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2016 US OPEN SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPION!

 

Hello All!

It has been a heck of a week here in Chicago, and I am happy to say that I will be returning home with both the Singles and Doubles titles. This makes it my fourth consecutive US Open Singles title as well as my fourth consecutive US Open Doubles title with Tim Chisholm. I have to say that it has been one of the hardest weeks of tennis I have ever played. Coming off of an injury break, and not getting any competitive play since June, I wasn’t sure how my game would fair. Overall I am incredibly pleased with the result, especially in the singles, where I had to dig deep in the fifth set to win the title.

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The singles Final pitted me against Steve Virgona, who had the home crowd on his side from the first point. This is always to be expected, and I looked at it as a great training tool for practicing my focus. The first set went back and forth until 3-all. I wasn’t finding my range both on the floor and with forcing, and Steve took control. He won the next 3 games and the set 6/3.

The second set I started to find my game, working the floor, and taking advantage of opportunities. The set went quickly in my favor 6/1. The third set started, and I instantly fell back into bad habits. Overhitting and poor shot selection allowed Steve to gain momentum, which is when he is at his best. I found myself down 4/0 before I could regain composure. I fought back one game at a time, slowly regaining control and winning the next 6 games and the set 6/4.

The fourth set was an absolute battle, with Steve and I exchanging games although he always maintained a slight lead. I felt as though I was forcing points more than I would like, which is not my normal style of play. Steve took full advantage of the openings and closed out the set 6/4 to tie it at 2 sets all.

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The fifth set saw Steve take control early. I was yet again making poor decisions and allowing Steve to control play. He jumped out to a 4/1 lead, and I knew I was in trouble. I tried my best to buckle down and focus on my game more than anything. I slowly chipped away one game at a time before battling back to 4-all, and then a 5/4 lead. Once ahead I did my best to put my foot down, fighting back from a love-30 hole to gain a match point on the service end. I only needed one to finish the match and win my fourth consecutive (and fifth overall) US Open Singles title. The Final score was 3/6 6/1 6/4 4/6 6/4.

For my first tournament since June I am incredibly pleased. I was able to regain much of my form both physically and mentally, and kept my head together when I absolutely needed it. This gives me great confidence going into the World Championship Eliminators, as I know I can get back to my best. I am always looking to improve of course, but am proud of the heart I was able to show this week.

A huge thank you to John Cashman and his team at the Racquet Club of Chicago for putting on one of the best US Opens I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. They have set the bar VERY high for all clubs in the future.

In the Doubles Final, Tim Chisholm and I took on Steve Virgona and Chris Chapman. Tim had been suffering from the flu most of the week, and was stuck in best for the two days leading up to the Final. I was worried, as our style of play tends to involve a lot of running around, but I was incredibly proud of his level for the Final. Tim is one of the best competitors I have ever seen, and he showed that tonight, playing great tennis from the first point. We had some great exchanges, but felt in control most of the match. We even dug out of a 3/5 hole in the second set to the the match in straight sets by a score of 6/3 6/5 6/0.

 

INTO THE 2016 US OPEN SEMI FINALS

Hello Friends!

Things are going well here in Chicago, and I am happy to say that I have made it through to the Semi-Finals. I have been very worried since arriving in Chicago, as it has been a while since I’ve had such competitive matches. I was not sure how the body, and mind, would hold up, and so far I am very happy with the results.

My first match was against Barney Tanfield, who is the Head Professional at the R&T in New York. Barney and I have known each other for many years, and even played as top US juniors together a long time ago. It was my first match since last June, and I was definitely nervous to start the match. Barney took an early 3/1 lead, forcing well and keeping the pressure on. I managed to find my footing though, and won the next 5 games to take the set 6/3. The second set I found some momentum, and dominated the service end, taking the set 6/1. The third set saw some great rallies, and some very hard hitting, but I felt in control and closed out the match 6/2.

The quarter-finals pitted me against the world #7 Chris Chapman, who has been pushing hard to break into the top 5 in the world. He has had some great results over the last year, and I knew I would need to find my old form and play my best to beat him. From the moment the match started I was reminded why I love this game. Chris is an amazing talent, and being out on court with him is exactly what I dream about doing. We had some amazing rallies, and every now and again a little chuckle, showing the serious and fun side of the game.

The match was intense, and I was proud of my mental and physical game, seeing much of my shots coming back. I managed to grab an early lead in each set, which helped put the pressure on my opponent, allowing me to dictate play throughout the match. All of this helped me secure my spot in the Semi-Finals with a 6/2 6/2 6/2 win.

I now play World #9 James Stout in the Semi-Finals, while World #3 Steve Virgona and World #6 Ben Matthews battle it out on the other side. The match will be Monday evening at 6:30 Central US time. Today is the Quarter-finals of the doubles, where Tim Chisholm and I take on Tony Hollins and Leon Smart. I will keep you all updated with the results!

#Focus

February Training Update

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Hello My Friends!

I have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming US Open, as well as the Eliminators. I am looking forward to using the US Open to play myself back into tennis, as a long lay off generally leaves you pretty rusty! Lately my training has involved trips to Philadelphia to hit with John Lumley and Gabe Kinzler, as well as trips to Boston to hit with Tony Hollins and Leon Smart. Both clubs have been very welcoming, and I have enjoyed getting back out there with my friends.

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My game is starting to come back, and I feel confident it will be at 100% when I need it. The hardest part has been managing my expectations over the last month, while playing myself back into tennis. I always push myself pretty hard, and have high expectations for myself on court. It has been a mental battle to accept the slow recovery, and building process with my game on court.

This weekend I am in Boston putting in my final training sessions before I rest up for the Open. I generally like to take a few days off before a tournament to make sure the body is at 100% for the week. This is especially important coming off of injury, as it can help ensure I don’t reinjure myself during the event.

I appreciate all of the support from you all as I get back out there, and promise I will give it my absolute best like always!

#Focus

New Year BIG CHANGES

Gold Leaf with Words

Hello My Friends!

I am very excited to announce my new sponsorship with Gold Leaf Athletics. Gold Leaf is the relative newcomer to the court tennis racket making game, but they are coming on strong. Since first meeting owner Sean Quinn a few years back I have been very interested in his ideas. Sean has a strong desire to build a great court tennis racket, while also revolutionizing it. This doesn’t mean adding graphite or anything like that, it means looking at the woods we use, and the process we use to make the rackets (which has been the same for a very long time). This process has created without a doubt the most beautiful rackets I have ever seen, with a classic wood look, and a real 24 carat gold leafing of logos and names.

I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Gold Leaf team, and will ask you to check them out when you get a free minute. Trust me you won’t be disappointed! To go to their website just click here

US Open Singles and Doubles

Hello All!

The 2016 US Open draws have officially been released, and seeing them gets me even more excited for the event. I have not played a tournament since June, and am in desperate need of some competitive play, so this is all perfect timing. Even with the time off I have managed to keep my #1 ranking, which makes me the top seed in the tournament. It is going to be a tough week, as I am sure everyone will be gunning for me, but I am looking forward to the challenge.  Below are the draws so please take a look!

2016 U.S. Open Singles Draw copy 2016 U.S. Open Doubles Draw copy