From the Minors: Amrit Narasimhan
Oct. 6, 2010
Dear Tiger Fans,
Greetings! I hope everybody is having a wonderful fall season. It has been a while since my last blog and a lot has happened since then!
After spending most of the summer training, I decided that it was time to get back to tournaments and grind out the rest of the year. I decided to head to Toronto, Canada for two 15K tournaments. It was a risky move on my part, as I hadn't signed up for the tourneys but I decided to go ahead! I traveled with 2 co-players- Chris Welte (NC State) & Peter Aarts (Michigan).
Week 1 was held at the Rexall Center on the beautiful campus of York University. Rexall Center is also home to the Rogers Masters, which attracts the top 50 players in the world! The really cool thing about being there was that the Davis Cup tie between Toronto & Dominican Republic was taking place. We got to watch a little of that, and I got to watch doubles legend Daniel Nestor make volleying look so easy! I also ran into Fred Neimeyer, a former top 100 player and a very close friend of Memphis Head Coach Paul Goebel. I felt great and was doing well and was up 4-1 in the final round of qualifying when I stepped awkwardly into a shot and ended up pulling my lateral calf muscle. At first the medical trainer thought it was my knee, but I was relieved that it was my calf! I tried to play the match on one leg, and after losing 5 straight games, I decided to pull out of the match. It was very frustrating to go down when I was dominating that match, but on the bright side, nothing worse happened! I spent the rest of the week (Monday-Friday) in the training room under the supervision of Trainer Marlene Obrega. Marlene works for Tennis Canada and is also the trainer for the Rogers Masters and has worked on Roger and Rafa and other top players! She was instrumental in me getting back on the feet after four days. Her treatments included deep tissue rubs & acupuncture. I am very grateful to her for her time and help. Cheers Marlene!!
After not practicing for the entire week, I decided to go ahead and take a chance playing week 2. Tennis Canada granted me a wild card into the qualifying draw in the last minute and I owe them too! I had to battle through my first round, and it was an awkward feeling with the heavy taping and the lack of explosion in my leg. Marlene was concerned with me playing on a pulled muscle five days after it happened. I won round 1 in 3 sets, had a fairly routine 2nd round and played a pretty good match in the final round qualies against a Hungarian, making it to the main draw. In the main draw, I drew former Washington player Daniel Chu. It was a tough match-up for me, as Daniel is a big lefty serve-volley player, and not having explosion in my leg doesn't make it easy to play a quick pressure game-style like Daniels. After 3 hrs 20mins on court, I ended up victorious with a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory. My initial reaction was just that of relief because I just pushed myself and fought through that match to pick up the win. I hit some of the best returns in the third set and the highlight was my 85mph forehand winner in the final game! It was also a lot of fun because my fellow American players were cheering me on and kept supporting me. The win put me in the final 16 of the tournament and also got me first ATP points!
In the next round, I played an Aussie, and after 3 games into the match, I knew that my leg was dead and it was going to be a quick exit. Playing five matches in five days (including doubles) on a pulled muscle is tough, and it certainly took everything out of my leg. I took positive notes from the 2 weeks in Canada. The first ATP point is so huge because it now allows me to sign up for most tournaments and get in to the draws. It also will enable me to sign up for Challenger level tourneys based on the cut.
Toronto is a wonderful city, but the prices in Toronto are ridiculously high! I spent $7.65 for 2 Gatorades at a gas station. When told that it cost that much, my immediate reaction was `you have gotta be kidding me man'. Even a dish of pasta at Perkins was $18....daylight robbery! One of my friends lives in Downtown Toronto and since he was leaving country on work, he was nice enough to give me the keys to his condo on the 18th floor of a 40 story high-rise! It was convenient as we had a gym, pool, steam room and hot tub in the building and we were also able to cook our meals at home! Chris and Peter are some of the biggest goofballs you can ever come across. Chris is in a fantasy football money league and all we heard for 2 weeks was `Phillip Rivers-Antonio Gates show babyyy'. Towards the second week, Peter and I just ignored him and went about our things. But it was great traveling with them, and they were a lot of fun and we shared a lot of good times! We were at the famous Hazelton hotel in Yorksville-Downtown Toronto, and Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Robinson Canoe & C.C. Sabathia walked in and took a table near ours. It was the night they clinched the playoff spot. We got to meet them, so that was pretty cool! I would like to thank Mr. Reddy & Mr. Bharadwaj of Infodat Inc. for their financial support and their encouragement towards me pursuing my goals as a professional tennis player. As I had mentioned before, I picked up my first ATP points last week in Canada, and I would like to thank my family for their never-ending support and encouragement towards my tennis. A warm thanks to Lee Walker for working with me this summer and in helping me gain confidence on the tennis court! And I gotta thank former Tiger teammate Jorge Vazquez and my high school teammate Justin Levine for their excitement and encouragement towards my tennis!
I got back home to Houston late Saturday night and will be heading to Austin on Thursday to compete in another 15K Futures, and then to Mansfield/Dallas to compete in another 15K tourney. After Mansfield, I am unsure of my schedule for now. I am looking at tournaments in Mexico, Thailand or Australia and will know about the final location in the coming weeks. My journey has just begun and I have a long way to go in reaching my goals. If y'all would like to contact me, please do so at email@example.com.
LET'S GO TIGERS!!