Here's the latest blog that was posted in the Dubai thread:
New to the blog!!!
WE HAVE A WILD CARD INTO QUALLIES!!!!!!!
We have a Wild Card!
As Roger walked onto the court today with a smile on his face, he announced proudly, "Michael McClooooney has a wild card in the quallies". 100% thanks to Roger, Roger's agent, and Michael's agent Olivier Van Lindonk. How you want to divide the 100% is debatable, but I would have to give most of the percentage points to Roger on this one.
Today was the day that we got back to business. Last night I got an unexpected call from Stanislas Wawrinka's coach asking me if Michael is interested in a hit at noon. I thought in my head "heck yeah, I'm interested in a hit with a top 30 guy", but I responded with "we're hitting with Roger at 3 so it'll have to be a light one".
We met Stan and his coach Dmitry (sp) out on the courts at 11:50am. I will now describe the workout that we had, which was organized around the fact that Stan flew in from Switzerland the night before. It was a 6 hour flight, but he was ready to roll.
The guys got a ton of rhythm hitting just down the middle of the court for about 25 minutes. They took a water break and each guy took volleys and overheads (15 minutes total). Then they engaged in some cross courts, but they didn't just hit cross. They played a high intensity cross court baseline game where the rule was that you can only hit a forehand. Many of our the Eagle Fustar junior players know this drill!
Then they went to the backhand side and played the same backhand cross game where you couldn't hit forehands.
Following that game, we mixed it up a bit and they played another backhand crosscourt game, only this time when one guy ran around to hit a forehand, it signaled that the point could be played full court. This way, by moving your feet well and getting in position to hit a forehand, you were rewarded with the fact that you were probably controlling the point.
Even in these cross court drills it's important to understand that footwork plays a key role although it's only a half court drill.
Another drink break ensued and the guys finished up with 3 pro style baseline games. A pro style baseline game is simply where one guy feeds, the other guy has to hit it crosscourt on the first ball. This way, the point is started in a more realistic manner, rather than dinking it back and forth down the middle for the first few shots. Also, this way, there is no "2 over rule". Everything counts in a pro style baseline game even if you miss the feed.
Michael continued hitting the ball great this morning and won 2 out of the 3 pro style baseline games. This completed our 1.5 hour hit with Stanislas. Him and his coach stayed on the court a bit longer to work on some more drilling.
After the hit, we stayed at the Medinat resort and treated ourselves to a full Asian buffet. The food ranged from all sorts of curry, sushi, various cuts of meat, and spicy potatoes Lets not forget about various desserts such as cheese cake and apple crumble. I love spicy food. Just recently, I made dinner back home and my wife could not finish her shrimp pasta. It was the spiciest thing I've ever tasted, loaded with spicy cilantro chutney and one or two green chili peppers (knowing me it was probably two). She was such a trooper.
The lunch for 2 cost over 100 bucks. There were no cheaper alternatives so we said let's do it!
FYI - Michael can't stand spicy food. We were in Louisiana for a future last year, where we were fortunate to get housing. Usually when you get housing, and this trip was no different, the host treats with some fine home cooking. I've never laughed so hard as I did when I saw Michael eating his food very politely in Baton Rouge. There were actual beads of sweat coming down his forehead. He genuinely needed a wristband. The lady cooked us fantastic crawfish dish, spicy of course, and I don't know if I enjoyed the food more or his pain. I told him later that that was his mental toughness training for the day.
With our stomachs fairly full and not so much time to digest, we hit the court with Roger at 3:00. We hit for a full 2.5 hrs and the boys did play a set. All I have to say is that I am not going to be in the pool tomorrow with the ladies, but it was close. Michael hung in there, but in all fairness to Roger, he got pushed pretty hard today before they played the set. He did some serious, lengthy 2 on 1's. I'm guessing he did over an hour of 2 on 1's and 2 on 1 simulations (Eagle Fustar term for one guy in a corner moving the other guy around).
I will be taking my foot off the pedal a bit for Michael's training now that I know he will be competing on Saturday. We will be hitting once with Roger tomorrow (Thursday), and then once with him again on Friday. The Friday hit will be at the tournament site and I'm very excited to check that out. We will also be switching hotels on that day. I am yet to decide what sort of physical work we will be doing to complement the hitting.
Italian place again for dinner. Pizza Napoli is the go to choice for me. Gotta love anchovies!http://www.eaglefustar.com/blog.html