Where to begin on recapping these past 2 months? I guess I can start with how crazy this U.S. Open experience was. There was a whirlwind of emotions that happened in the span of a couple weeks. One week out from the event, I still was an alternate on the acceptance list, so plans were up in the air on whether I would be making the New York trip or not.
After a three hour practice (detached from my phone), I checked my messages and saw a few texts saying “Congrats on U.S. Open.” Did I miss something? I was in an area with spotty service, so looking up social media feeds and online articles was a challenge. By the time I got good service, I put two and two together that I may have gotten a wildcard into qualifying.
Fast forward a week and a half later of packing, prepping, and total New York craziness, I am being escorted to an interview with Tennis Channel to talk about qualifying for my second U.S. Open Main Draw.
I had repeated the magic from last year. It felt different, but it was still immensely special, a different special. Last year, the U.S. Open was new territory and I was somewhat naive to the gravity of everything. This time around, I was aware of what I was getting into; the pressure, the excitement, the desire to perform. It was all very relevant, whereas last year I was oblivious to it all.
Making this happen again, whilst knowing what to expect was an even greater accomplishment than the first time around. The anticipation and expectation built up for the Open created a level of anxiety I have never experienced before. Although I try not to find validation in results, finding a way to steer through all the clutter and find peak performance was as huge testament to what preparation and having the right people around you can do.
After losing to a top 30 opponent in the first round, I was incredibly sad that this U.S. Open experience had to come to an end, but was also looking forward to how I can be better from it. I was committed to not let this loss be a stumbling block like last year’s heartbreaking first round. In order to do that, I gave extra attention to working on my mentality on the upcoming days/weeks going into the Asian fall swing.
Grabbing a couple wins in Japan against top tier players was vital. It was nice to know that I had made the proper mental adjustment from the previous year. Personally, as a player, that is more meaningful growth than improving a stroke.
Tokyo was definitely one of my favorite cities I have been to, so I had mixed emotions about returning back to the states. Roaming around in Japan was the perfect me-time I needed after all the chaos leading up to the U.S. Open and I was wanting to hold onto it for a bit longer.
When I got back to California, I had a quick turn around to play the 60k in Templeton, California. With a subpar first round performance, I spent a lot of time until the next week’s event (60k Stockton, California) trying to dismiss the bad energy. After all I had learned in the past 2 months, I was still fighting myself after one loss. Looking back in hindsight, I find it amazing how this sport can do that to you. It takes so much to build up belief, and so little to create doubt.
Waiting for the Stockton event to start felt like an eternity. I was actually rained out the day of my first match, so was scheduled to play two matches the following day. (Totaling nearly 5 match hours in one day). Somehow my body held up for two more matches after and I found myself in my first 60k final this past Sunday.
Although bested by my opponent in the final, I walked away from that event with lots learned about myself and how I need to press on to be better. With a few weeks off from tournaments, I’m looking to have some down time to get the body and mind right for the final push of the year.
Here’s a slideshow of all the people behind the scenes that make it happen. Really grateful for the environment that I’m in. Not pictured: Picky Bars, Saltstick, Tennis Warehouse, and Mizuno – but I felt like you guys hear about them enough already!