Sorry to repost this, but I thought it would be appropriate under my journal.
Well, this guy is my mentor and beats me constantly.
I learned a lot from him (he was not exactly my teacher), when I started playing. I beat him a couple of times in the past, vs like 50 defeats (maybe not that many but it sure feels that way).
Anyways, today I got some rest before the match, took a hot bath. On court, I felt fresh and ready to go. We started with me serving and I promptly lost my serve. I went 0-2 down when he held. I levelled at 2-2 by holding and breaking. Then I held to go up 3-2. He levelled at 3-3 and it got interesting. I stepped up my serve and won 4-3 and then broke him for 5-3 lead. I closed out the first set at 6-3.
I thought I was gonna win easy. Then he started playing his best tennis.
We started off with him serving in the second set, and he went up 5-2. I made it 4-5, but got broken to lose the second set, when I went for my big serves.
Anyways, then the match got interesting because we have to play the decider. I was adamant that I am not gonna lose today. I played very defensive, and kept the balls in without attacking much. Not really my style, but the thought of trying to win made me do this. We were neck to neck with holding serve or getting broken. 4-4, and then I got a crucial break to lead 5-4. I basically had the match in my racquets. Four good serves is all I need. I made 3 DFs, and lost the fourth point to get broken at love (it’s a lot of pressure trying to close out a match).
Anyways, he served then and held for a 6-5 lead. At this point I normally fold and wither away, cause I have to hold to stay alive and my serve is the first thing that crumbles. I dunno how I held, but I served some very good shots. 6-6 tiebreak. He was gasping for breath (he smokes a lot). I was tired too, but I felt like I could do another set before I collapsed. That gave me some mental edge in the tiebreak. He was serving underarm since the beginning of the third set. Trust me, its not that simple to return it, because he generates a lot of spin and even though I was standing in mid court it still gave me trouble.
He commented before the start of the tiebreak, that he wished he could serve the regular serve at this point.
Third set tiebreak.
He served and I got a break when his forehand sailed wide. 1-0. I went up 2-0, and then gave back a mini break 2-1. Then I got one off his serve 3-1, then he leveled at 3-3. We switched sides. I went up 4-3, and he leveled again with his serve 4-4, and went up 5-4. I leveled by serving and made it 5-5. And then he got first matchpoint, at 6-5 by getting minibreak. I thought this was it. He served with a lot of spin and very low, and I went for my slice down the line and got an error of his strong forehand. I saved one matchpoint, 6-6. We changed sides again, and he went up again, 7-6. I was serving now, and saved one more by winning the point. 7-7. Then I had my first matchpoint at 8-7. He served and leveled it 8-8 (he saved one MP). Then I got one more minibreak and went up 9-8. I served for the match, and he leveled again. 9-9 (saved second MP). I served and kept the ball in , and he got a good deep return and came to the net by placing the ball to my backhand. I went for the down the line pass, only with a floating slice that landed in and that he missed by lunging for it. 10-9. It was his serve. He served and my return was deep, and I had some spin on it, he suddenly pulled the trigger and went for his big forehand, and it sailed LOOOOONG!!!!!
I couldn’t believe that I had won!! It was a lot of mental effort and determination and persistence. I just didn’t go away. At 9-9 when we changed sides in tiebreak for the 3rd time, he was actually leaning against the wall and said, “You win, I am too tired”. I could have said, ok, fine lets stop. But I didn’t. And we kept playing. I think he was only half serious about quitting.
We embraced at the net, and he said, to me, “For the first time I think you beat me fair and square by outplaying me”. I said, “I needed this win, and this is going to help me with other aspects of my life as well, with increased confidence”.
I think I made a big breakthrough today. It was VERY big. I dunno if I will “own” him as he predicted after the match from now on, but this was a big moment for me not just playing tennis wise, but in my life. Tennis is a HUGE part of my life, that’s why I feel this way I think.
I got a lot of work to do. But one thing I believe now. Any time I step on the court against anyone from now on, I won’t feel fear, because all I want to do is to just take the match to them; not think of winning it per se, but NOT handing it to them. I just want to stand my ground until I am too tired and collapse.
The last part is the sweetest part of my post. The racquet I used to get my breakthrough victory over my mentor was the Federer racquet, Wilson nSix-One Tour 90 nCode.
So far I have played against four different opponents, and three used to “own” me, and I have beaten all of them. I haven’t yet lost with this racquet. And I feel confident when I step on the court like I can’t lose.