15 February, 2010 | 22:02
Arrived in Bergamo this afternoon having spent most of the day travelling. Taxi to Gatwick – flight to Milan – taxi to train station – train to Bergamo – taxi to hotel. Nice.The hotel is in the middle of nowhere it seems and the main site is about 15-20mins away. The other venue for some matches and practice is also 20mins away but in the opposite direction. We went to hit in the evening and it turns out that lunch and dinner are also at the practice site.The surface here is quick to say the least. Not a whole lot of rallies flying around this week and you will have to stay patient because I’m sure there will be a fair few aces going by you! We are playing Dustin Brown and Harsh Mankad in the first round and that should be an interesting match for us. I don’t think you could have paired together two more opposite players. Brown is 6’5” with a rocket booster and a very flashy game (anything could happen) and Harsh is about 5’9” and very methodical about how he goes about things. Certainly the thinker of the two!
We toughed out a win today although it should have been more emphatic. We eventually got through in a CTB 10-7 having led 6-1 3-1. We were killing it and out of nowhere Jonny put in a bit of a stinker of a game to drop his serve and then things got a bit hairy. We went on to lose the 2nd set in a tiebreak but clawed out the match tiebreak to get through. I had played very solid throughout the match but got a bit edgy in the tie breaks due to being frustrated that we were now on the verge of possibly losing having led for so long – similar situation to last week in Zagreb although we hadn’t thrown away a break. With the doubles scoring system, matches can change in a heartbeat and momentum is crucial in today’s game and so when you have that momentum its so important to keep pressing and pushing yourself to achieve the standards you set yourself otherwise things can change pretty quickly and within a very short space of time you can be staring defeat straight in the face.
Today we beat Stoppini and Grigelis 6-2 7-5. It was a boring match as the result was never in doubt and we were rolling through our service games - it was just a matter of getting the breaks of serve. There weren’t really any rallies to get excited about but that was mainly down to the court surface. Anyway, we are through and will get up for the semis tomorrow. I went to do a workout straight after the match when I was still warm. They had a decent gym (very old school) available but we didn’t know that as we had spent about 20mins at the main venue all week. I did a bit of maintenance work – nothing too heavy in case I pull up stiff tomorrow. Pumped out sets of squats and lunges and did a few shoulder exercises. I need to make sure I keep on top of this stuff when the opportunity is there to do it.
Early start as the tournament scheduled us at 10am for our semi final. I woke up at 7am having had the worst nights sleep – no more than 5 hours for sure. Having said that I didn’t feel so tired. However, that soon changed during the car journey. It took us 45mins to get to the club due to traffic and we got there just in time for our 30mins warm up. All we ever seem to be doing this week is waiting – waiting for a ride to either of the clubs, waiting for a ride to the restaurant, waiting for a ride back from the restaurant and waiting for a ride to the hotel. And now I’m waiting in a self-service launderette! The important thing today was that we won our match 7-6 6-7 10-7 to advance to the final. It wasn’t a great match to watch. There were lots of big serves and missed returns but when it came down to it I made every shot in the match tie break and we came out on top. I went straight to the gym again and did some more squats followed by a warm down and stretch. Happy with the days work.
Woke up to a phone call from Alej and various texts and emails from friends and family wishing me happy birthday. The big 2-4 today! Ancient. Another final and another win for the team! We play a great match but it takes a double fault on match point in the CTB from Karol Beck for us to win. We steamrolled our way thru the first set 6-1 and had a lot of sniffs at breaking in the second set but couldn’t quite do it and eventually we were made to pay when we lost it in a tie break. We refocused well in the CTB and were leading the whole way before eventually winning 10-8. The match ended with me double faulting at 9-7 and then Beck following suit at 9-8! Pretty sure that has never happened to me before! Fully deserved the win tonight as we were by far the better team and the stats showed we won 18 more points than them that is a bit of a killing in doubles! After the match, we went back to the restaurant to grab some food as I only had a light dinner before the match. All the tournament staff had gone to eat also and when we walked in everybody started clapping which was really nice. I went back to the car that drove us to get my camera and when I returned they began singing “Happy Birthday” but I had to tell them to stop and start again so I could record it! We had a good time eating with the drivers before going back to the hotel to sleep. Decent birthday.