Then again, I definitely prefer playing outdoors in the day rather than at night (I've never played indoors before but I can't imagine that would be any fun). I have ball visibility issues at night; sometimes I can't see the ball as clearly when I'm looking up and staring at the floodlights at the same time; other times, I just can't see the ball as clearly, period, because of the darkness at night.
But it's just so energy-draining to play under the hot sun. The ideal time to play is probably 8 a.m. but there's just no way I can get up that early and still make it to the courts in one piece.
Anyway, I played pretty well today, as opposed to last week which was a total disaster. I was not as tired, I was more awake, more alert, moved better, set up better for the shots. More importantly, my backhand was not completely AWOL today, unlike last week when 80% of my backhand went into the net.
Honestly, the most tiring thing about tennis isn't the physical assertion; it isn't the running or the swinging of the racquet. No, the most tiring thing about tennis is the mental focus that's required to sustain a certain level of play for a period of time that's longer than, say, ten minutes. I find that the minute I start thinking about how hot it is and how tired I am in my head, that's also the precise minute at which I start playing like shit. Simultaneously, I also find that it's extremely difficult to concentrate on hitting balls and to stay focused when I'm really, really honest-to-god melting under the sun, when I can feel the rays of the sun burning into my skin (it's 6 hours later and I can still feel it on my calves). I know that this is true, because I can make myself do pretty much anything when my mind is focused on the task. For instance, even though I was on the verge of collapse, I made myself chase down a wicked cross-court forehand that NUS Wall Guy hit with some degree of pace; immediately after that, my mind gave up and I had to take a break.
Maybe I should try imagining that I'm playing by the sea or whatever, where it's cooling and pretty, instead of the industrial town that is NUS.
Also, I way prefer receiving hard balls as opposed to soft loopy balls that give me too much time to prepare and/or think. If the ball comes hard and fast at me, I'm forced to react instantly and quickly; more crucially, I can absorb the pace of the ball and re-directed it to wherever I want. But if the ball is soft, slow, and bounces high, I find myself at a loss of what to do for about a split second - and it's a split second too long, for when I'm finally mentally present again, I end up hitting the ball late and too close to the side, instead of out in front. I also have issues with generating my own pace, i.e. it's quite difficult to do that. I'm more comfortable matching my partner's speed, rather than creating my own and seeing where that takes me.
Actually, I really want a new racquet. I've been using this one for about a year and a half already, and I'm itching to use something a bit heavier, so that I can feel the ball more when I hit it for better control, hopefully.
Also, I still haven't figured out how to hit a forehand down the line. I do cross-court well, but if I can't even do that, then I should just stop playing. I was quite pleased with a cross-court forehand winner that I smacked off a sitter mid-court; so pleased, in fact, that I felt my fingers clench into a fist and I heard myself say, "Yes!" I stopped myself, though, when I realised what I was doing. I mean, this wasn't a match, you know?
It's a very fucking hot afternoon. It rained an hour ago and I'm sitting in front of my fan, feeling heat emanating from my body. It's always so hot; I can't wash my clothes without sweating, I can't brew coffee without sweating, I can't even sit in my room and type this with my fan blowing directly at me without sweating. It's too expensive to turn on the air-conditioning, so I just put up with it as best as I can.
I'm going out to the living room to read Julian Barnes.