I had a good practice today. My doubles partner and I played a practice match against the 2nd and 5th seeds in singles and we managed to win 14-12 in a supertiebreak.
I'm hoping for a good result in this next tournament. I play tomorrow morning. But of course it won't be easy.
In terms of strength I'm making solid progress. At a bodyweight of just under 59kg I can full squat 110kg and deadlift 132.5kg. I also have been doing some gymnastics classes here in Darwin and I'm making progress with my handstand and working towards tumbling.
I was really happy with my match against Fancutt in Mackay, who is very highly ranked (top 50 in Aus, top 800 in the world). I returned his big serve well and I served well against him. And I coped with his power in general well. Actually, he got quite frustrated against me and when I broke his serve in the second set he smacked the ball out of the court in frustration. And even in the final game when he served for the match, I had break point but I missed a return off a second serve to my forehand unfortunately.
In general there are quite a lot of positive signs and changes in my tennis. I can't wait to see what I can do with a little more strength, flexibility (I can do the splits now), fitness and technical improvements, later this year. Every month I seem to be playing better now.
My first serve especially has been getting stronger lately, although my second serve has been a bit off (working on that, I think I'm figuring it out). During this short break from tournaments I am currently working on trying to get used to a lower toss (my serve toss is a bit too high, especially if it is windy).
Groundstrokes are getting quite a lot better, and I seem to be starting to develop some really good hands at net. Some of my volleys and net coverage in recent matches has been really good- I'm reacting faster and controlling the ball better at the net. Once I know my tournament schedule I'll update you- but I'm thinking the next tournament will be May 13 in Perth.
My luggage took a little detour on the way back from Alice Springs. My tennis bag arrived in Auckland but somehow Qantas sent my suitcase to Haneda airport in Japan by accident. My suitcase finally got home yesterday.
I reached the semis of singles in Alice Springs, and the final of the doubles. So not a bad couple of weeks.
I'm spending some time at home training hard on and off court. Not sure when I'm playing my next tournament, probably in May, considering doing a couple of tournaments in Perth, which I have never visited before. And I'm planning to do a couple of tournaments in Darwin in early June.
Physically feeling great, stronger than ever before and no more discomfort in my knees- my injury from last year is completely gone. I've never had such low bodyfat before.
My increased strength is starting to pay off on court (currently squatting a max of 105kg and deadlifting 127.5kg, bodyweight 59kg- target is to squat double bodyweight 120kg and deadlift 2.5 bw 150kg within 6 months). Especially on serve, my serve is bigger and more accurate, and my contact point is a little bit higher.
Reached quarters of Mackay and was pretty happy with my performance against the eventual champion. My shots seem to be improving, everything is a bit better than last year (except I've had a few double faults which I have been working on the last few days). Now in Alice Springs and hoping to do well. I had a good few days of training with the Townsville squads and then the Alice Springs squad, so I've had pretty good preparation. Now I need to do what is required oncourt. The Australian players are quite good (they tend to be physically strong and technically good but their weakness tends to be mental), so I need to be better.
After this tournament I am considering spending a few days exploring. Maybe I'll visit Uluru/ Ayrs rock, or I might do that in Sept when I come back here.
A nice man and his daughter whom I met last year are being nice enough to let me stay with them here. He was originally from NZ too.
After Alice springs I'll stay at home and train hard for most of April and then play a lot of tournaments in May and June. Planning to play in Perth, Darwin, Brisbane. I will find a way to play at a higher level- the key is perseverance, experimentation, and constant matchplay experience.
Physically feeling quite good, stronger than ever before at the same bodyweight.
Playing a tournament in Mackay. I have some friends in this area of Australia so I'm staying with one of them- actually there are about 5 of us staying in a small apartment- with no aircon, so using fans to stay cool.
All Tournaments ? Tennis Australia - 2016 Mackay Mid-North Open Age - General
Hoping to reach quarters at least. After this is a tournament in Alice Springs which I entered at the last second when I realised I could stay with someone there.
I have been working hard and I feel like I have improved my athleticism and serve, but I need to convert this into results. I was practicing with the fifth seed the last couple of days and I can see how much better my groundies need to be, especially forehand. But I am slowly figuring it out.
am improving some things but it's still a bit different every day with the forehand and a little bit with the backhand and serve. I feel like I really need to figure out a truly solid forehand technique and get very good with a higher contact point for the serve. Of course I'm trying to improve everything but my biggest priorities are probably first serve elevation and forehand consistency right now. In my match today I was down 1-3 in the first set before coming back. It was actually my volleys that saved me.
All Tournaments ? Tennis Australia - 2016 Newcastle Open & Junior Tour - Players - Howard Ho
I'm playing a gold AMT ($7500) in Newcastle, a few hours out of Sydney. I won my first round maindraw and now I play the 2nd seed who has been as high as 1200ATP and is ranked around 50 in Australia. Honestly I don't expect to be able to win at this moment but I'm hoping to learn from the match so that I can hopefully catch up or pass that level. I've practiced with him a few times, it's subtle but he's just little that bit better at most shots. We both move well and there isn't much difference in our first serves, but he returns better and barely misses a shot.
After this tournament I'm playing in Gosford, then I'm going home for a little bit, before going to Canberra for the first time.
Hmm, I thought I already sent a message about whom I was playing, but I can't see it now, anyway, it was one of the top ranked juniors in NZ, ranked 60 in NZ and playing pretty well. However, I didn't feel like he was unbeatable or anything. This year he struggled with some players whom I've beaten. But he's hitting some good form of late and unfortunately the way I played today was almost the ideal match up for him, not hitting the ball with enough venom and he is good at beating people who are underpowered. Which is why I'm now working hard at fixing my groundstrokes. In the latter half of the match we were having good rallies since I tried to hit harder but I made too many errors due to some flaws in my technique which I am working on.
I started poorly in the first four games, then I played well, but got edged out, even in games when I was 40-0 or 30-0 ahead. He played very well and the wind seemed to barely bother him. I am sure I can reach a much better level of play in the next few months, and each tournament is giving me more insight into how I should play and hit the ball.
My serving was quite effective, except I was not so good at converting the weaker returns into won points, due to my groundstrokes lacking some reliability. Still, I consider it a good experience. I was moving pretty well too.
After the match now I'm working hard to change the technique on my groundstrokes. I feel like I am close to finding my own personal technique for my shots which suit me best. But in the past my flaws in technique in forehand and backhand have let me down when opponents hit very hard- I have been unable to properly control the groundies even though I am reaching the ball with my footwork.
The Sydney Macquarie Uni tournament starts next Wednesday. I'll be flying to my Aunt's place in Sydney on Monday. In the meantime, practice, gymwork and fitness.
All Tournaments ? Tennis Australia - 2015 Macquarie Uni AMT Gold $15K - Organization
In the second set I was up 41 and let it get back to 4-4 15-40 on my serve. I managed to save those breakpoints and hold then broke him at 54. Then I was up 3-0 in the third set and lost my serve but I broke again at 3-2. At 52 I had match point on his serve but couldn't get it. Had a tough last service game but managed to hold on for the win.
Tough conditions, windy, up to around 23 degrees C in the sun, there was very light rain for around 2 minutes but otherwise fine. An ugly win, 26 64 63. I'm into the maindraw. In the first set I tried to serve high percentage but it wasn't hard enough and I kept losing serve. I increased the pace of the serve and tried to hit a bit more aggressively. My volleys were erratic, lost a lot of points from winning positions. But I eventually outserved him and just kept running down all the balls. Sometimes I just lose confidence in hitting the groundies aggressively and get all passive, especially with the backhand, I really need to improve that.