After a good start to the year in both singles and doubles in which I had my best win to date at the Loughborough ITF against the number 1 seed ranked 273 . I then headed to Greece for my first international travel of year. I played in the same events in Greece last year and they were heavily rain affected, so heading across I was mentally ready for any type of weather. Although this year the rain was a non-factor for the two weeks I was there, the wind was howling most of the time. This made for very hard playing conditions in which it was hard to play flashy tennis, you just have to work very hard physically to be ready for any sudden changes in the ball speed or direction, and when hitting the ball you’ve got to give yourself much bigger margins to allow for the wind to take its course and my ball still go in! In the first week I beat a Greek wild card first round, then in the last 16 I beat the 6th seeded player who is ranked 627 in the world. I came up just short in a close match in the quarter finals 4-6 6-7, but nevertheless it was a good week on the singles court where I was able to win hard matches in very tough conditions. In the doubles I was playing with fellow leeds lad, Jonno Gray, where we made it to the semi finals before losing to the eventual winners.
Due to being successful in the first week it meant I got no rest before the second weeks tournament started due to having to come through qualifying. I did that successfully beating 2 world ranked players. I then won my first match in a tough 3 set battle, before losing in the last 16 to the number 2 seed in the tournament. In the doubles I played with Jonno again, and this time we made it to the final but lost a close match.
I was intending to stay out there for another week but due to playing 15 matches on 12 consecutive days my body was starting to feel very beat up, and my arm was giving me some pain. I decided it was best to head home to see my Physio (www.physioaction.com I would highly recommend,) just to ensure a slight niggle didn’t turn into something more serious.
After a few days off and then a week of training I headed out to Djerba, a small island in Tunisia. Due to my ranking increases from my good start to the year I got straight into the main draw of all the tournaments. That doesn’t sound like a lot but over the course of 4 tournaments that saved me having to play 12 more matches. This set me up nicely for the best trip of my career so far. I made the last 16 the first two weeks, before losing to the 4th and 1st seeds respectively. Both of these matches were close 3 setters, the first one I lost 7-5 and the second, 7-6. Although losses are tough to take I found many positives from being so close to beating players ranked around 300/400 in the world. In the third week I had a breakthrough where I made the semi-final, eventually losing the ex top 50 player Daniel Brands of Germany. He was a little too good for me on the day but I learnt a lot. In the final week I made the last 16 again, before losing another close match where I had set points in the second set. It could have been a real breakthrough trip in terms of ranking points but I feel it was there in terms of my tennis. I played consistently well for 4 weeks, whilst physically and mentally feeling very good.
Off the court in Tunisia we managed to spend some time at the beach and see some of Djerba, which was very nice, and busy with tourist who were there on holiday. I stayed with two other players from team bath in a nice apartment in close proximity to the courts.
My singles ranking has now moved up to career high 725 and my doubles is 370. Both of these are putting me in a good position to push on for the rest of the summer.
None of my tennis and travel would be possible without my sponsors, so thank you to them;
Czajka Care Group - www.czajka.co.uk
Serious Accident Lawyers - www.seriousaccident-lawyers.co.uk
Ellesse UK https://ellesse.co.uk ,
Solinco Sports http://solincosports.com
Head UK - www.head.com/en-BG/sports/tennis
Physio Action - www.physioaction.com