Let me introduce myself to you all. I'm 28 years old, I live in the Netherlands and all my life I have been busy practising sports. Since I was a little child I played soccer and I managed to reach the Dutch third division at the age of seventeen. At the age of 18/19, I stopped playing soccer (too much politics, lost the fun in it) and I started boxing and kickboxing. This also went quite okay and I fought tournaments in different countries, mostly in Europe. I also like running and finished a few half marathons. Despite working fulltime and getting my business degree, I always managed to work out at least 3 or 4 times a week. But then, the injury started...
I started feeling little shocks in my left knee and it got worse and worse. I was training for a kickboxing match in the UK and a 15 km run and since I am stubborn, instead of taking some rest, I continued to workout until it got to a point on which it got impossible. I have an injury called jumpers knee. I started to go to doctors, hospitals, physiotherapist and specialists. After a year and a half of visits, there was no solution for my injury. I started doing fitness to stay in shape and quickly I got huge biceps and a sixpack. But I was missing the competition element.
As a child I watched a lot of tennis. I was a fan of Pete Sampras and later came Federer. Richard Kraijeck and Robin Haase are from my town so I have seen them play a lot. I never had thought of playing tennis until my physiotherapist (physiotherapist number 3!) told me to try it. The impact should be less on my knee and I could slide over the court. So at the end of 2014 I went with a friend to a tennis court and started playing.
This went quite well and my friend, after a few matches, didn't want to play anymore against me, he was tired of losing. I've asked another friend who had played tennis and competion for 3 years a few years ago and so I found a new tennis mate. This also went quite okay for me and I currently have a positive balance with him of 13 wins and 1 loss. Although he has much more experience and technique than I do, I compensate this by fighting for each point and never giving up (something I inherited probably from my Portuguese roots).
To learn the basics, I followed eight classes in the spring of 2015. My coach was the brother of Ysaline Bonaventure (a Belgian Fedcup player). The classes have ended but I'm still learning each week new things just by playing against more experienced opponents. Last Sunday I played a training match against a much more experienced opponent and won by 6-2 6-3. I also watch a lot of youtube movies that I try to copy on the court. Tennis is an incredible technical game so there is always a lot to improve, that's also the beauty of it.
My strongest point is my will to fight. I never give up and run all across the court to get the point. Power is another strong point and my forehand is also quite strong. My (doublehanded) backhand needs a lot of improvement, so does my service and my volleys. I'm most confortable when I play at the baseline but I am trying to play more at the net. I play with a Babolat Pure Drive racket.
After having done approximately 25 matches (losing 2) on the training ground, I feel it is time to test myself in an official tournament. The tournament is an open tournament in my hometown and starts the coming weekend. I've enlisted myself for singles and doubles (with my training mate). I've never played a doubles match so my focus is on the singles matches. I'm not setting any goals for myself but I always play to win. If this goed well, I'll play two more tournaments this summer. For now it is time to train, I'm off to the tennis club and I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'll keep you updated