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Re: New blog post (77#) (31/1/11) - "I know you from somewhere" - by Amir Weintrau

Go Amir!

With his feelling and talent to transcribe stories in written words, i have no worries for his future :)

I just hope for the moment he enters the top 150 and bring more storries about the life of the challenger tour :)

All the best to the lad
 

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Re: New blog post (77#) (31/1/11) - "I know you from somewhere" - by Amir Weintrau

Very good read! Now I'm a fan of Amir and Or - your translation job is incredible!
 

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Re: New blog post (77#) (31/1/11) - "I know you from somewhere" - by Amir Weintrau

Wow. Great, great posts. Thanks so much for translating them. And keep them coming!
 

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Discussion Starter #104 (Edited)
Re: New blog post (77#) (31/1/11) - "I know you from somewhere" - by Amir Weintrau

New Blog post - "Notes from the Kremlin" (8/2/11)


People ask me gently "Hey, what's up?". It's like a general question, but what they refer to is losing the Futures in Eilat, which is joined to the loss I took last week, in the first round of a challenger in Russia to a guy ranked 201 in the world. These are the questions I ask myself, what's with this drop in ability now?

Here are some of my insights (some may sound like excuses, but it's really not like that):

1. Burnout – I know my body and its ability to handle the grind. My system so far has worked like this – I play three straight weeks in tournaments and then take a week vacation in Israel. Vacation means training, working on elements in your game which is difficult to do in the middle of tournaments and so on. The last time I've pushed the envelope too far and got dragged to playing tournaments in a row, I either got injured or my performance dropped. Now, I'm in a streak of 7 straights weeks since December which included matches in Israel, Australia, Israel, Russia and now France, and according to the planned schedule I will play 9 straight weeks before even glimpsing at a holiday.

Unfortunately I'm experiencing what most tennis players do. If I used to press 'stop' without a problem after three weeks, now my only guideline is chasing points for the ranking. All I see in front of my eyes are ranking points, points, points. I realize I no longer play to improve, but instead run and check each time which place in the world ranking some more points will take me to.

2. Rookie mistakes – Chasing after ranking points leads to mistakes in choosing the tournaments I play in. Looking back I know, I was behaving like a rookie when I decided to complete in the Future in Eilat. I shouldn't have let the option of playing two weeks instead of one tempt me. It's not just the fact that there aren't that many points to gain in Eilat in the first place, it's that tournaments like that make you play badly against lesser players, which creates an unhealthy cycle. The confidence I brought back with me from Australia - I lost when I lost to players ranked 500, 600 in the world. I should have rested at home, fly earlier to Russia and get used to playing indoor, which is an entire different ball game.

And there was another mistake I've made in Eilat. Instead of looking out for my own interests, I also played doubles instead of saving my energy only for the singles and rest mored. A friend asked me to play with him to help him improve his ranking, and I do not forget how, a day and a half ago, I also asked such favors from friends. Eventually we grabbed the doubles title in Eilat, it didn't do a thing for me.

3. Specific preparation - Because of a flight debacle I made it to Kazan on Monday 11 PM knowing that I play 10 AM the next morning. Frequently crossing geographical lines has huge repercussions: First of all, I arrived to the tournaments after not holding a racquet for three days. It doesn't make sense.
Additionally, the body must adjust. Less than a month ago I was playing in Australia in a 40 degrees, last week I played Eilat in 25 degrees and now I've landed in Russia's -20 degrees weather.

But the most critical issue was moving indoors. Us Israelis are used to playing on hard courts outdoors, because this is what we were trained on, but you need to adjust specifically to each court. Indoors, you need at least 2-3 days to adjust to the fact the ball reaches you faster, so you have less time to prepare for your stroke. The usual wind which reduces the friction of the ball with the air isn't there, and the court is less coarse, which lessens the friction of the ball even more. This is how I found myself entering the court for the first time on the day of the match, trying to adjust to the surface in the 10 minutes of warm-up I had prior to the match, and got spanked in the first round.

--------




But hello, not everything is black. The early elimination in Russia allowed me to practice right, and even the injury in the leg that I've been carrying since Australia is a lot better. Besides, due to the fact I'm going to play DC next month they got paired me with a coach for the trip to Russia, Moti Maaravi. To fly with a coach is a huge professional change, which is difficult to evaluate for someone who is used to traveling alone and manage his professional training with himself. There is another advantage: The social aspect. I told Moti that since this is my fourth time in Moscow and I haven't seen the Red Square yet, then tomorrow morning even the great cold weather won't break us.

It would be a bit of a shame to end a career without any money and say, like all tennis players, that eventually what I remember from traveling around the world are hotels, restaurants and tennis courts.

