Last Friday night (August 13), I made my long awaited return to a competitive tennis court. In what was a 1,400+ day hiatus from the game, I returned. It was on August 18, 2006, that I played my last match. After the match my back problems began.
I wish I could say that I won the title, but that was the dream I had on Thursday night. Actually, my visualization on Thursday night was just playing solid points and giving myself a chance. Coming back from anything is always a tough proposition, let alone a four-year absence. So now a few days after a tough loss in my opening round match, I have a few thoughts.
Breathe. I knew coming into the match that I would be nervous. I am a competitive person by nature and so I always want to win and I went into this match believing that I could. It wasn’t until he third or fourth game that I finally got my breathing under control.
Be Prepared. Physically I was more than ready. Mentally I am close. But the game still isn’t there. I actually served really well and my backhand was pretty solid. But I was not even close to prepared for the way my opponent struck the ball; nor was I prepared to hit as much slice as I needed to on either wing. I need to get better at that and develop my all-around game to be ready for any opponent.
Attack. I did this well on a few occasions. I knew from talking with my fellow players that against my first-round opponent, it would be imperative to get to the net as often as I could. For those who know me, that is not my strong suit. I prefer to sit on the baseline, play the percentages and be aggressive only when necessary. It’s how I am best. But in the first couple of points, I was insanely aggressive coming to the net. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I will have to work on that part of my game if I want to add it as a weapon, but I think it could be.
All in all, it was good to be back on court. The court is a place I have loved most of my life and it was a gift to just be back for that one night. I can’t wait for my next tournament. After losing this match 6-0, 6-0, my goal it to win a game. But as they say, love means nothing (in tennis of course).
(Flickr photo via nicogenin)