Czech Indoor, 2013 – Day 1

I was up against my friend Peter Tatschl (AUT), again. For the fourth time this year. I have improved in movement, follow-through on forehands, and have developed a more stable backhand. Hence, I looked forward to it with anticipation. If he plays well and wins, so be it. I don’t want to lose having played differently from what I intended. With hindsight, I came pretty close..
I started serving and decided on lose serves (Peter likes balls with pace..) It worked out fine. His forehand returns quite often went way out.
I was up 1-0 and 2-1, with 40-15 or even 40-0. However, I gave away some ad-side forehand returns not looking at the ball, and some cross-court lay-aways went out or into the net for the same reasons. Some forehand shots were too loose (do loops when you need time!), resulting in a return on my backhand and at the back, leaving no time for me to go back and to get the ball back from off the baseline into the court.
I’ve decided though, to focus on the good stuff…
I increased my distance on my returns (his deuce serves), when I missed a few off the bounce. I hit a few really nice cross-court forehand winners when focusing on the ball and the follow-through. Follow-through is key!!!
I placed a few backhands (slices!) out of his forehand reach when I looked at the ball without being concerned where he might be. I even pushed a topspin backhand into his backhand corner to win a point. Never seen in a match before… It didn’t get me further than 2-1, 3-3, 3-6, 0-3, 1-4, 3-4, 3-5,4-5, 4-6, so not the best score against Peter 3-6, 4-6, but probably my best game so far against him.
Focus on your returns though, and enable yourself to move towards the ball (paced for a forehand) more often…
When playing for fun later at night, with my doubles partner Marc McLean (USA), returning some of his quite powerful serves, I returned four straight winners in the corners, and Marc went: How did he win? It’s all in your head!”
He’s right you know…
Consolation and an interesting doubles coming up…
All for now, over & out!

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