So I didn't get any ranking points, but I got to mark 'check' next to the Red Square.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Gorgeous Red Square. :)

Man, this is like a saga with so much drama and ups and downs, I'm hooked.
I just want Amir to do well. I hope this blog helps people understand how difficult, straining and huge sacrifice is the life of a tennis pro.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

cant good rep you again... liked the ending
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Alot of negativity surrounding amir at the moment, understandably. Hopefully he's not thinking or regretting as much as he sounds like he is. Scheduling errors, bad matches and all that, just hope he realises he should move on and get his head geared toward the next match. I'm sure he does. Nice place, Russia, unlucky on the loss though.

Good luck to him on the next tournament, good read, but I'm hoping to read some positive stuff in the next installment. I'm sure he'll do well.
 

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Discussion Starter #108
Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Well, I forgot to say that he won his first round today in France, so - at least he didn't lose in the first round. I just hope he does well in DC....
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Great read, as always.

I'm not much of a shill but there was a former pro who posted at the tennis warehouse forum a couple months ago about his training regimen and the schedule he took on as a pro. He only made it to the 200's but he kind of echoed Amir's sentiments that this sport really has the odds stacked against you in terms of winnings and paying other fees. The pro also said most are broke by the end of their career and like Amir said, the only positive is that they got to see the world.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Great read, as always.

I'm not much of a shill but there was a former pro who posted at the tennis warehouse forum a couple months ago about his training regimen and the schedule he took on as a pro. He only made it to the 200's but he kind of echoed Amir's sentiments that this sport really has the odds stacked against you in terms of winnings and paying other fees. The pro also said most are broke by the end of their career and like Amir said, the only positive is that they got to see the world.
I wonder why they don't change the system? :shrug:
And shouldn't tennis federations pay for players expenses? at least the ones with projection...
 

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Discussion Starter #111
Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

I wonder why they don't change the system? :shrug:
And shouldn't tennis federations pay for players expenses? at least the ones with projection...
I imagine the Federation shelled out the money to send out a coach with him, due to DC coming up.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

I wonder why they don't change the system? :shrug:
And shouldn't tennis federations pay for players expenses? at least the ones with projection...
You can see in ATP 250's, stands are empty until quarters or even semis. If tournaments at that range are struggling for attendance, I can't imagine futures/challengers events. Unless there is a greater interest from the fans or sponsors, that prize money will never be enough for a pro outside the top 100.

It's still crazy in a world of billions of people, roughly 1,700 can even be considered ranked. And then, only people consistently within the top 100 will yield any sort of positive gain. The rest are in the red and in debt or burnt out. Really hard to see the positive outlook on making this sport a career in my opinion.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Great for Amir to win a match, hell yes it's a tough world down at this level. This is why it's so important to make the promised land.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

ESPN/Tennis channel and Eurosport do a good job of glamorizing this sport with the full attendance camera angles on the atp 500/1000's when they start covering the tournament by a friday, but those stands are basically empty monday through thursday (miami and indian wells will show this). Other online viewers of streams have probably noticed it as well. Aspiring pros just need to be educated on their long odds or like you said, get backed by the federation. But even then, the federation can screw you out of potential prize money or they will list unreal demands.

I am not positive but Monaco had trouble with the Argentine academies when they started seeing a brighter future in Del Potro and shifted their assets into him. Not positive like i said but i remember a monaco interview discussing it.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

The Argentine fed only put support into Nalbandian and Coria plus del Potro to a lesser extent.

It depends on where you are from. The Aussies if they like a player get support. In Colombia there is a private company that invests heavily in tennis.
 

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Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Just wondering, are there any new posts in his blog?

Seems like the 5 set win over Janowicz in Davis Cup gave Amir new confidence!
He just reached the quarterfinals in Rimouski challenger (seeded 6th!) and will reach a new personal best ranking next week :)
 

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Discussion Starter #117
Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

Just wondering, are there any new posts in his blog?

Seems like the 5 set win over Janowicz in Davis Cup gave Amir new confidence!
He just reached the quarterfinals in Rimouski challenger (seeded 6th!) and will reach a new personal best ranking next week :)
Yes, there were, but I was too busy, I am just wrapping up the translation. It's a brilliant post.
 

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Discussion Starter #118 (Edited)
Re: New blog post (104#) (8/2/11) - "Notes from the Kremlin" - by Amir Weintraub

A New Blog Post - A week that really happened to me


Wow. Did this week really happen to me?
First appearance on Davis Cup. First win in Davis Cup. First time I've played 5 matches (something I didn't think was possible to do). Live broadcast on TV, lots of positive feedback from both mainstream and internet media. Hundreds of SMS.
If you only knew how it looked like for me before the match.

