My latest tournament wasn’t exactly a success 🤫. But as the saying goes, I did learn quite a few things at least!
Of course, my expectations were not sky-high as it was my first tournament in 15 months. But saying that I went there just to get a taste of competition would be a big, fat lie.
I mean, who goes to a tournament just to participate?! I don’t, that’s for sure! 🙅♀️
Hi, my name is Elena 👋🏻 and, just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it.
That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.
But ok, back to business now!
So... the truth is, I thought I was ready for it. But I wasn’t. AT ALL.
In fact, already in the week prior to the tournament a couple of physical problems came up: first the broken nail of my big toe (not a big deal, you may think. Well, not really: the pain was sharp 🥵), then a stiff upper back, and finally a painful shoulder.
Not exactly the ideal condition to play my first Finnish Tour tournament of the year!
But when you always preach start before you’re ready, you cannot just back out like that. So I threw myself out there and saw what happened. And yepp, ladies and gentlemen 🥁, I survived!
Yes, I did get a double bagel (ouch, that hurt!) but at least...
I won my first round. (Yayyyyy! It sure was a freaking torture, but I’m very proud of getting the win anyway!)
The one who killed me ended up winning the tournament. (That made me feel a tiny bit better, I must admit 😆.)
I’m still here all in one piece! (Even though I spent pretty much the next 2 days not being able to walk.)
I didn’t even take my loss too bad. (Or I wouldn’t be here telling you about it, let alone getting ready for my next Finnish Tour tournament this weekend 🙆♀️!)
So now that you have a bit of context, let’s get into the lessons I learnt (or re-learnt), shall we?
Lesson #1 - Nerves can play tricks on you
It’s amazing what nerves can do. I had totally forgot 🙉!
But I was reminded right away when I stepped on the court for my first round and started the warm up. OMG!!
Can you guess what happened?
Yep, my forehand was gone. Once again 😱!!
My wrist was soooo stiff I had zero lag, zero slap and zero control. Such an awful feeling! All I wanted was to dig a hole and disappear. (And go hit some forehands by myself in a quiet place!)
But I was there, about to start my first long awaited match! I had to find a way!!
And so I did: I put my embarrassment aside, started slicing every single ball and turned around to hit inside out backhands whenever I thought I had enough time (I didn’t know inside out backhands were even a thing, but hey... they do work!).
And if that wasn’t enough, the same thing happened the next day in the next round. Can you believe?!
The good thing is: now, just a couple of days after those two matches, I’m happy to report that my forehand is back and never been so loose 🤷♀️!
✨ Everybody can win when everything works. Only a few when nothing works. Never give up and just use what you got on that day!
Lesson #2 - Double bagels hurt
Oh boy, if they hurt!
I didn’t even remember when was the last time I got one, and this came straight like a punch in my stomach. 🥊 WHOA.
It’s not like I didn’t fight. We even had some very tight games, and I did have my chances here and there. I just couldn’t convert them. Sad.
So sad that when I left the court and started thinking of what had just happened, I just wanted to cry. Like a lot 😭. (And I’m not one that usually cries for this kind of things!)
My poor performance shocked me. It disappointed me so much I even considered quitting tennis. (Don’t you worry, I’m not a quitter and I would NEVER ever quit playing. It was just a bullshit thought I had in the heat of the moment, which caught even me by surprise. I mean... Quitting?! Who?? No way. Not gonna happen.)
The truth is, I didn’t feel like myself out there. And that was not fun!
Never would I have thought being out 1 year or so would make me lose this much of my tennis. Never! 🥺
For some weird reason, I thought I would just practice a couple of months and everything would be back to normal. Sure, I wasn’t expecting to have the same match confidence, but the same feeling on the ball, the same footwork, the same reaction yes. But HELL NO!
And seeing how behind my tennis has fallen literally broke my heart 💔.
But the good thing is, it also woke me up. It sent me back to planet earth 🪐 so fast I thought I would crash so hard I would never be myself again. But I survived and this experience really reminded me that you don’t get anything for free in life.
✨ If you want something, work for it. No one is going to hand it to you.
(One of my favorite books ever is The Talent Code and yet I need a double bagel to remind me of how things work?! I need to give it a second read ASAP!)
Lesson #3 - The higher the level, the fitter you need to be
That’s obvious, you may be thinking. And you know what? I totally agree 😂.
But when you’ve been out for so long you don’t really have a benchmark anymore! So I ended up thinking that yeah, I might not be in top shape but good enough to be able to figure it out during the match.
Well, no. My shape was nowhere near where it should be to play at that level! And I understood it the moment I set foot in the tennis hall.
My match wasn’t the first so when I arrived there were already matches on going and O-M-G, those girls were on fire 🔥!!
My brain started racing like a hamster on a wheel, and kept asking “WTF are you doing here?!” non-stop.
That intensity was just... I don’t know, insane?! 😳
I knew my feet were once able to go that fast, but now? No freaking way!
And indeed, once I stepped on the court I felt more like an elephant 🐘 than on fire. Slow, heavy and clumsy: that’s how I felt!
The good thing is, this problem is easy to solve. Especially when you have the High Performance Tennis Fitness Program there on your phone, ready to bring you back in your top shape! Some good old athletics is waiting for me, I’m afraid. And I’m ready for it 💪.
Oh and if you’re wondering, yes: those cardio drills did do an awesome job for my cardio so I have no intention whatsoever to take them out of my practices!
✨ Be an athlete first, then a tennis player.
And voilà, those are the 3 big lessons I take home from last week’s tournament.
Who knows what I’ll learn in the next one, make your bets! (Hopefully I won’t only learn, but win as well 😝.)
Jokes aside... win or lose, I’m so so soooo happy to be back competing! I missed it so much!! And you know what? It’ll take me some serious time to make up for all these missed tournaments!
Yes, I’ll get many more slaps in the face. (After all, I said it once 6 months ago and I say it again: tennis really is harder than I remembered!)
But honestly, there will never be disappointment too big to make me hang up my tennis racket. Getting out there, hitting balls and trying to win is just the best thing ever! Isn’t it?!
Thanks a lot for reading this blog up to the very end, I really appreciate it. It wasn’t easy to share this low of mine, but hey... who has never got a double bagel?! Probably someone who’s never played a tournament, right?! So nothing to be ashamed of, I guess 🤷♀️.
✨ Always keep your head up.
Keep working hard. And I’ll see you in the next blog!
Talk to you soon 💕🤗,
ps - How about we make double bagels normal? Share about your latest one in the comments below, we’ll all feel better!
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