Throughout my tennis career, I have been fortunate enough to have an incredible amount of people supporting me in a multitude of ways. I am so incredibly grateful for each and every one of you that has had such a positive impact on my life. I know I am not on this journey alone, and I felt it was time in which I keep all of the people who are supportive of me in the loop of what is going on in my career. So here we are!
From now on I will be sending out a newsletter at the beginning of each month. It will detail my previous month as well as provide insight as to where I will be going in the future.
Last month, I set off to Quebec, Canada with my coach, Christopher Williams, to compete in three events. Two $25,000 Futures, one in Gatineau and the other in Sherbrooke, and one $75,000 Challenger in Drummondville. In the previous weeks leading up to my Canada trip I put in a very strong two weeks of training and I was very confident that my adventure to Canada was going to be a very successful one. However, things are not as easy as they appear, especially on the ATP tour.
Gatineau $25k Futures: Respect the Competiton
Coming off my strong training weeks I was incredibly confident going into this tournament. Too confident. After playing a very strong first match I fell under the false impression that the entire tournament was going to be just as easy as round 1. This was not the case as I ended up losing in the 2nd round to a tough player playing in front of his hometown crowd. What I learned from this tournament was that even though I was very confident going into it, I lose a sense of the gritty competitor that I am. I thought it was going to be easy and just didn’t compete well when things because difficult. It was a lesson learned that I would apply to my next event in Sherbrooke.
Sherbrooke $25k Futures: Learn from your losses
Going into this tournament I was still confident in my playing abilities yet I knew I also had to respect the competition and not get ahead of myself. In my first match I played Frederik Nielsen, former Wimbledon doubles champion, and I knew that it was going to be a very tough match. I ended up winning 6-2 in the third set and I was very pleased with the energy, focus, and determination that I brought to this match. We were back headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, the next round I was just simply outplayed by a tough Canadian player, Filip Peliwo ranked 169 ATP. The way that Filip managed the match was very impressive and Christopher brought that to my attention. I would apply what Filip did to me, to my opponents in the future.
Drummondville $75k Challenger: House Money
So far my Canada trip was not going as well as I expected it to go. But I had one more week to turn it around. After missing out on getting into the main draw, I was seeded number 2 in qualifying. I knew I would have some tough matches to get through to make it to the main draw. After winning a gut wrenching match 6-4 in the third I found myself in the final round of qualifying against a former Illini, Ruan Roelofse. He primarily plays on the doubles tour and has a BIG game. He played some superb tennis and I was blindsided by the level that he brought to the match. I lost 6-2,6-2 and I thought that my trip to Canada was over with me gaining only 2 ATP points. Well, luckily my tournament wasn’t over yet. As two players from the main draw got injured, they were replaced by “Lucky Losers” , the highest ranked players who lost in the final round of qualifying. I had lived to see another day.
Playing with house money I was committed to doing the right things in my upcoming matches. In the first round I played a tough up and coming player, 18 year old Nicola Kuhn ranked 201 ATP. I played some tough and gritty tennis and won 6-4, 6-3. Next up was Henri Laaksonen ranked 125 ATP. I had played him two previous times and had lost 7-5 and 6-4 in the third both times. I knew his game and I knew how I could make him uncomfortable. I served very well and got early breaks in both sets. This set the tone for the rest of the match as I played very focused and ended up winning 6-4, 6-4. I had now reached the quarterfinals of a challenger, my best result at this level tournament since turning pro. Next up was my good friend Denis Kudla, ranked 120 ATP. I had lost to him the two previous times and felt like I had nothing to lose. Unfortunately, I believe I became content with my result in this tournament and lost to Denis 6-2, 6-1. He ended up winning the tournament, but I learned to never be content with any result, regardless of the circumstance.
It was a great lesson learned in Canada for those three weeks. I reflected on my losses in a positive manner and it taught me something about each match. I battled many ups and downs but in the end, Christopher and I are a team and we stayed strong together. I walked away from Canada with 17 points and a new career-high ranking of 339. Thank you for the continued support! See you in May :)