The euphoria was, unsurprisingly, a result of my spending the whole morning playing tennis at the club. Despite the annoying, frustrating strong wind, I had a really good session overall. First, I played a mini league match with a woman who hadn't played in three months. She was very rusty; but I could also tell that she wasn't very good regardless of the long break. The warm-up was a festival of errors. The match was also a festival of errors - a shit show of errors, to be more precise. Unlike my previous matches where I threw in a bunch of errors and lost, however, it was my opponent's turn to play the role of Me in this theatre of Who Can Make More Errors and Lose that we sometimes call tennis. I won the match 8-3.
I played like shit, honestly. I couldn't find the timing on my backhand (what else is new?) and annoyingly fluked a lot of shots that just landed over the net after I mishit the ball, which I find unacceptable. I also missed pretty much all my backhand slices. My serve was also worse than usual and it says a lot that the two games that she won were on my serve. I just couldn't time the toss and the swing properly, couldn't get the racquet head to the correct position with the backswing; basically, it was shit.
The bright side is, I am really loving my forehand down the line; it is fast becoming my most accurate shot. The woman I played against on Saturday said that my forehand is quite powerful but my backhand is weak. This really goes to show how much my backhand has deteriorated, and it makes me very sad. It was the whole reason I didn't give up on tennis, and now it is such a liability, like a deadweight dragging me down.
But I can't even say that much about my own performance because I was just feeding off her errors. I held serve so many times, not because I did anything special (I didn't) but because she hit her returns into the net. Thanks for the free points, then. I was glad not to be the one making a million errors for once. Still, it didn't feel that good to win this way; I barely did anything, just got the ball over the net, and made less errors than her. But that's tennis at this level; it's about who makes less errors, and I was just lucky to run into someone who hadn't played in a while.
Anyway, that wasn't the good bit. The good bit came later when I hit some balls with a guy I met last week. Let's call him E. We had a solid 2-hour hitting session. We first started on the clay court because all the other courts were taken and that was not great. We then moved to the synthetic grass. It wasn't my favourite surface but I definitely liked it better than the clay, so it got better. Had some good rallies. Worked on my backhand a bit. It felt okay at one point. But my forehand was the hero, once again. It really feels amazing to hit a forehand when everything is lined up perfectly: perfect ball height, perfect preparation, perfect hitting zone, perfect swing, perfect power, perfect placement. Ah, tennis is wonderful.
While waiting for E to arrive, I went to the pro shop to get my other racquet restrung. I spoke to the woman about the issue that I am having with the racquet that I play with, which was strung in the same pro shop at another location. I told her that I really dislike it because it feels really stiff; like I'm playing with a piece of wood, in her words.
Then she got to the root of the problem: it was strung too tightly, in the higher range of the recommended tension range for my racquet. I finally remembered that I wanted to try out a higher tension to have more control...but clearly it's not working out. I hate how stiff it feels when I hit the ball. Perhaps this can account for why my backhand has been so woefully crappy recently.
Anyway, so that was my morning of tennis-playing. E gave me a ride back to Magdalene and I was riding on this high for the next hour. I got lunch from Fitzbillies; Matt was...friendly-ish. Said hi to me as he came back into the cafe, asked if I won, blah. Meh, whatever.
The afternoon, however, was just a steaming load of crap. I had lunch, showered, and formed the stupid idea of working on my bye fellowship application in Fitzbillies because I didn't feel like going to the library, not least because Barry wasn't around yesterday and I didn't feel like being there by myself.
It was a fucking stupid idea. Sure, I sorted out my CV, but that was hardly the point. I was so tired, I couldn't focus, it got a bit noisy at some point, and not only did I end up having two cups of coffee, I even ate a brownie. I felt so grossed out at myself later that I made myself go to the gym today even though I didn't feel like it at all. I didn't make any progress on the one-page research statement. I was struggling to form sentences; I was struggling so hard that I questioned if I even knew English.
So I was really annoyed after that. In a really bad mood. Felt damn bloody sian. Also questioned the pointlessness of my love life, why I even care. But this is another thought for a private entry.
At least the day - night, rather - ended on a good note. I watched the Indian Wells final between Roger and Stan Wawrinka. The stream wasn't the best, but it was mostly stable...and Roger won! Is he really 35? Is he really human? How did he come back from a 6-month lay-off and not just win two of the three tournaments he's played, but two of the biggest ones so far? What a legend, what an inspiration.
I don't want to do any work today, and I would like to go to the new cafe to read the E M Forster book I'm reading before meeting Stefan at 3, so I'm gonna post this and get on with my day.