I’ve never written a post before a match, but I had quite the experience in my second round in Ho Chi Minh. Even though it’s October and the world is ready for Fall weather, Southeast Asia likes to stay nice and warm. One of the toughest things at this week’s tournament has been the rain. Since it is so humid here, clouds usually form in the afternoon for an afternoon shower. Sometimes the rain doesn’t last long and sometimes it does. Enough to make courts wet and unplayable for a few hours. My first round was scheduled for Tuesday, but didn’t play until Wednesday because of the rain.
Yesterday, my second round match was probably one of the most difficult match I’ve played that was outside of my control. To set the stage: So the center court at this tournament is pretty nice, the stadium is actually quite old with a lot of old seats and big fans that surround the the stadium. What’s really strange about this center court is that is has a retractable roof. Kind of like Australian Open and Wimbledon where if it rains they can close the roof and resume play. Surprisingly the roof opens and closes quite fast considering how old the stadium is. About the big fans I was talking about, since the stadium doesn’t have air conditioning they use these big fans, but since it is still so hot in Ho Chi Minh and when the roof is closed it seems as if the hot air just keeps circling around the court. Okay now that the stage is set…
Before my match there were huge clouds already starting to form and a few sprinkles here and there. I wasn’t sure what to expect playing on center court since this was going to be my first match on that court. Also since it was getting dark I wasn’t sure how good the lighting was going to be. My opponent and I started warming up and there were little drops of rain, not enough to make the court wet though. And since this is an outdoor tournament the supervisor wants to try his best to play this match with the roof open as much as possible.
Two points into the match, the rain started to fall, making the court slick and not safe to play. So the umpire deciding to close the roof. We waited about a minute for the roof to close and then resumed play. Now we were playing an indoor match. With the lighting a bit different now due to the closed roof and the hot air circling the court I had to adjust quickly. This was now an indoor match. A few games later the rain stopped and the umpire decided to open the roof again. Now the lighting was better and it felt like you could breathe a bit better. But not long after, the rain decided it was not done with us and made the court wet enough for the umpire to close the roof again. Every time the roof closed we had to wait a bit longer because the ball kids needed to dry the court. The roof open and close happened about 3 times yesterday, 3 times too much.
I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with such tough conditions that were outside of my control. It was a constant battle to adjust to lighting and the waiting and the hot hot air. I got frustrated during the match because it was difficult to concentrate. I wasn’t playing as well as I thought I could. But I’m happy I hung in there and just battled. I knew my opponent was going through the same thing I just had to be that much tougher. I’ve been in many situations where outside influences have affected me and I didn’t respond well. I’m happy I stuck with it yesterday and fought hard till the end!
Quarterfinals tonight! Ready for battle!