Sardinia Open 2012 – Game day 3

On Friday, there were both the consolation final, and the last game of the round-robin doubles…
The consolation final was against a Wallner (AUT). He plays long, high balls with a lot of spin (especially on his backhand, as he doesn’t tape his racquet). I was too eager at first, as his shots were relatively loose. Well placed returns and shots, surpriced me close to the baseline (actually just inside after my serves, which is just so wrong.., I know..😁) Lost the first set, consequently.
In the second set I discovered his problems with lack of times, served lower/closer to him and improved my moves.. Managed to reach 4-4, but lost 2-6, 4-6. A nice game though, with some excellent serve/volley rallies and a nice ”I’ll get you next time”- feeling…😃
The doubles later on, was mine and Sarah Hunter’s (CAN) opportunity to redeem ourselves, after the close-but-not-quite tiebreak loss the other day.
We did not quite get the same flow as before in the first set, as too many mistakes made it difficult. 2-6. In the second set, the ”Shadow” (as she called me, being all dressed in black) was back. We used more consistent doubles strategies using long shots in the middle to confuse them, and the odd on-the-line-killer (from both of us!). Played great ‘til 4-4, and even better from then on…😃
The last and deciding set/match-tiebreak (to 10, used in doubles games on the tour..) was really tight. We were up 7-4, lost to 7-7. Finally we had a match point at 9-8. My experienced, (former world #2) partner was to serve two points… The anticipation was high, as the receiver was quite tired, from what what we could tell..
Sarah’s patented spin failed her/us, and sadly her patented cool as well, as the result was two double faults and an angled ace on me, to kill us off. We had suddenly lost!!😳😢😡
Disappointed, and quite shocked/angry/sad for a while (as this was so close to my greatest tennis success thus far)… Cooled down and felt better the day after (I had already reminded both myself and Sarah: ”play as a team, lose as a team…”).
I helped my partner to warm up for her singles final the next day… Sarah had helped me to reach my greatest game play ever, after all, so no (t too) hard feelings 😊😄😉.
She is a nice friend (when she sticks to the game plan..😉)
Practise play and a very entertaining men’s open final’s game followed.
Homeward bound after two excellent tennis tournaments.
Merci Beaucoup, île de Ré.
Grazie Mille, Sardegna!
All for now, over & out.

Sardinia Open 2012 – Game Day 2

Me and former singles world #2 in the quad class (the mixed class for less mobile players), Sarah Hunter (CAN), were up in the first match of the round-robin doubles, against Solna team mate Jansson (SWE) and former world #3 Raffaele (ITA).
Two world team cup players and former paralympians, aiming their shots at my team’s weakest link…Me..😳😳
I tried to focus on what was needed. Decent first serves, relaxed forehand topspins, and every ball to the back and the middle of their court, in order to confuse them, as is beneficial in doubles…
Mission accomplished?, one wonders…😳
I played great, actually.. Played topspins at the back and in the middle, and even some nice backhands with proper length. I have got to remember this grip and the way I held my racquet…(I use one grip for all strokes, taping my hand onto the racquet, for those not knowing)..
First four games were no-ad’s, as sometimes in doubles (no advantage points, but one deciding point at 40 all. (1-3).
We lost the first set 2-6, sadly despite great points from both of us (the service mistakes were actually not mine for once…) We had mostly even games.
In the second set, I actually won a few points on my own (volleys and long topspins). What a feeling!! Eventually, we lost the second set and the game after being 6-5 down, getting back to tie-break, and then played a tight 5-7 tie-break. 2-6, 6-7(5)…
Tough…but against this opposition, one cannot complain too much..😊
I’ve never played better!!! I’ll enjoy this for a bit, savour the moment, along with the comment from my doubles partner (former world #2!) Sarah Hunter: You played great!
The happiest tennis moment thus far…
Singles consolation (first round losers) tomorrow. Really tough, given the wheelchair rugby playing Austrian Wallner’s relatively mild disability.
Just after that game, the other doubles game is coming up, with my new-found favourite tennis partner Sarah Hunter…
Go, go, Gadget skills!!😃
All for now, over & out!

Sardinia Open 2012 – Game Day 1

I came here very late on Sunday after the entire day at airports. Nantes-Amsterdam-Rome-Alghero (Sardinia).
Nice training sessions though, on both Monday and Tuesday, with both old and new friends. Walking distance from the hotel.. A big plus..!
As I did the draw, it was a bit disappointing to be up against Solna team mate and world team cup player Christer Jansson (SWE). Ok though, as the alternatives would have been even worse…
Tried to focus on high balls at the back of the court, preferably on either side to make him chase the ball whilst uncertain of the bounces close to the base line… 😁😄
Worked out alright, although he’s too good at placing returns at the sidelines…I played a few advantage games and won some, with nice rallies and volleys à la Edberg…😃, or with decisive shots onto empty spaces…
Lost fair and [], though…
1-6, 2-6. Thanks, Christer! I had fun! 😃
Doubles tomorrow…
All for now, over & out.

