It is exactly one year later since my post about last year’s West Coast Cup experience and I’m happy to sit here to be among the team that brought the cup home to San Francisco. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my teammates, our captains and our supporters who sent well wishes to the team before we ventured out to LA.
In the weeks leading up to the first cut, I was very determined to make the team. I went into USGO focused on getting fit and playing my best and the occasion (being there, feeling like the US was home, experiencing how big it was, enjoying being seeded) consumed me and I allowed it to prevent me from playing my best tennis in singles. I also learned that I also needed to strengthen some muscles which caused my back to seize up that week which also impacted my performance. This was a huge blow for me considering that less than a week beforehand, I had won my first singles USTA tournament match and fought my way to the final. In the month that followed, I knew the West Coast Cup was on the horizon and I wanted to put USGO behind me and make the team. I also wanted to win the next USGO tournament in singles; which I did. All the while I played USTA matches and built confidence and momentum and the summer would end with our team winning the local championship and making a solid effort at the District championships at the 3.0 level. Contrary to last year, I played and practiced with excitement and passion versus tension and pressure. I enjoyed playing tough matches and accepting more feedback from not only my teammates but my coach. I did not peak before West Coast Cup last year; rather I played my best tennis at the end of the year during the Palm Springs Open. I was burnt out having tried to play everything (Hollaran, Compass, Detroit, Seattle) and developed a complex about choking in big matches. I admitted that I choked — put that word on a ‘post-it’ stared at it and vowed to figure out how to deal with it. Every match has its momentum swings, but I accepted that in 2012, I lost matches because I simply could not execute and let the moment get to me.
The summer leading into this year’s West Coast Cup Campaign was different. I had played enough USTA matches to have confidence that I could play through tough matches. I practiced regularly. I tried different string combinations and tensions to figure out what worked. I improved my fitness level and I also ensured that I did not burn out. I sought comfort and help from Tim, my coach who I’ve worked with all year to help me take my game to another level. I didn’t play every tournament leading up to this year’s tournament, but I still played more than I had anticipated. I played my way into the main draw finals of a GLTA event, fearing that I would somehow not play more than a single match during this year’s Cup. There are two trophies on my window sill that will now remind me that I got through 9 matches in 4 days. I was able to find joy in a game that can at times be my greatest humiliation and joy and it was awesome.
I am very fortunate to have been part of two of the three teams in West Coast Cup history. I am so thankful for Warren and Matt for giving me a chance to join last year. I thank this year’s team for carrying me and for supporting me during this year’s campaign; especially the crew who also came to Vancouver. I really felt that the team came together this year and we rose to the occasion to peak at the right time. I respect what our leaders, Joe and Michael had to do in order to help us win — it takes courage to make tough decisions. In the end, we came together as a team and we made the most of the weekend. I will always remember this win, but I’ll also remember the energy from the other teams (LA, San Diego and Palm Springs), the inclusive LGBT environment and the process to get onto the team.
I’m looking forward to taking a well deserved break from tennis for a while to take up other hobbies, catch up with friends and to get ready for the next tournament. In the meantime, I’m going to sit back, relax and enjoy the US Open.