Surprise Situation 10

Surprise Situation

I almost tripped myself up this morning. My singles match was scheduled for 10:30. I prepared to play early. At 7:30 I went to the gym and rode the stationery bike for 30 minutes to get my muscles loose, my blood and chi flowing. I did some exercise bands to wake up my upper body. I hit the mat and did my Phil Wharton stretches. Then a good breakfast. I reviewed my notes to remind myself of those parts of my game that needed reminding: use the kick serve, make sure that my first shot after returns and serves is within myself, hit to the open court without playing too close to the lines.

I was ready to go at 10:30 against the #9 seeded player. There were eight 10:30 matches and seven courts. We didn’t get one of the courts so had to wait for one of the 9:00 matches to finish. I found a spot in the bleachers and watched some of the matches that were going on. 10:45, 11:00, 11:15. Sitting and watching. Spectating, my emotions were going up and down as one of the top players was in a battle. Finally they called my name at 11:25 and gave us a court. I got up and felt stiff. My focus was not on my match. We get 10 minutes to warm up on court. I was trying to get loose and to feel the ball. 

I like to receive serve in the first game as it gives me that first game to get my match feel. My opponent won the toss and chose to receive. Shoot, that is bad.

So often what seems  good is bad and what seems bad is good. Turns out this challenge was good. It forced me to dial in with deeper focus. With more clarity about playing within myself in the first game. To serve with more spin to make sure that my first serves were not faults. I played an error free first game as I played with more care than usual (it is now on my to do list for all matches.) My focus, consistency, playing high percentage, mitigating risk and playing within myself continued game after game. I played the first set nearly error free and fought off every good shot my opponent hit. Point after point. No misses. Up 6-0, 3-0 I fought off thoughts of not losing a game. Mentally point by point. Shot by shot. I won three more games. 6-0, 6-0. I made only five errors in the match. I had an answer for every ball that came to my side of the court. One of the cleanest matches I have every played. 

Sometimes what seems bad is good. 

My mindset carried forward to the doubles quarterfinals where Brian and I won 6-1, 6-3. The first set of the doubles may have been the best set of doubles I have ever played. 

Thursday is the quarters of the singles and the semis of the doubles. I am pumped.

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