not a good enough standard for them and told me. That isn't fair, considering that I can return the ball and always challenge them. Then again, I don't want to hit with people whose hearts aren't in it or don't want me around. My training routine is now erratic and in tatters, along with my form. I've requested to sit out competition for the last two weeks (so that I can just practice) but have had to keep playing because our team is short on players at the moment. I wanted to sit out this week too but someone else is having injury problems. Everybody wants to go on holidays or are injured. It's times like these that I rue making any commitments to play competition, but I just love tennis so much that I put up with it. I make the best of whatever form shows up on the weekends. Weekend competition is not my main focus though. It's winning the club championships at the end of the season that I'm looking forward to doing. I play competitions to keep up match practise. So yeah, I do have trouble finding a good, solid, reliable, keen hitting partner. I think I need to move.
"There are more dogs than women in the locker rooms" - Liz Smylie
"I'm really feeling my balls" - Serena Williams
"She had him in her box... It made his week!" - Tracy Austin
"Tell us Rafa, what else do you do with your right hand?" - Todd Woodbridge
"I have a pain here, in my famous ass" - Rafael Nadal
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