This week brought to Sashka a lot of new experiences: gradually she becomes familiar with the best European junior tennis tournaments (outside Grand Slams, of course). One of such events is ITF Juniors Grade 1 tournament in Offenbach, Germany – a 25-years tradition tourney with a lot of future tennis stars earning their ITF Juniors points & titles here.
In the day of qualification matches sign-in, players, coaches & parents watched the Women’s Roland Garros final on the big screen TV at the lobby of the host tennis club. The portrait of that match hero, Jelena Ostapenko, was on the stand dedicated to the tournament history: in 2012 she played quarterfinal singles & final doubles here in Offenbach! Nearby we also found teenage photos of Pablo Carreno Busta, Ana Konjuh and many others.
Please find below our report on Sashka’s travel to Offenbach (which is still in progress!)
We are going home from Bavaria region of Germany, with disappointing results and a long to-do list. Now it is obvious that Sashka’s current ranking position is “ahead of herself”. Two first-round losses are deserved; it is just a confirmation of a big miracle she made in the middle of 2016 jumping to 300-400th positions in ITF Juniors race. Her REAL junior ranking is probably around 1000th. It was NOT a bad luck or wrong day – both in Hamburg and Cadolzburg Sashka lost because her quality & mental stance was not enough to win.
Well, now we have a whole month to practice before the next tournament (in the end of March). Let’s see what will be changed till then.
What a day! What matches Sashka has played & won!
…Hmmm, well, actually there are a lot of things for the team (not for Sashka – she is definitely a hero of the day!) NOT to be proud of.
First of well, her fitness & conditioning is a “trouble zone”. She has at least 5-7 kg overweight. She lacks “continouos power”. Her diet is still unregulated.
Please do not advice us to “find a good nutritionist”. We anyway do not have extra money for that :). But some books or tutorials will be greatly welcomed – we are doing this stuff by ourselves now (me & Sashka), reading, learning & implementing.
But you know what? With all these conditioning problems, Sashka has NOT lost any 3-sets match in this season (she played 3 of them to date).
Sashka is in Hamburg, she won her first quali match today, and we now have a short rest before scheduled walking to downtown to see some interesting places of Hamburg. Courts are completely full today (10 rounds should be played – I think, it will last till the midnight!), but we want to make some “refreshing” conditioning in the evening. Read below what else interesting we had for these 2 days.
There are quite a lot of routine tennis things happened since my previous post. We spent hours on the court daily, working on what we can improve fast, both technically & tactically. We still can’t forecast where is Sashka’s “honest” place in ITF Juniors ranking (#379 now) whether she is sitting too high or too low at the time. But one thing is quite definite: we have a training process “close to normal” now, so it is time to play tournaments and try to earn some experience & ITF points.
Day # 3 started extremely early – at 5:40 a.m.! The tournament venue had 3 courts only. The matches scheduled to start at 8 a.m., so the only available time for practicing & warming-up is from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m (last half an hour reserved for the first match players). If I say that Sashka is an early bird, it won’t be true. So this wake up was really, really hard to complete. Soon or late, but at 6:30 we sat in the taxi driving us to the venue…
As our first tournament travel in 2017 is going on, we keep blogging it day by day. Read how we reach a town “in the middle of nowhere”, why Slovak trains are extremely good, and why you need to wake up in 5:30 a.m. to be able to practice.
Yes, it became a reality: Sashka got the chance to play several tournaments again! No idea how long this opportunity stays with us, but for now we have funds to travel to 2-3 events (not remoted too far from Croatia). The first one is ITF Juniors Grade 2 in Senec, Slovakia (25 km away from Bratislava). See below our report on the first day of the travel.
This is where Sashka is going to play next month. There is still a window for big surprise: if a private sponsor comes till Dec. 20, we will change everything for Latin America. But a probability of such an outcome is low. So we opt for more realistic schedule.
Sashka will take part in ITF Grade 4 tournament which starts today in Zagreb. This is the last ITF tournament on the whole Balkans this season, so it attracts some powerful regional players. Please find below a short overview of a girl’s draw.