Show me a sign

Four weeks ago I was sitting in my hotel room in Korea after an early loss wondering if I still wanted to continue playing tennis. I was down and out. Actually almost ready to leave. But friends and family encouraged me to stick it out for the rest of the trip. I built up some momentum and confidence in week 2 with some good wins. Week 3 had some tough early competition and although I played competitively it wasn’t enough to advance. I would be tested yet again after week 3. Contemplating once again whether or not I should play the final week. The more I thought about it though, it didn’t make sense for me not to play the last week. I had traveled thousands of miles away with the intention of playing four tournaments and giving myself every opportunity to do well.  It was also a chance for me to see a different part of Japan.

Arriving two days before the qualifying draw in Toyota I was four spots away from gaining direct entry because many players were withdrawing (end of the year fatigue). The day before I was one spot away from direct entry, but the qualifying draw had already been made. I was scheduled to play my qualifying match Saturday morning. The night before I was informed by the tournament that there might be one more spot for direct entry, but I had to wait until the withdraw deadline closed Eastern time which meant I would get an answer early in the morning. I had trouble sleeping that night, wondering if I would gain direct entry. I checked my email at every hour. Finally! at 2 in the morning I got an email saying I didn’t need to play in the qualifying draw. I drew a Wildcard for my first round opponent. Not to say that they are easy opponents, but it was definitely better than playing the number 1 seed. After winning my first round, my next round was going to be a Japanese player who made the finals last year and who was one of the higher ranked players I’ve faced so far in my career. Going in I knew this would be a defining moment in my career. I desperately wanted to win just because I knew I didn’t get many opportunities like this, but also knew that my opponent had more pressure to live up to his expectations from the year before.

I started the match fairly well with a few errors and that was enough to lose the first set. And to be honest I’m not sure what happened the last two sets, but I felt focused and locked in like never before. The rest of the match was toe to toe. I ended up serving for the match at 5-4 in the decisive set. On the final change over I started thinking about all the times I lost and won a match when serving for the match. All these emotions and thoughts came flooding in. When “TIME” was called, I said something to myself that I will never forget. “Win or lose these moments of uncertainty are what we live for. Get excited!” For the first time I could ever remember, I was excited to serve out the match. My opponent played me tough in that last game, but I managed to muster up four points. After winning that last point I can honestly say that the feelings and emotions I had were overwhelming. I had come so far from week 1. I always knew I could compete at the top level, but I needed that top win that would make me believe!

It was a great win, but I knew that there was still much more work to be done. I was going to be tested with another tough opponent. I fought well in the match, losing a close three set match. It was disappointing to lose the match especially being only a few points away from winning the match. As much as the loss still hurts I couldn’t have asked for a better finish. I desperately needed a spark in my tennis game; I needed a sign to continue this journey.

Who would have thought…

I have made my way back to Tokyo, writing this entry at a coffee shop.

Photo on 11-23-13 at 5.48 PM

I will be leaving for Hong Kong on Monday for one final stop on this trip. Playing a money tournament to end the trip. Hoping to make back all the money I spent during this trip 😉 $$$$

See you in Hong Kong!

JJ

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5 thoughts on “Show me a sign

  1. Awesome entry Jason, good to see you persevering like you did to win that futures here in Godfrey. You got some mental toughness man, keep going! You can get there. This is one of my favorite quotes:

    Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
    – Coolidge

  2. Keep it up Jason! We are all proud of you just keep having fun 😀 because you are traveling all over the world doing what you love. It’s something that you will look back and always remember. Keep blogging it’s awesome reading about your tennis adventures

  3. Great job JJ…..you are making really good progress, even if you hadn’t finished on a strong tournament. But it was certainly a great way to finish. Keep plugging along! Good luck in Hong Kong, and tell Brian I said hello. Let’s talk when you get back. By the way, awesome job with your blog. You do a terrific job with that!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Go Blue!

  4. Pingback: The W.A.T.C.H. List: Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs This Week (And How They Got There) | Challenger Tennis

  5. Keep fighting out there Jason!! Fun to see your success.

    Tj

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