When I look at back the highlights from 2012, being part of the West Coast Cup will definitely be among them. Since I made the team back in June, it has been awesome to get to practice, improve and make new friends along the way. Even though this was not a winning weekend for me (I was up against some stiff competition in both the singles and doubles) or our city overall, I’m very proud of how we played, how we supported each other and the overall weekend. Also, given the past few months and all the changes I’ve tried to make to become better, I feel like I’m turning a corner based on this weekend.
I played a few tournaments leading up to the Cup and none was more emotional or unsettling than Seattle. Prior to Seattle, I played LA and crashed out of the third round in singles, second in doubles and I was pretty devastated. After that I began working with Tim, my coach, to refine my strokes, work on tactics and then get set for West Coast Cup and Seattle. A few months later, I played Seattle where things were coming together. I played a great first match, hitting hard with pace and mixing up all of my shots. In the next round, I would play someone, R, who took the game I brought in the previous round and cut me apart. I also was nervous because I had not won back to back matches consistently and was tight. I was bageled, thinking about how the score would be received by the captains in San Francisco who had yet to finalize the WCC roster and I panicked. I was broken in the second set and during the change over I looked at my handsome opponent and decided to open up a conversation. He shared with me that he was in remission, having fought back from having Leukemia and was happy to be on court. I looked him in the eyes and knew instantly that I was not ready to lose that match. It took two tiebreaks, but I eventually pulled out a 0-6, 7-6, 7-6 win. I broke down in tears, hugged R and tried to pull myself together for the quarters. I went on to hold a 5-2 lead in the quarters and lost that match 7-5, 6-1. The third round took everything out of me. I didn’t actually believe I could win and that’s what happened. Big choke. I still had fun in Seattle, winning entry to Denver 2013 and a Halo prize pack, but I could have had the title and just didn’t muster the mental focus and belief to win that match.
Seattle followed me to Detroit where I also had the same problem — lacking in belief, unable to close out the match, going down 2-6, 7-5, 7-6. I held set points in each set. I knew I had yet to beat M, but I abandoned a winning game plan and played tight, tense nervy tennis. There were as many brilliant points as there were ugly points. I didn’t enjoy that match at all. The night before I was rattled trying to get my wrist tendonitis under control with ice and ibuprofen. Either way, the better player won who waited for me to meltdown. Another choke, but “Adrian” from a year ago would not have been able to fight through it physically — small consolation. I played consolation having another miss in the second match, another tight one 6-5, up, I did not hold and ended up losing it 8-6. My only highlight from that tournament was making the semis in the doubles, and for the third consecutive time, losing the title to the champions. I may need to take a break from Detroit for a while.
In the week between Detroit and West Coast Cup, I rested, iced and focused on staying relaxed and having fun. I lost the singles match, but battled for nearly 4 hours, slugging it out with my opponent from LA. I went down 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, but I fought for everything. I was cheered on by my team and other spectators. I played with more belief than in the previous weeks and months and I had fun. Nothing else in my life compares to being on a court fighting for every point
and trying to win a match. I’ve grown to love those pressure situations. I was honored to receive the award for “Most Competitive Match” with my singles opponent and in my speech referenced the joy of being in San Francisco, playing tennis, being part of the team and that I had basically felt like I won already. I honestly wanted that match to swing my way, but I know so much clicked in terms of patience, aggression, belief; I’m pretty sure the next time I’m on court, things will be different.
So that’s a wrap for West Coast Cup — looking forward to helping the team win the cup next year. Until then, I’ll be on the practice courts.