Having arrived in Gifu after 2 flights, 2 trains, and a short taxi ride I was finally at the hotel. Exactly the same as last year, a box room nice and comfy, I soon found out i had to change the rock hard pillow for a nice soft one in order to get to sleep( it literally must have had lead balls in it). I really enjoyed the tournaments in Japan last year and was really excited about coming back and looking forward to fighting to do well in both the tournaments this year. Jet lag has not been too bad although I have been waking up a few times in the night. The bags under the eyes are not a great look in the morning but they soon go after having some breakfast and getting onto training. So far I have been hitting twice a day, doing some footwork agility training, getting into the pool to get in a cardio session as there is no gym here (highly annoying) and doing my re hab strengthening exercises that I always do for my knee as it will always be a weakness of mine. Eating well is hard as people do not speak much (if any) English out here but I was prepared and brought out some rye bread for breakfast and cous cous for lunch so I am getting all the energy I need. I am feeling good on the courts made of sand so a few more days of training and then i am ready to go.
Well today has not been so successful for the Brits in terms of actually getting onto the court. It has rained all day here in Gifu!!! They moved to some indoors but cancelled Katie and my doubles as the players party is tonight at 5.20 we all have to be ready so they put the matches till tomorrow!!! don't worry about playing your matches as long as you come to the party. All fun and games. So for me it was a day of fitness. A run in the morning, then to the gym with my leg and core work later. I was going to head to the pool but found out it was closed for the day!!! I went round the local shops for a quick look and also to get Katie a present for her birthday tomorrow. Happy 21st Katie, hope you have a great time. So for me it is off to the players meal now, its very organised and a really nice one to go to so I am looking forward to it. I play both my singles and doubles matches tomorrow. Can you believe it we have come all this way and Tash and I have to play each other in the first round. Thats the way it goes sometimes. I am out here for one reason only so will give it my best tomorrow.
the rest of the trip went pretty well. i was training extremly hard and practising really well. my singles the first week did not go how i wanted it to. i was thinking too much about how much i wanted to win which actually made me play worse! the mind is a powerful tool. the second set i played the tennis that i had been practsing with and just went with it. i didnt overthink and the whole game became simple again. Tash played a great game and in the 1st and 3rd set must have hit 20 aces! she was serving very well so i have to give her some credit even if the match did not go to plan for me. After that it was straight back into working and training hard as well as focusing on doubles with Kaite. We had not played together for a long time but we played well in our first round and had a tough match in the next. We both enjoyed being on the court together.
In this time i got to spend my 21st birthday out in Japan. Cards that i had brought from home made it nice and we went for a meal later on to celebrate so it was the best day that i could make of it. In one restaurant we went to in Gifu we ordered shrimp. Yum. when the women brought them out i nearly had the shock of my life. THEY WERE MOVING! yes thats right they came out alive! we had a little bbq rack infront of us and we had to cook them! they could not have been any fresher and they tasted unbelievable but the next time i could not do it again. Tash refused to ******* eat them. lol.
The second week and i was determined to do well. i had put in so much hard work and had kept all of my disciplines with my diet, training and gettin the right rest in so i would recover. Its always hard to play your first matches when you want to win so much you would do almost anything for it but i knew i had to relax and trust the work that i had put in. With a phone call to my coach for a motivational chat and just to hear someone else to keep things simple i was ready. i went out for my first match in Fukuoka against a Japanese girl and played a lot better. i was more positive and agressive with my tennis. it was a very windy day but i used the conditions to my advantage and she had no answers. it could have been a tricky match so i was pleased with how i played this match. again Katie and i were playing doubles together and the following day we had to play 2 Japanese girls that were wild cards but young and pretty good. we played another good match and were pleased to finish 5 minutes before the bus was leaving to the hotel so literally ran off court when we realised. the hotel was a 30 min journey away and the next bus was not for another hour and a half so we did not want to hang around the courts doing nothing. In my second round i had to play an Australian girl. i went out and had more of a fight in this match but managed to keep my head and stay aggressive when it got to closing the match out. i came off court and was happy to be in the quarter final. it was proving to be a good week but it was not over yet. the following day i would have to play Casey Dell'Aqua, i had played her before and had tough matches and i had practised with her so knew that i could win it. when i got on court though she was the more dominant one. i was not finding my serve so she was straight on it, she had a lot of confidence and hit some amazing winners which were just too good. later that day katie and i had our quarters of the doubles on center court. it was a really good fight and could have gone either way which was frustrating. we could not be too dissapointed as we had given it our all. to see them go and win the tournament does give you a little kick inside that if it had have gone our way we could have gone on to win.
the trip overall went well. i came back with some wins and having got into better shape. i still like Japan and would like to go back again. i now have to keep up the hard work and get some more wins.