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2017 BRITISH OPEN DOUBLES CHAMPIONS

What a perfect end to a perfect trip! Last night Tim Chisholm and I became the first team to win the doubles calendar Grand Slam (winning all 4 Opens in a calendar year). We were stacked up against a solid team of Fahey/Howell, and needed to play our best to win.

The first set we came out swinging, knowing the importance of the match on many levels. The first set went by int he blink of an eye 6/0 with Tim hitting targets and me sweeping around behind him.

The second set saw things reverse, Tim’s energy dropped (playing with a serious knee injury will do that!) and I started trying too hard to pick up the pace. Our oppents found their groove, striking the ball cleaning and hitting their targets. Although we were battling hard we couldn’t seem to maintain our level during the set. Our opponents were more consistent and took the set 6/3.

The third set was an absolute battle. Our opponents now had confidence, as well as a heavy crowd on their side, and Tim and I were looking for answers to pick our energy back up. The set couldn’t have been closer, with amazing rallies happening almost every point, which of course resulted in a 5-all game for the set. Tim came alive returning serve like a much younger man, and took the set without my help!

The fourth set saw more of the same, long rallies of the highest level, and a constant battle back from each team. We managed a 5/3 lead which was leveled at 5-all quickly. This time it was my turn to step up at the serving end, playing consistent tennis and not allowing our opponents to win free points in such a crucial game. After a few great points we went to the receivers end to play a chase, which would be the last one of the match! The final score was 6/0 3/6 6/5 6/5

The win gives Tim and I our first calendar Grand Slam, and completes the double Grand Slam (singles and doubles) for me, which is another first in court tennis!

It was a great week at Queen’s Club, and I am now ready to head home for some relaxing holiday time with family and friends. A huge thank you to the Saints for housing me, and to all involved with the event for making it so special. A final thank you to my partner Tim, who against doctors recommendation, continued to play with a severe injury to accomplish our goals.

#FOCUS

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2017 BRITISH OPEN SINGLES CHAMPION!

I’m happy to report that last night I won the 2017 British Open Singles title! It was an incredibly difficult match against my good friend, and longtime rival, Bryn Sayers. The win completes my first calendar Grand Slam (winning all 4 opens in a calendar year).

The first set I started well grabbing a 3-1 lead, but Bryn was playing very consistent tennis and started to find the range on his high serve. He started to pin me to the receivers end, and before I knew it a 4-2 lead was gone and it was 4-all. I knew I needed to buckle down and focus at this crucial point, and that’s exactly what I did. I played two very good games to grab the set 6/4, and regained control of the match.

The second set saw me in full control, dominating the service end and playing some of my best tennis of the week. Bryn loosened up slightly, making a few more errors, and my error count went way down allowing me to enforce my game plan to its fullest. The second set was the quickest of the day going my way 6/0.

The third set Bryn regained his serve, pinning me on the receivers end again. I grabbed an early leading, and won a crucial game to go 4/2 up rather than 3-all. After another long game it was 5/2 my way before Bryn played a great game to bring it to 5/3. I buckled down, focused in, and one game later the title was mine with a final score of 6/4 6/0 6/3. It was one of the toughest matches I have had in a long time, and shows just how good Bryn is even with how little he plays.

I am now focused on tonight’s Doubles Final, where Tim and I look to do the first ever Doubles Grand Slam. The match starts at 6pm UK time and will be a tough battle against Rob Fahey and Nick Howell.

#FOCUS

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INTO THE 2017 BRITISH OPEN DOUBLES FINAL

Hey Friends!

Happy to report that this afternoon Tim Chisholm and I won a very high quality semi-final match to make it to the British Open Doubles Final. The pitted us against Steve Virgona and Chris Chapman, who we have played in many of the recent Open Finals.

The first set saw Tim and I finding our tempo. Our opponents came out firing and we had to settle in quickly to keep up. We traded games early before finding our footing and taking 3 quick games to grab the opening set 6/3.

The second set was a much tighter battle. Our opponents were playing steady tennis and Tim and I were making too many errors. We found ourselves 3/5 down before an injury timeout was taken by Chris Chapman for a neck injury. Thankfully Chris was ok and able to continue, but the break gave us time to regroup and focus in. We fought hard from that point on winning the next 3 games and the set 6/5.

In the third set we found some momentum, taking an early lead and never looking back. The set was the quickest of the day, going our way and giving us the match 6/3 6/5 6/0.

