4-0 Representing Karlstad Tennis Club in Sweden
After missing the cut for the last tournament in Israel by 1 spot, I decided to go to Sweden to train before embarking on my Africa swing. Upon arrival, I thought it was just going to be an intense training week, but with the help of Jason (a friend and Swedish player there) I got connected to Karlstad’s A team. I thought I was going to simply just practice with them, but I actually got the opportunity to compete for the club in competition at the end of the week! Thanks to my Swedish license number I signed up for this past summer along with the support of the team and Karlstad Club President (Jonas Wahrolin), the Swedish Tennis Federation made an exception in my case!
Additionally, I was really happy to have the chance to give back to their local tennis community and work with their top junior players. I led a few clinics with kids ranging from 8 to 17 years old. I really enjoyed getting the chance to give these players some tips and found it to be very rewarding to share some knowledge and see the impact it made for them!
Not only did I get to practice with the A team, but I did a lot of dead ball work indoors with the help of my girlfriend. She fed me hundreds of balls as I worked a lot on movement and different patterns.
Below you can see a couple videos of what I was doing!
Here is a cool article the club published about my work with all the juniors… it is in Swedish, but thought it was still a cool thing to share.
4-0 at #1 Singles and Doubles:
Not knowing what to expect going into the weekend, I was excited, but also a little nervous as I wanted to help the team win. The coach and President of the club both told me I would be slotted at the #1 spot for both matches in singles and doubles, which I knew would be great opportunities!
The team and I traveled a couple hours away from Karlstad where we would play one match indoors on hard court and then much to my surprise we played the second match on CARPET indoors! This was a first for me, but I had a blast navigating my way through it. Indoor carpet essentially eliminates the effectiveness of topspin, therefore you really have to look to come into net, use the slice, and stay low as the ball does not bounce high. I found that the carpet worked quite nicely for my game style.
In the first match, we won handily in doubles and then I won 6-2 6-0 in singles. I was happy, but felt I was not playing as aggressively as I could. I wanted to really look to come in to the net and be more aggressive in the afternoon especially on carpet… ultimately hoping to play “more free”. I found myself at times flashing back to all of my college dual matches and that same energy. It was such a cool experience to be able to compete alongside teammates again as the Pro Circuit is very much an individual lonely journey for the most part! I am very lucky that I have had Rayne Roselt and Jeremy Sonkin (my doubles partner) alongside me for most of this journey!
Now onto the afternoon, I came into this singles match playing a highly ranked junior from Sweden, but I knew if I could be aggressive from the start and get a couple early breaks, I could really mentally get the edge. I came out fired up and got those couple breaks! After that, the match completely changed as he started making a lot more unforced errors and I kept applying pressure. I went on to win that match 6-2, 6-0 and then my doubles partner and I got a solid 6-2 6-4 win against a pretty tough team.
Overall, this experience was a major highlight and the President / Team have asked me to play for them whenever I can in the future. I feel truly honored that they gave me this opportunity and that I could help them win some matches! I look forward to playing for the Karlstad Tennis Club again in the future.
Stay Tuned for South Africa Training Highlights with Rayne:
My next blog post will highlight my time at Rayne’s house near Johannesburg, South Africa where we were training 4 hours a day at over 5,000 feet!