Another (last I think) entry in his blog
I am happy to have played our doubles match indoors this morning. Olivier [Rochus] and I did not want to hang around after such a long day Thursday. Jeff Coetzee and Rogier Wassen played really well and were too strong [winning 6-1, 6-3]. It was tough to play our best level.
Beforehand, we passed by Stephane before the match. My legs were in a bad state following the [David] Ferrer match yesterday. I was feeling bad physically last night and needed 20-25 minutes of stretching with my lower back. Olivier and I are now in a good state to prepare Melbourne.
It was a hot and long day Thursday, but I know I am good for five-set matches now. Olivier and I had a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant last night and were a little sleepy already. I returned to my room and slept for six or seven hours. I’m still not used to the time difference.
Although we played our doubles at midday, I am flying off to Melbourne in the next couple of hours so this will be my last blog. I’m of the opinion that when a tournament is over it is best to leave for the next tournament. Now we go to Melbourne, which is a main goal for every player. We will try to prepare ourselves over there for a couple of days, where the weather is 36C compared to 15C here.
Right now, I’m not really thinking about the Australian Open, but when I get to Melbourne; into the stadium, the locker room and see everyone trying to prepare for a two-week stay. You’ll see the favorites [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal trying to play their best level, but others are there as well.
When I came off court my coach told me about the draw for Belgium players. I know it a little bit, but we’ll see what happens Monday and Tuesday.
I am playing German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round. He played well here this week. We played once last year, in Munich on clay (head-to-head).
But next week will be completely different. Philipp is a hard-hitter and plays well from the baseline. We played some club matches in France during the winter, so we got to know each other a bit better. It will be 50-50.
The winner will play Nadal, who I played in Monte Carlo last year. Nadal will play [Robert] Kendrick again, who he struggled past en route to the Wimbledon final. Obviously Rafa lost to [Xavier] Malisse in Chennai last week, so he is losing matches, and perhaps we have a chance.
My coach has just gone to collect some sandwiches at Subway, while I need to pack my bags back at the hotel. My clothes are all over the room. After a couple of days, my clothes are normally under the bed, which means I have to really search the room before I leave. I may forget something!
When I came here from Doha I didn’t have matches under my belt, but at least now I have played three singles and two doubles matches in Auckland. Three wins out of five is not too bad. My level is getting better and better and I have a few days to get ready.
Some of my friends have read the blog, as they have text messaged me. I haven’t told anyone really, but friends are following from afar. My first coach I ever had, who gave me lessons at 12 and 13, is a great guy and still supports me. He came to the Roland Garros last year. It’s always good to see him. Also a few basketball players in the Belgium league, who I train with occasionally, are reading it as well.
Wish me luck next week.
I really like it where he says his clothes are under his bed and he has to search all room