Schochet Cup 2017

Hello Friends!

The 2017 US Professional Singles playing for the Schochet Cup is right around the corner! This is always one of my favorite tournaments, and this year I am attempting to win it for the 8th consecutive time. It will be a tough tournament given the draw, and I will need to be at my best to have a chance.

If you are in the Newport, RI area between the 6th and 11th of June, please stop by and have a look!

 

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2016 FRENCH OPEN SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPION

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Hello CT Fans!

I am excited to say that I won the French Open Singles and Doubles title last week in Paris. It was a great week for me, playing some of my best tennis, and only dropping 7 games throughout the entire singles event.

 

My first round singles match was against a qualifier named Jamie Giddens, who is an amateur playing out of Cambridge University. Jamie won through the qualifiers over some steep competition, and has a lot of potential to improve in the future. We had a great match, but I could tell he was a little nervous out there. I felt my control was solid, and the court was just as I remembered it, leading to a 6/0 6/0 6/2 win.

 

This put me into the quarter-finals against Rich Smith, who I know very well having spend many years in Newport with him. Luckily for me, Rich has not been playing full time lately, and was a little rusty. My reading of the court continued to improve, and more importantly, I felt my serve was putting lots of pressure on him. I tried my bets to stay focused on each game, and before I knew it the match was over 6/0 6/0 6/0 in my favor.

 

The semi-finals put me against world #7 Kieran Booth, who had upset world #6 Chris Chapman in the quarter-finals. Kieran and I have been playing since we were kids, and he is currently the top amateur in the world. My form continued to improve throughout the match, and my serve was as good as ever. Kieran seemed to be feeling the pressure and gave me more free points than I am sure he intended. I dominated the service end for most of the match, which allowed me stay in control of the match, winning 6/0 6/0 6/2.

 

14390726_661063704058613_5212114738777456962_n            The final was a world championship rematch with my nemesis, and former world champion, Rob Fahey. Rob had won over Nick Howell in a tight 4 set semi-final, but can never be discounted. He has always managed to come alive when he needs to, so I knew I needed to play my best. Luckily that’s just what I did. We exchanged games to 2-all in the first set before I found my footing. After that I felt in complete control, reading the court well, controlling the service end, and hitting my targets. I stormed through the match winning 6/3 6/0 6/0. This is my fourth consecutive French Open Singles title, having won 3 in a row before missing last years due to injury.

 

In the doubles, I teamed up with my good friend John Lumley, hoping to help get John his first Open title. We were the #1 seeds, and knew that the competition would be tough, but I was incredibly proud of Johns composure throughout the week. Our first round match was against Rich Smith and Andrew Fowler, which was the most enjoyable match of the week for me. We felt in control, and John was moving well around the court, which only makes life easier for me. We stayed on top, taking the match 6/0 6/0 6/1.

 

The doubles semi-final pitted us against world #5 Ben Matthews and world #6 Chris Chapman. I knew this would be a great test for John and I as a team, and I was proud of our teamwork. John stepped up, returning serve well, and volleying everything from the service end. We had some close sets, but found our form when needed winning 6/4 6/4 6/2.

The doubles final put us against the #2 seeds Rob Fahey and Ricardo Smith. They are a formidable team, and it was going to take our best to beat them. The first set was very close, with Rob and Ricardo taking a 5/3 lead. I buckled in and tried to take over, playing more aggressive and trying to take the pressure off of John. This worked well, and we grabbed the first set 6/5. We continued the m14470605_661900783974905_4039374854402090276_nomentum into the second set, grabbing an early lead and not looking back. We took the set 6/0 quickly, and now only needed 1 more for the championship. The third set saw Rob and Ricardo fight back, putting the pressure back on John and I to earn every point. We snuck a 5/2 lead, but before I knew it the score was 5-all and the pressure was immense. John and I buckled down though, and found our best form in the last game to take it and the title 6/5 6/0 6/5.

 

A huge thank you to the Paris club, sponsors, and professionals for a great week. I always enjoy coming to Paris, and truly believe this was the best French Open I have been lucky enough to attend. I can’t wait to head back next year and defend my title.

 

#FOCUS

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FRENCH OPEN TRAINING AND DRAWS

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 10.13.03 AMHello Friends!

