In May, I set off on a eight week trip from Tassie to tackle the European summer! I had been preparing for this tour for 2 months with the help of my coach Simon Youl. I felt great going into the tour as I had worked on my strength and fitness and felt like I had fully recovered from my abdominal injury that I had been dealing with the prior few months.
The first stop was Milan. Milan is the lead in tournament for the Junior French Open. I won my first match in an epic three set match. I was down 5-2 in the 3rd, but managed to get back on track and win 7-5 in the third. I was very happy with this win as it was my first match back. I also played doubles in this tournament which looking back may have not been the right choice. My partner and I won a couple of rounds. I also won my next singles match without much pain on the abdominal but then in my 3rd round match I was in some bad pain and mentally it was quite tough knowing that the injury was back. I played most of the match was forced to pull out due to the injury.
At this stage I had to look a the bigger picture which was get my self ready for the Junior Grand Slams. I was 10 days out from Paris and around 7 weeks from Wimbledon. In my head I knew I would be much more confident on the grass because it suit my game. So I had to make the choice whether to pull the pin on Paris and get ready for grass or try to play Paris but could possibly make the injury worst. I ended up deciding that I would play the French Open.
I prepared for the french Open by going to Munich, Germany where they have an Australian training base. I didn’t serve just keep up my physical work. I spend around a week their training with another injured German professional tennis player Cedrik Stebe. After the week I headed off to Paris a couple days before the French Open to get ready. My abdominal still felt unstable. Two days out from the tournament I started to rolled my serve over again and it felt fine, good enough to play in practice. The day before my first round match I decided to play a set and half at highest intensity. Its fair to say I pulled up very sore in the abdominal area.
The morning of my first match I was still sore and stiff, I warmed up as usual, got a massage and the abdominal taped up. I went out onto the match court with the mentally that I would give everything. I won the toss! This was the first time I had elected to receive, I always open with my serve. I ended up losing in a close straight setter 6-3 6-4. I had count less break points on his serve which I was able to take advantage off. I was only broken once in the first and second sets which was quite good considering. All in all it was a frustrating couple of weeks.This marked the end of the clay season.
I would really like to thank my coach in Tassie Simon Youl for the countless hour he spent with me grinding on the clay at home before I left. Also Rob Lynch for letting us use his clay court in Hobart.
Written by: Harry Bourchier