Tenniszine - UK tennis blog.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Club night (19) hooray

Went along to club night doubles mix-in last night and had a good time. Some rustiness as I mentioned on my previous post, mainly movement and slightly wayward backhand. I was also conscious how fast the game is, or how slow my reactions or anticipation is, having been away for a while.

This morning my arm felt quite stiff and sore, but it eased during the day. At the moment I plan on playing again tomorrow at the club singles and doubles mix-in, so that will be a real test. Three sessions, one every alternate day, will tell me how it's holding up.

I've been keeping an eye on the seniors tour which has just completed its penultimate tournament with a win by Goran Ivanisevic. Now I know which players will be at the Albert Hall for the Masters which I'm looking forward to going to with my daughter. The players are: McEnroe, Thomas Muster, Cedric Pioline, Pat Cash, Jim Courier, Sergi Bruguera, Anders Jarryd, Krajicek, Haarhuis and Mikael Pernfors.

I would love to know what happened to Muster at Essen to lose to Pat Cash 0-6, 1-6. That must have been a really bad day at the office, or Pat was on fire.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

First hit for 3 weeks

Visited the club last night and hit with one of the younger coaches for an hour. I was hitting the ball quite well on forehand, slightly less so on the backhand, so on the drills and exercises we did for the first 40 minutes I was in surprisingly good form given that I have not played for 3 weeks. When we played a few games however the rustiness showed, mainly on movement and anticipation.
My arm felt really solid with no pain whilst playing, but some soreness today, although I have other general soreness in the shoulder and legs so I'm not too concerned. Will wait and see how I feel on Sunday before deciding whether to try Sunday nights regular doubles session.
Clocks go back tonight, that means dark at 5pm in the UK, and getting darker earlier as we move to December 21st. I hate it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Henman v Murray, post match analysis

Well I was going to blog some thoughts before the match. Roughly my thinking was along the lines of:
  • Henman hasn't played much lately because of his back injury and when he has played he hasn't been convincing; but will have something to prove against Murray. It's called pride.
  • Murray is on a high and the player on form, and although he too has not played in the last month because of an injury should have the confidence to take the game to Henman. Also he is ambitious.
  • On balance Murray could well have the edge, but it's too close to call.

Well thanks to Eurosport I was able to watch the match and although it wasn't particularly good tennis Murray took it, just. I felt that in the end Henman didn't have the belief and it could have gone either way. Both players showed flashes of brilliance but overall it wasn't a classic.

I'm sure the UK newspaper media tomorrow will be shouting about the changing of the guard, and that's probably going to be true over the next year or so, but if Henman can get fit over the closed season and stay fit next year I think he still has the game to be competitive. Probably not top 10 but top 50 for sure. The question is will he be satisfied with that?

As I've already mentioned Murray has some competition from other teenagers, so although he could crack the top 20 which is his goal for next year it's going to be tough.

As for my own tennis, I've been doing some arm strengthening exercises as well as my normal exercise routine. For example  I went for a run today. Although my arm still has some soreness I will hit with a coach on Friday and see how it holds up. In the past when I've had long term chronic injuries such as jumpers knee, back stiffness or tennis elbow, I've been able to return to the game without the condition completely clear, but slowly recovered by protecting the injury and continuing with the rehabilitation. Since I play less in winter anyway let's hope this works again.
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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Back home

Back home after flying on a Virgin red-eye from JFK. The new airtrain system is awesome and takes you direct to the Hertz parking lot from your terminal. The flight was pretty smooth and took less than 6 hours. I have picked up a raging sore throat during my time in the states, probably the start of a nasty head and chest cold, and still have a sore arm. Can't blame Virgin for either of them. Suffering from the time difference too today as I only managed about 3 hours of dozing on the plane.
Drove along the Van Wyck Expressway (why do they call it an expressway? - it crawls) which is nearly alongside the USTA National Tennis Center where the Arthur Ashe stadium is clearly visible but dwarfed by the even grander Shea stadium. That's probably the closest I will get to the US Open. 
Went for a short run but took it easy and hit a few balls against a practise wall for 10 minutes. After a sedentary week of conferencing I just want to ease back into the demands made on the body by the motion and movements of playing tennis.  
Trying to catch up on tennis news, I see Nadal is still on the ascendancy and Robby Ginepri is continuing his good run in the second half of this year. They play each other next in Madrid.
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Friday, October 21, 2005

