So we played a 3 and a half hour 5 set match today.
Now I have been playing with this kid for almost 4 years now, we play ever summer and basically we have helped each others game up to whatever it is now. But as far as I can remember I have never lost more than a set against him in any single given week! But lately he's stepped it up quite a bit - see he's one of those people who has the game, a really dangerous and deadly game when he's on, but somehow just hasn't been able to put it all together and click when needed. Well I did give him the Winning Ugly to read and he read it, and I never knew a book can make that much of a difference (I haven't read it yet since I have 'matured' as a tennis player) but today's match is proof otherwise. Last time we played I came back from 0-5 to beat him 7-5, so you kinda know how I usually am confident against him.
First set, we trade breaks, and he evntually goes up a few holds and beats me 6-3. I was surprised and decided to step it back up next set. Second set - he totally destroys me 6-0. At this point I am like.. what just happened? I have never lost two sets in a week to him and two sets in a single match? And I thought losing 3-6 itself was probably my worst set lost to him. So I said enough is enough and beat him 6-3 next set. And 6-4 the set after that. So I convince myself I was just not warmed up (well I haven't played in two weeks where as he sorta plays everyday) and am comfortable again. 5th set. I go up 3-0, then I am up 4-1 serving. So I am thinking, I am up serving at 4-1 in a fifth set. And this is against the kid who let me come back from 0-5 to beat him 7-5 last week. I am fine ..right?
Wrong - he beat me 6 games in a row to win the fifth set 6-4.
Bottom line, he beat me fair and square to win the match 6-3 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-4.
I am impressed, especially that last set, I mean i was rolling, my serve came back and my serve was deadly and I was playing quite well. One thing he did though in the last set was serve only first serves. And he has a deadly first serve, I don't think I won any points off his first serve in that whole last set and thats not even an exaggeration. So he double faulted, but he served first serves only.
So I am really happy for him, that was a fantastic match. But, no mercy - we are playing tommorrow morning and this time I am looking at him in a whole new perspective, thats what he did today and he beat me. So I too will now have to start thinking, protect myself from his strategies and attack him. And I'll beat him (well I hope, I can no longer be confident after today)
I am really happy though. A nice long match, played well, and even if it was after two weeks i am still fine, my body isn't falling apart. I might not be able to do the same serves again tommorrow but I am still quite well. And the fitness should only get better as I am taking a page out of Freebird's journal and starting my own little training routine - nothing as intense, I'd be surprised if i can consistently do 10 pushups, 10 situps and about 15 minutes running for more than a week.