I wanted to give you all a recap on an awesome month of July. It all started at the Winnetka Challenger which is hosted at the AC Nielsen tennis center where I grew up playing tennis. My doubles partner and one of my close friends, Tim Kopinski, and I were given the opportunity to compete in the main draw of the doubles as a wild card team, thanks to Linda Goodman and Co. We sure didn’t waste this opportunity as team TK and JH marched on to the semi-finals, beating previous ATP champions while doing so.
After Winnetka, I made my way up to Binghamton, NY for a $75,000 Challenger. I used the momentum from my previous tournament and made it through the qualifying by beating 3 opponents ranked inside the ATP top 400. I ended up losing to one of my best friends, Dominik Koepfer, in the main draw. We have now played 7 times in the past year. It’s never fun playing your good friend, but I didn’t sign up for this thinking it would be easy!
After Binghamton, I decided to go sign in for an ATP 500 event in Washington DC. This is the biggest level tournament I have competed in besides the 2017 US Open and I would not let this opportunity go to waste. After an awesome first round qualifying win over a top 200 player, I backed it up with a stellar performance against Alex Bolt who is ranked 160 in the world. We had an absolute war. I found myself leading 4-1 in the final set but kudos to my opponent in making me have to earn the win and unfortunately I did not prevail. I ended up losing 7-5, 6-7, 7-5 in over 2.5 hours in a 90-degree heat.
Regardless of my result, I learned a lot these past two weeks. I learned that I do not need to be someone else out there on the tennis court. I always felt that I had to hit a “pro” tennis ball, which in my eyes is hit a lot harder and that means hitting more winners. But this is not the case. I know how to win tennis matches by playing the best tennis that I can, not playing someone else's game. I have proved it to myself in the past and I need to get back to playing within my identity. I lost this idea for the past four months or so, but I am very confident that I have given myself a clearer path to compete on.