Friday, January 29, 2010


Like a slave being thrown into the coliseum and watching the lions be released, you know that no matter what the slave does, in the end he’s toast – or in this case, kitty food. That is more or less how I felt stepping on court for my first round qualifying match against Matthew Karwalski in the this year’s Motor City open (MCO) at the BAC. Karwalski is ranked 74 in the world and a fellow Australian, but this was the first time we had crossed paths which isn’t a surprise since he was just weaning himself out of diapers by the time I was finishing up my junior career.

The BAC has done a wonderful job – as they do every year – in setting up and running a first class pro event. The players are front and center, the audience is extremely appreciative and generous and if any of the players go away without a positively flattering experience, then they better see their physician to get better meds.

My match went pretty much as I expected it would. With virtually no preparation leading up to the match (which came from lack of time and not from lack of ‘want’), expecting to be able to compete with much younger competition who do nothing else but play matches and train, would be like the slave in the coliseum standing up to the lion and expecting to survive a hand-to-paw/jaws combat. I did not feel out matched skill-wise, but it became apparent rather early on that my fitness would be somewhat lagging. My resistance was fair, and I did try as hard as I could, ran as much as my legs and lungs would allow, and picked up a good handful of points, albeit not enough to win any of the games. The anticipated 3-0 result lasted between 30-40 minutes.

Like anyone else, I felt the loss was disappointing. (I can’t believe that lion ate me!) I think – know – I could have done better. The ‘what-ifs’ and ‘should-haves’ come thick and fast, and maybe next year I’ll make more time to train, but either way I am thankful to the BAC for giving me the opportunity to get out and play ‘properly’ again. I am also very grateful to all the DAC members that made the effort to come and cheer me on; it does mean an awful lot to me.

The main draw for the MCO starts tonight and features a couple of top 10 players. For the record, Karwalski did not win his next match and failed to qualify. I guess I made him too tired… (!)

Photos courtesy of Henry Payne (BAC)


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