Missing tennis

I'm still in NY State and missing tennis and exercise. Strangely my arm is still quite sore even though I have not played for nearly two weeks. I'm beginning to worry that the stretching exercises I'm doing are keeping the inflammation active. I will restart strengthening exercises when I return at the weekend. First thing I will do is go for a run to get all this American gaseous food bloat out of my system.
Well done to Lindsay Davenport no.1 again
This post is just an excuse to try out the Qumana blog editor, after I received an email from Luan. The reason it took my interest is that it seemed as if Luan actually read, at least the last entry of, my blog. I had already downloaded Qumana ready to give it a try after reading James Governor at MonkChips a couple of weeks ago. It still doesn't do drafts though :-(
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Friday, October 14, 2005

Richard Gasquet and me

Sad to hear that Richard Gasquet is out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

A bit like me! I wish.

It doesn't say if the injury is the same as mine, golfers elbow.

I last played a week ago, and my arm felt pretty good two days later so I'm hoping I'm nearly OK. I have not been blogging or playing mainly because of work, and next week I'm in NY State in the US, also work. So I'm using this time to exercise and rehabilitate my arm by stretches and strength building. There's still some pain so I'm taking it slowly at the moment, but I hope to start playing again on Friday 28th.

Interesting to read Guy Forget's comments about Gasquet, and Monfils. I wonder why John Wertheim raves about Monfils but not Gasquet?

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Playing with asthma

With the interesting story behind Alex Bogomolov's ban and the oncoming winter season in the UK, I thought I would write about playing with asthma.

As an asthmatic I am quite lucky that my asthma is not severe and under good control. This was not always the case. Things improved in my mid 30's when I changed my sedentary lifestyle to a more active one with regular walking and gardening, and additionally started taking Beclomethasone which is an inhaled steroid. Further changes included taking up tennis and the associated aerobic fitness exercise (running, cycling) that is needed to maintain a good standard of play. I still occasionally need to take a Ventolin inhaler, which contains salbutamol the drug that was detected in Alex Bogomolov's test, but typically this is only if I get a heavy chest cold or cough, or sometmes in cold weather.

Playing tennis, running or exercise in cold weather with asthma needs some precautions. A slow build up or warm up is needed to prevent the irritation caused by cold air that can trigger asthma. I usually do a 10-15 minute warm up anyway before playing tennis, summer or winter, and then in winter when the air is cold will take a pre-tennis puff on the Ventolin inhaler.

Like many asthmatics I am allergic to aspirin and some NSAID's such as Ibuprofen. This is a pity since not be able to orally take anti-inflammatories for injuries can be a problem. However I have found by trial and error that the NSAID creams and gels, Movelat, Voltarol and BIOFREEZE, mentioned here are tolerated just fine by me. I do have some problems with some of the smellier creams, such as Deep Heat or Radian B, which typically have menthol or some other strong smelling agent. It's the smell which my lungs are unhappy with and not the absorption of the NSAID through the skin.

More information at these links:

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

When is losing 3-6 5-7 also a win?

Congratulations to Andy Murray for making his first ATP tour final against Roger Federer the worlds no1. Sadly, but also like Federer, Murray lost in his first final. The BBC is even changing its regular and publshed program schedule to show it on TV in the UK, albeit at the 'enthusiasts time' of 22:55. Of course these days it's easy to tape, record to DVD or Tivo what you watch and since it's not live that's probably what I will do too.

I played on Friday with one of the club coaches, following some of the Junior sessions at the club. The youngsters were buzzing with Murray's progress to the finals, and it certainly does seem to be giving the grass roots a lift, and not just the UK media.

Bad luck on Tim Henman the other long suffering stalwart of British tennis, whose withdrawal from the Thailand Open made room for Murray and who has now had to withdraw from the Japan Open. Henman is certainly a class act who was never appreciated by the UK media, and I fear that a bad back will make it tough for him to get back into the top 10. I hope he is able to prove me wrong but a back injury is tough to deal with, as Agassi is finding out.

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