It’s been yet another crazy few weeks for me, as you know I made the third round at the US Open with some decent wins of Mikhail Youzhny and Andreas Seppi before going down to Tommy Robredo in a tough battle out on Arthur Ashe Stadium in a night match on the middle Saturday.
For me to play a scheduled night match at the Open was a big thing, its something that I have always wanted to do and something that most players have spoken with each other about doing, it really is about as prime time as it gets in tennis. The stars of other sports, film and music come out to watch and the atmosphere is electric with loud music playing as you enter the court and at the change of ends, there is also a buzz amongst the crowd between points that you just don’t get on any other court or session in the world, I absolutely loved being out there.
I came out flying, I felt so loose and free although prior to the match I was nervous as you like but I embrace the nerves, its a sign I care and I use it to fire the adrenaline too. For a good hour I played near perfect and the court felt huge and the ball was the size of a basketball too, everything was just flowing but Tommy being the experience competitor and total pro he is, hung in there until he found an opening and at 6/3 2/0 I should have gone a double break up and he played a very smart match from then on. He used the slice to good effect and really turned the match on it’s head and from having things going so smoothly I was a little unprepared for the flip and my error count started to rise, then as the match wore on the physical rallies took a toll and I started to have some issues with cramp. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again though, I enjoyed being out there and entertaining a great crowd. This is all still so new to me and I am just learning and there was a lot of learning for me at this year’s US Open, I will go away and improve on what has been highlighted and on what I have learned. That’s a promise!
This US Open was also the first time I have played doubles at a slam, I played with Bernie T which was great fun. We had a tough draw but actually came away from the match thinking we had let it slip through our hands and to then see those guys go on and make the final is a bit of a confidence booster in a way. We can definitely play good doubles together, we both serve and return well and both have good hands, the more we do it the better we will get at it and on top of all that it was a lot of fun too.
I went home to Canberra for all of two nights which was tough, I felt like I need a longer time at home and by the way my Mum squeezed me when I got home and left, I’m sure she would agree!! Being away from home is by far the toughest thing about this job, I love what I do and I know I am so so lucky to be able to play tennis for a living but it’s still a work in process for me learning to be on the road so much. I get great support from my coaches, agents etc but my family are also great and make regular trips out to me wherever I am which is so important to me. My Mum takes care of the travelling rota and decides who is going where and when, having their support with me on the road is a massive help.
I am in Cottesloe now preparing for Davis Cup against Uzbek, we are without Bernie who is injured which has made things tougher but we also have Sammie Groth coming in to the team and I’d challenge anyone to feel comfortable against Sam on grass, especially with his rocket of a serve. The team is made up of myself, Lleyton, Gooch, Grothy and my good mate Thanasi Kokkinakis. I’m confident we can put on a show and retake our place back in the world group next year, we love the grass and that mixed with the fire and desire to achieve great things for the Green and Gold in Davis Cup will make us a tough team to beat, I for one can not wait to get started.
It’s getting on a bit here, so I am going to head off and chill out for the rest of the evening before we hit the courts early again in the morning. Before I go I just want to congratulate Kei Nishikori on a great run to the US Open final and also a massive congratulations to Marin Cilic on winning his first major, I’ve been on the receiving end of his big game and I have no doubt he can win many more majors too, its great to see two new faces in a slam final and it only adds to the intrigue and excitement for 2015!!