Amphion 2012 – Day 5 – Final Game Day

Finally, some of the stuff my three (!) coaches keep telling me has fallen into place even during competition games.
There is still however, a long way to the perfect game. My movements on the court are still too narrow and swift (turning on the spot makes you lose speed). I am still too eager, and my strokes are therefor sometimes a bit too short and stressed.
However, during today’s consolation final, against no. 35 in the world Sébastien Jance, I managed to stick to my game plan exactly, during the first set. Power(?) serves on his backhand, top spin forehand returns close to the baseline, preferably alternating left and right corners, finished off with relaxed punts (simply touching the ball) when short and high returns appeared.
I tried to imagine that every point was the first, and to express joy during concentration when winning. Funny enough, these simple tricks made me relax and win some games where I had 0-30 or advantage points against me. I can always improve there, though.. 🙂
During the second set there were a lot of even games with several advantage points at both ends (fun to look at, I believe). However, my opponent pushed a bit harder on my not-yet-good-enough serves. Hence, I became pressed for time more often. As a result, my returns shortened, and he could quite easily kill off the points. Third set was better, but I didn’t quite move as much as before. On the whole, I’m sad for the loss that felt surprisingly close to something else, but very happy for the receipt that training determination pays off. 🙂
Bien joué, mon coupain Sébastien Jance! Next time, I’ll be even more difficult to beat..:-)
Result: 6-4 (was up 5-3), 2-6, 2-6.
I won the important fourth game in the second set 1-2 to 2-2, but more work is needed still, it seems.
A nice week with a lot of spoken French and useful tennis experiences (topped off with unexpected ranking points!) is soon at an end. A nice shower and a ”gala” dinner are awaiting.
‘Til next time, je vous embrasse (hugs to you all)!
All for now, over & out!


Amphion 2012 – Day 4

Happy days! 🙂 My first international win (with its moments to remember)!
Still a lot to learn in order to stay relaxed and focused on strong, high strokes to the back of the court. However, three things were sufficient today, against my doubles partner in the first consolation round (1st round losers): 1) Keep the ball in play, 2) aim for his backhand, 3) long strokes towards the back of the court. I played great in the first set, cut the length of my returns in the second (hence losing..), but redeemed myself in the super-tiebreak (to 10 instead of 7).
The super-tiebreak should have been a third full set, but neither of us thought to question the umpire. However, frankly, I don’t complain, being the winner. 🙂
You missed a true ”YouTube-moment” when i picked up a ball far out on my backhand, raised like my life depended on it, managed to pick up the return at the other far end and produced a strong forehand cross/lob in my opponent’s backhand corner. I was down 4-6 in the super-tiebreak, but this was the start of my march towards victory at 10-6. I will never forget that point. 🙂 All in all 6-2, 2-6, 10-6.
Tomorrow’s the consolation final against Sébastien Jance. A very tough one, but hopefully some learnings and some very welcome ranking points. If I keep him away from attacking and play like I know I can, I do have a chance… Wish me luck, yet again! 🙂
All for now, over & out!

Amphion 2012 – Day 3

Sunburn, French spoken all day, and less than OK movements on court when important…

Today I played a nice practice-game of doubles with ”Les quads Français”; Stéphane, Virgil and David, as David and I needed some practice ahead of the game later today. We played really well and couldn’t decide the game before we had to stop, at one set all. Great confidence provided, as well as this year’s first sunburn. I never learn, do I 🙂 ?
Before the doubles game vs. Jance/Tatschl I got a really good acupressure (?) treatment for my shoulder, chest and tennis-elbow in-the-making. It felt great afterwards. Sadly, the game didn’t.
I made some really awesome lay-aways/winners, but in-between I moved less than yesterday. I guess I wanted to cover more of the court for my partner who sometimes struggled with his reach. As a consequence I made myself unsure and didn’t quite know where to go when the rallies where tight. I need to learn how to be more obvious to my partner, but also smart enough to make strong shots that leave him easier returns. Bad/easy shots from me end up as difficult returns on my partner. This is what makes doubles so fascinating..!
Anyway, we lost 0-6, 3-6, however playing much better in the second set.
For instance several advantage points at 1-2. Any bells ringing from yesterday..? 🙂 An OK second set, but let’s focus now on my singles game tomorrow in the consolation (first round losers) draw, against my now regular doubles partner Monsieur Alves himself. In theory, a tight but do-able game, but I need to play like yesterday! Wish me luck.
All for now, over & out!

Amphion 2012 – Day 2

Bon soir tout le monde/Good evening everybody!
This day really represents theory vs. practise. I have learned from my swimming days that my disability requires tired muscles for me to perform at my best during stress.
Hence, I started the day swimming 1km. A bit tough at first, but as predicted I loosened up quite well. After some food and plenty of rest, I played tennis outdoors for an hour (nice weather today), with the Swedes’ favourite Swiss Parmilla who always has a smile on her face…:-) I got to practise my backhand, the wheelchair moves, and my relaxed forehand. Thanks Parmilla!
I played the last game of the day against my newly appointed ”Nemesis”, Stéphane Erismann from France. I tried to focus on a power-serve, long strokes to the back of the court, and continuous movement…
It started really well. We had a Marathon-game at 1-2, where we both had advantage points, at least three each. Sadly I was a bit too eager and shot too far on some returns and ”killer” points (not too wide though :-)).
Hence, I lost the game that turned out to be a decider. I realized a bit too late what made me win points (40-0 in some games!): have fun at each point, use power in your serve, block his serves, long returns at all times, and straight (!) forehand shots out of his (forehand) reach.
I made four double faults in each set, and a few too many misses on important points. Marvellous rally-wins don’t mean much when you’re down 15-40..:-(
All in all, my best competition game ever, but I need to improve my consistency and confidence in playing relaxed…
I lost 3-6, 3-6, but it felt very much closer. A great leap from the 0-6, 0-6 loss last summer…
You have to win the most important points, though. This was truly a loss to learn from…Every loss get’s you closer to a win…:-)
Tomorrow’s doubles day.
Tough opponents in Jance/Tatschl, but not impossible if my game keeps improving..:-).
Disappointed in the silly misses that cost too much, but proud of my new and improved game play, as a whole! 🙂
All for now, over & out!

Amphion 2012 – Day 1

Je suis arrivé! I have arrived!
One of my straps on my wheelchair, there to secure the position of my legs, were missing. Then again my wheelchair seems to be one of the unluckiest there are after this, and the crooked wheels last time around… The Arlanda cargo handlers are under suspicion..
I tried out the tennis courts with my friends ”the French Quads” (in the same classification as myself), for about 90 minutes. I felt relaxed and the strokes did as well, with quite good placement of the shots at the back-end of the court…
The draw was a bit tough though. This gang of French players has at least three guys I really think I should be able to beat. Funny enough, I instead got drawn against the very same guy that beat me 0-6, 0-6 in my first tournament last summer, Stephane Erismann. It’s a tough job, but given the clues to my game I’ve been working on since then, the comments I got today during our practise session, and the feeling I had and hope to keep, I’m getting there.
I hope to surprise you all by late tomorrow night, when the game is over…Time for some shut-eye and mental suggestion: stay relaxed, enjoy every stroke, and keep moving..and use that forehand cross as only you know how..
Bonne nuit!
All for now, over & out