We now take on Rob Fahey and Nick Howell, who defeated Bryn Sayers and Keiran Booth in the second semi-final. The match is Tuesday night at 6pm UK time, and Tim and I are more than excited to be there.

Tomorrow brings the Singles Final where I will look to finish off a life goal of mine, the singles Grand Slam. Standing in my way is a very on form Bryn Sayers, but I look forward to the challenge!

#Focus

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INTO THE 2017 BRITISH OPEN SINGLES FINAL!

Hey Guys!

I am happy to say that my semi-final match against Chris Chapman went very well, and I have made it into the Finals! The match was very high quality, and I felt I played some of my best tennis of the year.

The first set I tried my best to come out fast and focused, and it worked perfectly. I grabbed an early lead and rode the momentum, controlling the service end as well as the type of rallies we had. This resulted in me taking the first set quickly 6/0.

The second set Chris found his range a bit more, but I still felt in control of many of the rallies. We started to extend points more, and the crowd was getting more into the match. I kept another early lead and grabbed the set 6/1.

The third set Chris started well, taking the first game but I kept the focus going and tried not to give anything away. After a few tights games I had the lead again and never looked back taking the set and the match 6/0 6/1 6/1.

I now play my old friend and rival Bryn Sayers in the Final Monday evening. Bryn defeated Rob Fahey in the other semi-final 6/3 4/6 6/2 6/5. Bryn has been playing some great tennis, and I know I will need to be at my best to take the title. Only 1 match away from the singles grand slam!

Today Tim Chisholm and I play our doubles semi-final against Chris Chapman and Steve Virgona. It will be an interesting test for us with Tim being less than 100%, but we are trying to accomplish something never done before in real tennis, the doubles grand slam, so our focus will be at its highest.

INTO THE 2017 BRITISH OPEN SEMI-FINALS

Hello Friends!

To say the British Open this year has been interesting would be a huge understatement. The tournament has more of the top players in attendance than we have seen in years, and with that results have been tough to call.

As a seed I received a bye through the first round, and started my campaign against local top amateur Jamie Giddens in the second round. We have lots of great rests, and I can see why Jamie’s game is improving steadily. Luckily I was able to maintain control throughout the match winning 6/1 6/0 6/1.

After this is where the tournament has gotten interesting. Unfortunately, my doubles partner Tim Chisholm was supposed to be my opponent in Quarter-finals, but he suffered a severe knee injury which made him unable to play the match. This gave me a walkover into the Semi-Finals on Saturday. It is definitely not how I wanted to get there, and more importantly as a friend to Tim the most important thing is his health and recovery.

The other Quarter-finals were showed some of the best tennis available, and all of the matches could have gone either way. Chris Chapman edged out Kieran Booth in 5 sets, as did Bryn Sayers over Steve Virgona. The last quarter saw Rob Fahey sneak past Ben Taylor-Matthews in a very tight 4 set match. This puts the Semi-Final matches as Riviere vs Chapman and Sayers vs Fahey.

Friday is Doubles Quarter-Final day, and after speaking with my partner Tim, we have decided to continue our quest for the British Open Doubles title and completing our 2017 Grand Slam. Tim is confident he won’t further injure his knee, and I have agreed to do some extra running to make it easier for him. I am very proud and appreciative of Tim’s desire to keep our Grand Slam Doubles hopes alive, and must say it has added another layer of motivation to my tennis this week.

If you want to check out the stream of the event, just click the link below. Our doubles Quarter-Final kicks off at Noon UK time.

T&RA LIVE STREAM

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2018 WITHDRAWAL

Hello All!

I am sorry to say that I am withdrawing from the 2018 Australian Open, set to take place in January at the Hobart Real Tennis Club. I am very sad to be missing the event, especially as it is at the wonderful Hobart club this year. Unfortunately my body has taken a beating this year trying to accomplish the Grand Slam, and after the British Open I will need to focus on repairing things to get ready for the 2018 World Championship. My biggest apologies to the Hobart Club and membership for not being there this time, but I hope the Open will be back in the future so I can get back to such a great club and city.

#Focus

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BRITISH OPEN AND THE GRAND SLAM!

Hello Friends!

The final Open of the year starts next week! The British Open Singles and Doubles Championship begins over the weekend with almost all of the top 20 in the world in attendance. I am looking to defend the title and at the same time accomplish a feat only done previously by one person….Rob Fahey. This is the Grand Slam.

