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.
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 momentum 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.