I played my second mini league match this morning and narrowly lost it 6-4. Since we have to play 11 games, we played a tiebreak (as the 11th game) which I won 7-5 or something like that, but I think my opponent was already mentally checked out as she'd already won, so that means little to me. This match was the more frustrating because it encapsulated everything that is right with my tennis, and everything that is wrong with it. I started off the match really well; I was hitting these winners and hitting the ball cleanly, and I got up 3-1.
But I didn't manage to hold for 4-1 despite staving off 0-40 and getting a game point. After that, I started making these stupid errors, hitting the ball into the net on easy shots, messing up my returns - and it got into my head. I got frustrated and angry at myself. I did not want to lose to a player with no backhand (though I couldn't keep hitting to her backhand either as sometimes she'd touch the ball with the racquet frame and the ball would, in true fluke fashion, just tip over the net), and because I really did not want to lose to a player with no backhand, I lost to a player with no backhand.
So here's everything that is wrong with my tennis, then. I get into my own head. I am my own worst enemy. I tried to tell myself to calm down, to play the ball and not the opponent, to mentally hang in there; but I was just so incredibly frustrated today. Needless to say, the moment I allowed my frustration to get to me - manifest, clearly, in my yelling to myself, things like 'hit the ball over the net!'; I even said 'fuck' at one point, which is super embarrassing - the wheels came off and my game derailed. Kept making errors; couldn't time my shots; couldn't handle her angles as I couldn't get to the ball in time; started to get more anxious and hence rushing my shots; wanting to break back really badly when she served at 5-4, but dumping returns into the net. Where was the clean hitting of the first three games? Where were my winners? I played with no gameplan. I was just hitting the ball blindly, desperately, hitting it back to her, not opening up the court, hoping for an error but of course, the errors mainly came from my racquet.
I hate losing to players without my technical ability. I am not saying that my strokes are technically perfect, but they are technically sound. Why do I keep losing to people with no topspin, no proper strokes, no proper serve? How do I stay calm when I suddenly find myself losing from a winning position, or alternatively, channel the frustration into some positive energy and really start playing my game?
This was one of my worst losses. I think it was even worse than losing 6-0, 6-0 to a grandpa. It did not help either that I slept only four hours for some weird reason, and it must have affected my fitness because I was breathing very heavily throughout, which isn't the case usually. The upside is, I hung around after the match and practised some serves; for once, I was not totally pissed off at my serving. Then I practised groundies against the wall; a while later, this guy came up to me and asked if I wanted to hit some balls while he waited for his mini league match opponent.
Those last few minutes of hitting with this guy single-handedly rescued my tennis morning. It'd been so long since I last hit with someone with proper strokes, and it felt really good to play with someone who not only matches me, but is better than me. It was a really good workout. I struggled with timing on both wings, but I think it was good overall.
I have to study for my French exam. It should come as no surprise that, apart from preparing my 2-minute oral presentation, I have done absolutely fuck-all. Good luck to me. I don't know how I'm gonna fluke a 90% and over.