For those of you who don’t know, the Grand Slam is accomplished by winning all 4 Opens (US, British, Australian, and French) in a calendar year. Mr. Fahey accomplished this feat 3 times over his career.  I currently hold the Australian, US, and French Open titles for 2017 and am looking to complete the slam at the British. I am also hoping to accomplish the Grand Slam in Doubles with partner Tim Chisholm, with whom I have also won the first 3 Opens of the year. Needless to say there is some added pressure on the British Open this year, and everyone will be looking to stop me from accomplishing this goal. I am looking forward to the challenge though, and will keep playing with the same #FOCUS and determination that has given me success in the past.

Below are the draws for the Singles and Doubles so take a look!

British Open Singles 2017

British Open Doubles 2017

#Focus

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2017 FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION!

Hey Guys! I am happy to report that the French Open was as successful as possible. I managed to do the double, winning both the singles and doubles titles. This wasn’t without plenty of drama though, as the week was one of the most stressful I’ve had on tour.

 

The trouble started with the day I was heading over, when my flight was cancelled. They rebooked me onto a later one, but when I got to JFK airport they couldn’t seem to find my flight to tell me which gate to go to. eventually that was fixed and I made my flight, but upon arriving in Paris I learned that my tennis bag had not made the flight. This meant that I didn’t have my rackets, tennis whites, shoes, supplements, or physical therapy bands. My first two practices I borrowed Tim Chisholms clothes and rackets, and I bought some shoes from the local tennis shop (not the best preparation!). My bag didn’t arrive until 5 days later, about 10 minutes before the singles semi-finals! When I opened it to grab stuff I found out that my supplement powder had exploded in the bag leaving green powder all over my stuff. Half of my clothes were ruined, and it took a few days to clean up the rest. Luckily the rackets and shoes were fine! The final problem came in the Singles Quarter-Finals when I tore two of my intercostal muscles in the final game. These muscles are part of the obliques and made it very difficult to run or use any rotation when hitting the ball.

Otherwise, the week went pretty well. It took all my effort to focus on each match using other peoples rackets and clothes but I found the challenge pretty exciting. The Singles Final was a battle against Rob Fahey, and finally having my own stuff helped bring me the comfort I needed to play my best. Rob was coming off of a tough 5 set semi-final which definitely put me at an advantage, and I took the change to steam through the match 6/2 6/2 6/0.

The Doubles Final pitted Tim Chisholm and I against Steve Virgona and Chris Chapman. My body and mind were very tired from the week, and luckily my partner is just that good. Tim did most of the hard work, taking control of the match and carrying us to the title 6/3 6/3 6/4.

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THIS ONE’S FOR YOU BOB

As I sit in the airport headed to Paris for the French Open, I am left with my thoughts preparing for the event. This is nothing new as it has become a bit of a ritual for me to get focused for the tough week ahead. This time though, the thoughts are different. The recent loss of my good friend Bob Harrington is flooding my thoughts.

Bob was an incredibly important person in my life, especially in my younger years, and played a huge role in the successes I have today. Bob was both my teacher and my fathers teacher at Aiken Prep School, and was one the first people to hop on the court tennis court with me. Alongside that, he was the first person willing to take a smart mouthed young red head on as a doubles partner. Bob and I competed, and won, more than a few doubles titles with his years of experience and my fiery competitiveness. Bob was the ultimate gentleman both on and off the court, and was always willing to take the time for anyone who needed it.

My longest lasting memory of Bob is also the most important. While in school Bob taught me a poem, which has stuck with me to this day. The poem, and the lesson he taught with it, became a way of life for me, teaching me the importance of believing in myself and my dreams, as well as how to carry yourself as a person. A fitting lesson from a man who did both better than anyone I know. The poem was “Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Guest and it goes:

It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
I have carried this poem in my tennis bag for as long as I can remember, always relying on it during tough times. I know that I will need it this week more than ever, as this week I am going to French Open with a different goal. I am playing to show Bob the person I have become on and off the court thanks to him, and how much those times and memories with him mean to me.

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NEW SEASON

Hello Friends! I hope you all have had a great summer, as I know I have. It was great to relax for a bit, and focus on recovering from a long successful season. All of that is over now though as the French Open starts next week as the season opener! The draw this year is one of the toughest I’ve ever seen with almost the entire top 10 involved.

 

With the new season I will be starting back with weekly blog posts, as well as match reviews when I can. If you would like to take a look at the draws for the French, please follow the links below!

French Open Singles Draw

French Open Doubles Draw