Thursday. The day before the match against Poland. The preliminary signs aren't good at all. I feel I'm collapsing under the pressure, I don't want to mess up, I don't want to disappoint. I don't want my first time to also be my last. Head's working too much. I go up to a closing practice against Dudi. A practice which we played under match-like conditions to see where we are after a week of practice. I play like shit, Dudi dismembers me 6-1 in a little over 15 minutes. I shatter the racquet to little pieces, and I don't usually do that.

If I was stressed out before that moment, now I feel like hell. I tell myself. "Amir, a day before the match, you are absolutely worthless"

Due to the fatigue of the entire week and the pressure, I've slept like a baby that night of all nights. But bad fortune continued, I got a wake up call from the hotel on 4 AM. All of my investigations didn't amount to anything, but 4 AM was the last time I closed my eyes that day.

Day of the match – we followed a protocol which lasted hours. It's entire purpose was, as far as I'm concerned, to make the time pass already. Me and Dudi go up for warmup and for a change I feel good. I'm a bit calmer after I got demolished the day before. We get back to the hotel room and each of us gets exactly what he wanted for 'match day food'. Dudi asks for Pasta, I opt for rice.

Back to the stadium again, Dudi goes up first. I'm on court cheering for him, every now and then I go to the locker-room to get ready. To talk to myself, to God. Every time I go to the locker-room someone from the team is there, to pass the time with me, to calm me down.

It's my time up. I'm shaking and excited. My stomach rolling. How am I supposed to hit the ball when I'm this nervous? I hold it all in, get the claps, hundreds of people calling my name, I've waited my entire life for that moment and it is a lot more thrilling than I could possibly dream.

****

There are a few things you notice for the first time when you play in front of the home crowd. The power of the crowd when they all look and you and want you to succeed. Hundreds of eyes looking at you, adding to the natural pressure of the match and the occasion. Before the match Amir Hadad (Retired Israel tennis player) tell me "Don't look at the crowd. If you look at them, it would make you more nervous."

He was right. I looked at the bench, at my team-mates, at my captain Eyal Ran. I didn't even look at my parents in the audience, I buried my head in the ground as much as possible.

I lost the first set, but I feel I'm not any worse than this giant Pole. Slowly the bad feelings go away. Strokes word better, hand is more relaxed, and everything is coming together as the match continues. I take the next two sets. In the fourth set, when I'm beginning to smell the victory, the head start working again. I lead 5-4 and serving for the match. And I shake,shake shake. Like I've never shook before. And then of course I make the mistake many players make before they win. Take the foot off the gas and wait for the match to be won for me. The Pole takes the game and drags me to a tie-breaker, in which he demolishes me. We're going to a fifth set.

In the fifth set I played with an ankle injury I sustained during the forth set TB. I got the mental cheering up I needed from Eyal Ran and a winning tip: Due to the state of your leg, he tells me, shorten the points and be aggressive.
Fifth set. Match point. I'm ecstatic. For a brief moment I hear the entire crowd singing to me, and feel until now the shivers in my entire body. In those seconds before the last serve, I have enough time to sneak a thought 'Look how far you've come, how many people you are making happy, look what you are doing for your country. Just get that serve in now."

The serve goes in. Game. Set. Match. I'm on cloud nine. Screaming, runnig like crazy. Don't know what I'm doing. Hugging everyone on my bench. They all did a brilliant job. Eyal was a genius Captain on the bench and kept me calm and pushed me forward and made me feel confident the entire match. After I was down mentally, after losing the forth set, I think the crowd and the bench won the match, not me. This is the power of the Davis.

*******

From anonymity, I become somebody everyone know. I'm not ashamed to admit, it feels good. It fills you up. Those moments in the last week game me strength. I know we'll go back to obscure places and losing in the first round, but the power which is given by the crowd and playing DC at home cannot be explained.
I think only now I understood how important it is for our guys to play DC, two times per year which charges them later on and keep them afloat in all the dark places tennis often drags them too.
This moment on the court, this match point that I've had, when I stopped to hear the entire crowd rise to his feet and call out. "Israel Ole Israel Ole" is something I'll carry with me till my dying day.
I write this line with tears of joy in my eyes. Only today I know I've done something in my life, and all this hard work was not in vain.

2-0 for Israel. I only pray Andy and Yoni will take the doubles (which they eventually do), so I wouldn't have to go through this hell on Sunday again.

Saturday after the match we go party everyone together. Someone on the team said he sees Paparazzi taking our photo. When in my life did I ever believe I'd have Paparzzi taking my photo?

Monday, I' m in physiotherapy, working on my leg. Andyoni heading to the USO, Dudi hearing to San Jose, each moving on with his life like nothing ever happened. Back to the grind, till next September.
 

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Re: New blog post (118#) (10/3/11) - "A week that really happened" - by Amir Weintr

Good stuff. That post is what the sport is all about.
 
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