I have finished my preparations for the French Open, and am now in recovery mode before heading over to Paris Saturday night. The tournament is set to start this weekend with the qualifiers, but my first match isn’t until Monday evening. This year the draw is missing a few of the top 10 players due o injuries and conflicts, but it will still be a very tough week.

The last week has been spent traveling around the US training with various partners for the event. I 14212540_652010521630598_860116369769572827_nstarted in Boston, where I hit with Leon Smart, T&R Assistant Professional, and even had a chance to do some cross training with one of the top squash players in the world Amanda Sohby.

I then packed up the car with the essentials (tennis clothes and of course my best friend Gus) and headed down to Tuxedo Park NY. It was great to catch up with my friend and doubles partner Tim Chisholm. He is always the best training partner, and I am sad that he will not be at the French Open this year.

After a few days in Tuxedo, I continued my trip south to Philadelphia for some intense 4 hour training days with John Lumley, RCOP Assistant Professional. John is one of my close friends, and is also my doubles partner for the French Open this year. Along the way, we made a side trip to visit the Georgian Court, which is a court built by Jay Gould that has now become part of a University in New Jersey. It was one of the few courts in the world I had not played, and it was an amazing experience to see it. 20160910_180523

Below are the links to the draws for this years event. Please take a look, and wish me luck! I will be posting reviews of all my matches so keep watching the site!

French Open Singles Draw

French Open Doubles Draw

#Focus

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HEADED TO THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Hello Friends!

I am proud to say that I have officially qualified for the 2016 Real Tennis World Championship. This was done by winning the Final Eliminator over Steve Virgona last week in Philadelphia. After going into the 3rd days play with a 6 set to 2 lead, I was able to close out the match in one set, winning it 6/3.

I now have a short turn around to prepare for the WC, but am very excited to be playing it on my home court in Newport, RI. It is a tremendous opportunity, and I am going to do everything in my power to take advantage of it.

Thank you to everyone who reached out with emails and texts, it means so much to know how much support is out there for me. I am now in Seattle spending a few days with Gold Leaf Athletics learning about how rackets are made, and putting the finishing touches on the limited edition NTC World Championships racket.

Don’t worry training is still in full force, and I am more than excited to hit the ground running after this week!

#FOCUS

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WC FINAL ELIMINATOR DAYS 1 AND 2

Hello My Friends!

    Sorry for not writing sooner, but things have been moving quickly here in Philadelphia. The Final Eliminator is in full swing, and it has been an intense few days. I have been playing well and find myself with a 6 sets to 2 lead going into the final day of play. This means I only need one more set to win the match! Below are my thoughts on each of the first two days matches.
Day 1 Sets 1-4
Day 1 of the Final Eliminator saw a very tense start from both Steve and me. It’s understandable as the pressure is on to make it through to the WC, but we both needed to overcome it as quickly as possible. I managed to find my groove first, which allowed me to take control of the first set. I did my best to start quickly and took the set 6/3. The second set was much the same, I was serving railroads and trying my best to keep Steves offense in check. The game plan was working, but he was starting to get more aggressive with his returns. I managed to keep the lead the whole set and grabbed it 6/2. The third set is where everything went sour. We battled the entire set, exchanging games before I grabbed a 4/2 lead. Steve fought back to 4/4 before I grabbed a 5/4 lead. I had a set point which I couldn’t convert, and Steve capitalized to take the game and then the set 6/5. This meant that I really needed to regain focus for the fourth set. I was 2 sets to 1 up, and that fourth set became one of the most important of the entire match. I tried my best to focus in, and after losing the first game of the set never looked back. I worked my way into every game and made Steve earn every point. This worked well, as I managed to take the set 6/1 and a 3 sets to 1 lead after day one.
Watch a replay of Day 1’s action HERE
Day 2 Sets 5-8
After grabbing the lead on Day 1, I knew that the 5th set would be crucial for me to keep the momentum of the match. I did my best to start quickly, and again grabbed a quick first set 6/3. The second set Steve started to find his openings, and put me on my back foot. I found myself 4/2 down before I snuck two games to tie it at 4/4. Steve took control though, and closed out the set with two very strong games 6/4. That meant we were 1 set all on the day, and that a third day was definitely going to happen. The mental side of the game at this point was immense, with both of us knowing the importance of the third set. Steve continued his aggressive hitting, and I was working hard to find a way to defuse it. Steve grabbed a 5/3 lead and I knew it was crucial that I be as consistent as possible to make him earn the set. I played a few big points to get to 4/5 and then a great game to tie it at 5/5. At this point we went back and forth eventually have a few deuces before I managed to sneak the set 6/5! That was the biggest set of the match, and with one left to play that day I knew I could put the pressure on. Entering the final set of the day I was 5 sets to 2 up, and wanted to grab the last one however possible. I put my foot down from the start, weathering the aggressive play from Steve and never looked back. I grabbed a 4/1 lead, then a 5/2 lead before closing out the set 6/2, making it 3 sets to 1 on the day.
Sundays play will begin at 1pm, and I will only need 1 set while Steve will need all 5 to take the match. Even with the scoreline, I am treating it as though we are level, and every set is equally as important. My preparation is the same as always, and I know it will be an intense battle from the start.
Watch a replay of Day 2’s action HERE
I will let you know what happens!!
#Focus
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March Update!

