Tokyo "It has been way too long." I dont know the exact count, but I feel that I have started my blog with those words way too many times. Anyone that used to check up on my posts has probably given up by now waiting for my updates, and I dont blame you at all. Even my biggest fans, those being my closest family have given up on asking me when the next update is coming up. Thats never a good sign.
I have decided that its time to start from scratch... in every sense. They will not be long essays, just few words here and there to tell you that I am alive. I also have a camera with me that will be put to use more often that it ever has been before. In the past I had a camera, but always hated being "that guy" asking people to pose for photos. Not really my thing; however i have learned from a really good friend Michael Kosta (www.michaelkosta.com) that "bloggin' ain't easy", even though he makes it super easy. Always puts up a few photos from each one of his shows, being that he is a comedian, puts a few funny captions and its pretty much done. I am going to try and follow his template, but i can't promise you any funny captions.
As I said, no long essays, so I will quickly update you on what has been going on last few months while I was MIA.
I started the summer off playing well, just didn't have anything to show for it on the paper. Finally, while in LA i started catching little momentum. I played two good matches in the qualifyings and drew Dudi Sela in the first round of the Main Draw. Two weeks before that I lost to him 7-5 in the third set, having match points in the second set. However, after watching that match and analyzing it with the help of Craig O'Shannessy (www.thebraingame.net) second time around it was a different story. For my next match I had to face Carlos Moya who I played once before at the 2004 US Open, in a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. In a similar way, Craig and I scouted Carlos and prepared a game plan to follow in our match. Everything was going great until my shoulder started acting up towards the end of the second set. With adrenaline still pumping and endorphins freely flowing, shoulder was still functional. After losing the second set, and being down a break in the third set, i was able to come back and beat Carlos in a third set tie break. That win meant a lot, for many reasons. I finally felt like i was playing well leading into the US Open, however next morning when it was time for me to warm up for my match vs. Juan Martin Del Potro, those feeling quickly changed. To put it in mild words, my shoulder was "shot." I had trouble lifting up my arm to put a shirt on, let alone hitting a serve. Few Celebrex pills later, it was starting to feel little bit better and I figured that once the match starts, adrenaline will take over once again and let me play through the pain, however, as the match progressed it only got worse. After i lost 76 62, I flew home that night to Jacksonville to get an MRI evaluation by one of the best radiologists, and a very good tennis players himself, Dr. Mark Frisk.
Initial MRI showed 2-3 millimeter tear, which might not sound that much to anyone, but to put it in perspective, a 5 millimeter tear requires a surgery.
I had 14 days to get ready for the US Open, without hitting any serves. If you know anything about me and my style of play, you will know that without a serve it was going to be a long day on the court playing anyone. Frustrating was an understatement when it comes to me describing my US Open showing. Playing one of the best returners in the world, Robby Ginepri, without a serve was not fun at all! From the first week of the US Open until about 3 days ago, i wasnt able to hit serve. 10 days ago I finally decided to get a cortisone shot to help take down all the inflammation. Ever since the shot, it has been getting progressively better each day. Fortunately, I was able to stay in shape by doing everything else other than serving of course.
Because shoulder has been feeling better, i have decided to make my way over to Tokyo for my next tournament. If the shoulder holds up, i am planning on going to Stockholm, Madrid, Basel and maybe one or two challengers back in States to finish off the year. I am roughly 100 points outside of being back in Top 100 in the ATP Rankings. Hopefully next few tournaments I will be able to cover that and go even further so I can set myself up for the next year.