Up at 7.00 am for a half hour mobilise, stretch, roll and cup of tea! Out of the house by 8.30 to hook up with Chris for a 9.15 hit and was ready to go.
Nick started well and held to love first game making clear his intent to get to net, serving and volleying and sneak attacks from the baseline. Points were going to be relatively short and in some ways I was quite relieved that it wasn't going to be another long physical battle with drawn out rallies, although this probably would have favoured me.
I held comfortably second game and then managed to pinch an early break followed by another hold to lead 3-1. Nick's forehand was misfiring slightly and a few unforced errors from him off this wing enabled me to win the first set with relative ease, 6-2.
An immediate break first game second set and I was now in the drivers seat, but I played a poor service game (not positive enough) and we were back on level terms. With confidence now building in my opponent his game picked up and he began to find the spots on his serve and came up with some really very impressive volleying. We each held serve but a 4-5, 15-30 I was in some trouble. A couple of clutch points including an ace out wide and a diving cut off volley helped with get through this sticky patch, and from there the momentum seemed to shift back my way and with a break and and a hold the job was done, 6-2 7-5. A good match played in great spirit against a very worthy opponent - well done Nick Boys on a great tourney if you read this!
It was great to see the Bright family and Calum and Kevin Fairey there to support - thanks so much guys and for the excellent charting Josh! You guys helped loads and thanks Chris Evans as well for all the encouragement over last few days and sorry you couldn't quite make it over the line today - all development work for those Inter-Services this summer Chris!
The thing that struck me the most this week has been the expenditure of 'emotional labour' during a tournament, both on and off-court and how much of a journey into oneself this game really is. The simple fact of not really being able to talk or engage with anyone but yourself through 2 hours of play leads to a whole range of emotions and thoughts, often in that order. The emotion kicks in very quickly, and it's a question then of whether one's self-talk can take you to a better place when those emotions are less than helpful or just downright chimp-like negative! There have been times over the last few matches where I've just wanted to give up, stop fighting and go home but another voice kept tugging away saying, 'no, stick at it, hang in there and it could just turn.'
Been a great few days. A super reminder for me as a coach what our Everyball players go through on a regular basis and hopefully my coaching will be sharper and more insightful as a result. Thanks also for all the support via text/social media etc...makes a massive difference.
Match point, filmed by Chris attached below.
Until next time, Mike.