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Hello Friends!

March has been a crazy month for me! I have been doing more traveling than I thought possible, and have been working hard to prepare for the Final Eliminator. Overall I am feeling good though, with my game coming along just the way I would like it to for next week.

I started the month with a 4 day trip to London where I trained with former World Champion Chris Ronaldson. It was a once in a lifetime trip, and I can’t thank him enough for his time. It was the first time I have had my game broken down or thought about so intensely in a while, and it reminded me how much fun the mental side of the game is.

After returning from the UK, I went to Chicago to support my good friend Tim Chisholm, who was taking on Steve Virgona in the first round of the World Champs Eliminators. Unfortunately Tim couldn’t get the win and Steve moved through to the Finals to play against me! Of course I will do my best to get revenge for him!

Since then I have been training with John Lumley in Philadelphia, preparing for the match, which is set to start April 6th. We have been working hard, breaking down both our games, and hoping to rebuild them at an even higher level. It has been great to work with him, as I really think he will be knocking at the World Championship door very soon.

We are now less than a week from the start of the Eliminator, and all of the training has been completed. The next few days are all about proper preparation for the matches, which means preparing the body and mind! I am doing my best to relax by spending time with my dog Gus, and am trying to work on the mental preparation everyday.

I will be doing daily posts starting Monday the 4th of April about my preparation as well as my thoughts on each day. Please stay tuned and feel free to ask any questions you would like about my training!

#Focus

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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.

 

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

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

 

FIRST MATCH SINCE JUNE!

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Hello My Friends!

Thursday night saw my first competitive match since June of this year! Coming off a shoulder injury, and having only hit twice before the match, I was worried how it would go. I am happy with how it turned out, though I am VERY rusty, as the shoulder did not hurt at all!

 

The match was a USCTA National League match which pitted my New England team against the Tuxedo team. There was one exception though…..I was playing for the Tuxedo team!! This happened because I was originally scheduled to play Tim Chisholm, but he suffered a wrist injury while over at the British Open. Since I had not played a match this season, I was able to change my status to a floater, which is a player that can play for any team, and subsequently played for the Tuxedo team. This meant that the New England team was Nick Howell and Tony Hollins, who have been playing together all season due to my injury.

My match was against Nick Howell, who also works with me in Newport, and I was pleased with the result. Although I haven’t played at all, I have managed to stay in shape, which will make coming back that much easier. I felt as though I was covering the court well, but was not striking the ball as cleanly as normal. My competitive spirit was a strong as ever though, and I took the match 6/4 6/2.

This is a great first step, as the shoulder felt good out there, and I know my game will only get better. I am now tuning up for the Australian Open in January, where I will be partnering up with my good friend John Lumley for the doubles. It is a long way to go for my first official tournament, and hopefully it won’t be a quick trip! I am trying not to set my expectations too high, but am also very stubborn and way too competitive to accept anything else but a win!

Thank you to the Boston T&R for hosting a great evening in conjunction with there yearly Christmas party. It was a great atmosphere, and very cool to play in front of a packed house.

#FOCUS