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JULY UPDATE

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Hello My Friends!

Coming off of an amazing May and June, I have been trying to recover (both mentally and physically). Most of my July has been spent back at work in Newport, and focusing on building my schedule for the next year. With my new title comes much expectation, both from others and myself, and I am going to do my best to reach those expectations.

One of the biggest changes in the next year, is that I will be working with the USCTA by attending more nets to promote the great game of court tennis. My hope is to encourage those who play to stick with it, as well as convince those who don’t yet play to get out there.

I have also started back with my training, and have to say it is harder than I remember! My first session back with Mike Cecchi at Bridge to Fitness was one of the hardest I have ever had. There are new mental barriers I must overcome, as well as new goals far above what we had set before. I am looking forward to the challenge, but am very aware of how difficult it will be.

I hope you all are enjoying the summer, and I hope to see you at one of the upcoming events around the US!

#FOCUS

 

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2016 US PROFESSIONAL SINGLES CHAMPION

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Hello My Friends!

My incredible month has continued by winning my seventh consecutive US Professional Singles title. It was an awesome week, and by far one of my toughest tournaments mentally coming off the WC. The draw featured almost all of the top 10 players in the world, and with my new WC status I knew they would all be looking to take me down.

In the Finals I had a rematch with the now former World Champion Rob Fahey, and I wanted to back up my WC performance if possible. We had a close match, especially the first two sets, which we split 6/5 5/6 before I managed to grab a steady lead. I won the match in four tight sets 6/5 5/6 6/2 6/1, and it was one of the toughest mental matches I have ever played.

With the win I have tied Rob for the most consecutive US Pro titles at 7, and will now look to surpass it next year.

Thank you to the entire NTC Board and members who helped make the week a great one. Now it is finally time to shut down for a few weeks before starting back in my training. It has been a month to remember, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has for me.

#Focus

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CAMDEN RIVIERE REAL TENNIS WORLD CHAMPION

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Hello All!

May 21st 2016 will go down as one of the most important days of my life. It is the day I officially became the Real Tennis World Champion. It has taken me a while to write this post for many reasons, one of which was that I didn’t know how to put into words what I was feeling.

My dream to become World Champion started when I was 10. I was starting to travel to tournaments and my father asked me what I wanted to do with real tennis. I thought about it for a second and said “I want to be the World Champion.” Since that day, my father as well as many others have helped me in any way possible to accomplish that goal.

When I first challenged in 2008 over my 21st birthday I had no idea what I was in store for over the next 10 years. The emotional rollercoaster of winning and losing matches was almost more than I could take. That mixed with constantly being unsure of what I was supposed to be working on made it feel almost impossible to win the title. Rob Fahey had seemed to figure out all of these things, how to balance work and personal life, how to train properly, even knowing himself enough to form a style of play suited to him. Over the last 10 years I learned these things, one at a time, both by winning and losing, until I was finally able to put it together this year.

Along the way I have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the most supportive and caring people I could imagine. They are the ones who help me up when I am down, and at the same time keep me level headed when I may get over-confident.

My Coach, Dacre Stoker, has been a longtime family friend, and has been the most crucial piece in putting my game together over the last few years. Many times he would act as a backboard, hearing out my problems and concerns never complaining. He would then call me back with solutions, that often, required more effort on his part than anyone elses.

My Trainer, Michael Cecchi, only came aboard about a year ago, but in that time has managed to change my game in so many ways. When I approached Mike mid 2015, I had no idea what to expect. he came highly regarded, but I was looking for a very specific training regime. After a short chat with Mike I knew we were on the same page. His dedication to his craft, and willingness to work with me at all hours made me want to push myself.

My training partner, John Lumley, who is also one of the top players in the world, took an incredible amount of time to help me with my game. While working in Philadelphia he would still hit with me 4 hours a day, as well as go to the gym. This would be on top of his normal work day which could include up to 4 lessons a day. This amazing willingness to help made me want to succeed just to show him it was all worth it. I know John will be coming for the title soon enough, and I can’t wait!

My friends and supporters around the world, who have helped me be able to push myself to levels I never knew. They have allowed me to see the world from a different view, and have welcomed me into their homes. They are all my family, and I hope I can welcome them just as they have me in the future.

Finally my family, my mom Chris, my dad Tiger, my sister Ashley, my uncle Scott, and my brother-in-law Max, have given up so much over the past 10 years for me to play this game. They have traveled the world to support me, and have never complained when I came up short. They have never wavered in their belief in me, and that has been the most important piece of my life.

This World Championship is gift from me to all of you, a thank you for everything you have done. I hope you all cherish it as much as I do, and understand that without all of you, it would never have happened.

#FOCUS

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K-SWISS 100% TENNIS

 

KS_Lkup_Vert2_RGB (2)Hello All!

I am very excited to announce that I have officially joined the K-Swiss Professional Team! I have always been a big fan of K-Swiss, and have worn their shoes for years. I am excited to now be able to represent them as I continue on the Professional tour.

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K-Swiss is celebrating its 50th year in the business, and have long been a dominant force in the tennis world. They are widely known for their classic court shoes, but I promise you, their new clothing and shoes are the best out there. It is an honor to be working with a company that is held is such high regard around the world, and I am excited to share my passion for the game with them.

If you have not checked out their website lately, please go to KSWISS.COM and read up on their top of the line performance shoes. My favorites at the moment are the Hypercourt Express, which I have been wearing for the last two years. They are very light, while still giving tons of support for the ankle. They also have an amazing heel support, which is crucial when running on that hard slate surface all day!

#Focus

 

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World Championships Training

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Hello My Friends!

As the WC approaches, I wanted to give you inside look into what my training consists of. Just because I qualified doesn’t mean I have put my feet up and am relaxing! In fact I have been pushing harder than ever to improve all the different parts of my game. The hardest part is building a schedule and sticking to it, which is why so many athletes are people who enjoyed patterns. This means repeating the same activities over and over again, which can help keep someone on top of their training. For me this involves a specific diet, as well as keeping my workouts at the same time every week.

Here is how a standard day will go:

Monday

4:30am – Wake up

5:00am – Breakfast

6:00am – 8:00am – ON COURT TRAINING

8:00am – 9:00am – Stretching and recovery

10:00am – Second Breakfast

11:30am – 1:00pm – GYM TRAINING

1:30pm – Lunch / Mental training

3:00pm – 5:00pm – ON COURT TRAINING

5:00pm – 6:00pm – Stretching and Recovery

6:30pm – Dinner

8:00pm – SLEEP

This type of day will repeat from Monday to Friday with the weekends being used for recovery and any other light training required. You can see that it becomes a full time job to train for this WC!

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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.

 

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