Travel life-Atlanta Open
ATP 250 Atlanta
Upon returning from Brasil I was in North Carolina four days before I began travels to my next event in Atlanta. The Atlanta Open is an ATP tour 250 event. This tournament has truly some of the top professionals on the planet and rewards the participants with bigger prize money payouts and amenities. This tournament would be an experience for me to test my game against players that compete in grand slams and qualifying of grand slams.
I am very familiar with Atlanta. I have family that lives in the city as well as many friends that I consider extended family. I trained in the city for some time so I knew I would be well acclimated to the heat, humidity, court speed, brand of tennis ball, altitude and tournament environment. Tennis players consider these "conditions", which vary week by week as tournament venues change. It is apart of the players job to acclimate to the changing factors and play as best as they can.
I would arrive Friday not yet knowing my entry into the event as I was an alternate the last time I checked the participant list. I set up a practice with a long time friend who has great tennis knowledge. I also knew it would ease any nerves about getting into the event. Midway through our hitting practice an Atlanta summer rain shower poured onto the courts ending our practice. I checked the schedule of the next day's matches. As I looked further down the list I saw my name! Excitement and relief overcame me immediately. I then knew that my preparations needed to be continued for the next morning.
ATP 250 events include hospitality, which are accommodations at world class hotels and meals, during your participation in the event. After a busy travel day, I needed to sleep and prepare to compete in the morning. I was in the Southern Hemisphere only 5 days before this. A requirement of the professional players job is to manage the different living accommodations around the world each week. Some weeks are more convenient than others. This would be one of those weeks with luxury.
After enjoying a breakfast and being stretched by the trainer I would warm up and play my match. I had previously played this opponent before losing in three tough sets. The player I faced had been on the cusp of the ATP World Tour top 100 ranking. This is the threshold that every tennis player holds as "making it" Because it guarantees direct entry into main draw of grand slam tournaments and also guarantees a very strong financial year in prize money earnings. I had a game plan set and I was confident in my ability. My match was announced and after being chauffeured to my match in a new Lexus Suv it was time to compete. Initially, I did have some jitters but I settled well and competed hard. After two sets the scoreboard showed that I was defeated 6363. I was disappointed. It was not my effort that faulted but my focus at key moments that made the difference. It is true that at the highest levels of tennis the difference between winning and losing can be shown in a few points. I would need to review these moments and make adjustments to improve in the future.
The rest of the week I had practice and a meeting with my clothing sponsor, Boast USA, who sponsored the tournament. I was able to have some practices with some other highly ranked pros and I was able to gain exposure from these hits. I also was featured on the Parenting Aces internet radio show. It was a great interview in which I discussed junior tennis, student-athletics in college and life on the professional tour. There is a link that will take you to the interview at the bottom. Lastly, I was able to reach out to a fan who watched me play in Atlanta. He told he was inspired to continue on his path with tennis and was determined to persevere. This actually inspired me as I feel my purpose in this long tennis journey is to help motivate and cultivate positivity so that those who witness my efforts are encouraged to pursue greatness in their own endeavors.
Overall, the Atlanta Open experience was positive because I was able to test my game against high level competition, experience ATP tour benefits, and be around friends and family. I am sure that this experience will help me develop.