Ile de Ré 2012 – Game Day 3

Ile de Ré 2012The game day yesterday started out nicely as I was asked to warm up with my friends and both the singles finalists (Cotterill (GBR)/Raffaele (ITA)). A perfect start before my own game (the consolation final) shortly afterwards…
I had my tactics well defined: to avoid Mr Green’s (GBR) strong topspin forehand and to make him move a lot across the court (as he drives a power-chair (using his racquet-hand), in which it’s quite difficult to change directions swiftly)..
I started out great, moving a lot (the moment you stop rolling and attacking the ball, you’re often too late), being 2-0 up.
Then I gave him a few too many easy shots, and perhaps I didn’t move back to the far back of the court as much after my shots.. There were quite a few advantage games, and long rallies (felt stupid when he lobed me, though).
I played well, but not consistent enough. Quite happy with the game as a whole though, even though the score doesn’t indicate the close games…
Lost 2-6, 0-6, but I’m now felling confident that I’m getting quite close to playing the game I do during practise, also during tournaments. Some likely dangerous shots (like my attacking forehand slice) are still in hiding when it gets serious, but I’ll get it out eventually… 😄
A really nice tournament, given that you adjust to the French organising attitude of laisser-faire/whatever happens happens (that they never understood that everyone wants help to move the chairs onto the courts, and that it seems like a surprise to them, every single time, that everyone wants bananas and water during their games. Small things, but a bit annoying with peoples’ gold fish memories, when you’d rather focus on your game preparation. It is an international ITF2 after all..😁. Aside from that, and the expensive lodgings, I loved it here.
Merci beacoup!
Sardinia, next!
All for now, over & out!

Ile de Ré 2012 – Day 2

An early breakfast with lots of scrambled eggs for the protein…
The consolation (first round losers) game against Alves (FRA) started 8.30, my legs freezing from the cold in my tennis shorts. I started out great, 2-0, but was a bit too happy with some shots, not moving when the returns surprised me. A poor shot then often was the result on my part.
From 2-3 onwards, we were neck-and-neck. I had several 40-0 service (!) games (the last one of the set ended with a nice killer-volley ”Edberg-style” from me..😃), but he out-manouvred me in several of his service games. I managed to break his last service game and won 7-5.
In the second set I focused on his serves being the same slice or straight all the way through, while focusing on calm shots at the empty spaces of the court, as he didn’t move that quickly. This proved successful (don’t complicate things..😊). A comfortable 7-5, 6-1 win, in my best (strategic) game ever. Consolation finals on Saturday against my hard-hitting doubles partner Richard Green (GBR), in his power-chair.
Tough times, but it is the (consolation) finals, after all…

I hope for a practise game tomorrow…
All for now, over & out!

Ile de Ré 2012 – Day 1

The first game started great. I focused on calm strokes on Jance’s (FRA) backhand, aiming for the back of the court. I was up 2-0, moving really well, but then I started hesitating before his shots. I ended up waiting for his shots rather than moving my chair aggressively. His relatively well placed serves and aggressive shots then took the better of me. Some great games including an advantage point at 2-3, but I just wasn’t moving well enough. In the second set, I stopped moving completely, it seems.
A nice lesson, with some improvements, but let’s forget the other half of the game and my lame serves throughout..😒.
The doubles game with Richard Green (GBR) against Huegenin (FRA)/Johnson (GBR) was about the same, albeit we played even better throughout the first set, and had a few missed advantage points. A really great set, given the level of the opposition. In the second set, I don’t really know what happened. Maybe we became too eager to finish off the points, hence missing due to unforced errors. We lost clearly 3-6, 1-6, but with a smile, given our play in the first set..😊
A nice dinner and an early night, preparing for the consolation (first round loser bouts), starting against my once doubles partner Alves (FRA). I beat him, just, in the third set half-a-year ago. A slow mover having problems with high backhands…I should win if I stick to my plan and keep moving at all times…
All for now, over & out!

Ile de Ré 2012 – Draw Day

Salut! Got up at 3 am, in order to be on the beautiful French island of île de Ré in the afternoon. Lovely place in the Atlantic, where summer still applies.
The draw took place in the town of Ste Marie de Ré in some historic building(s). Lots of white low houses, green plants all over the place, the odd alló alló-type café, and a market place. Not to mention the vinyards… Lots to see and experience if you’d brought your own car..
The draw was interesting but difficult. I’m up against my best French friend Séb Jance. He’s more consistent than me, but I won a set off him not too long ago..
The food here is excellent, so some fancy grub and an early night then..😃
All for now, over & out.