Guest blogger Amer Delic, former Jacksonville high school player and NCAA tennis champion at Illinois, blogs monthly for JAX Tennis Magazine from his various stops around the world on the ATP circuit.
Wimbledon is over and we are back in the sunny U.S.
AELTC (All England Lawn and Tennis Club) is the Mecca of Tennis. Unbelievable organization, facilities and unmatched tradition are just the few superlatives that are associated with Wimbledon.
This year’s Wimbledon was special for me, because I was playing in the main draw of the singles for the first time. In my first round I prevailed over Lukas Dlouhy in a 4-set match. I was playing some really good tennis and was up two sets to love and at 5-all in the third set I rolled my ankle. Fortunately, my ankles were taped which prevented a major injury, but, still it was enough to slow me down for the next 4-5 games. I was able to get the momentum back and close out the match in the 4th set.
I was hoping to get a day off, but my partner Bobby Reynolds and I were scheduled to play our first-round doubles match the next day. In some way that was a good thing, because it gave me a chance to test out my ankle before playing Novak Djokovic in my second-round singles match. Our opponents, Marcos Baghdatis and Stanislas Wawrinka are not really known for their doubles skills, but they make up for it with their firepower and energy. I have played Marcos twice now in the last three years, and both times on grass. Each of those times, in singles and doubles, I was able to come out on top, but each time it was a battle. However, it is so fun to be on the court with the guy. He brings out the best in everyone around him, including the other players and the fans. No wonder he has all the Cypriots going nuts for him everywhere he plays!
It took us two days to complete our match, because of the rain of course, but Bobby and I were able to get the win. It was one of the most fun matches I was ever a part of in my tennis career. We ended up winning 6-4 in the fourth set, finishing our match at 9:30pm, without any lights, in front of a packed court 3. Crowd was great and I think they appreciated the entertainment that we provided for them, especially refusing to stop the match because of the darkness. However, we were not so lucky in our second-round doubles match…After being down 2 sets to love, we were able to fight back, on the way saving match points, only to be stopped by the referee who called our match because of the darkness. At 3-all in the fifth set, we had at least 45 more minutes of light available for play and we lobbied to continue play, but it was to no avail…Next day, on my birthday, we continued our match, but only got as far as 9-all, 30-all, before stopping due to rain…We had one match point, and a few other break points, but were not able to convert. Sunday was a day off, longtime Wimbledon tradition. On Monday we came back and we were able to finish our match, but we were not able to win. Four days later, we lost 14-12 in the fifth set. Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement went on to win the doubles championships at Wimbledon. I forgot to mention that the previous year, partnering with Jordan Kerr for the first time ever, we played the Bryan brothers in the first round and lost that match 11-9 in the fifth set after a 4-hour struggle. Oh by the way, they also won Wimbledon that year.
In between all that doubles drama, birthday and all the rain, I managed to play my singles match also. Novak Djokovic, the World’s #3 player proved to be little bit too consistent for me and he beat me 7-6 in the fourth set. I had a fair number of opportunities, just wasn’t able to convert them. As many of you saw, he went on to the semis at Wimbledon this year. This year he has been playing extremely well and he will be a force to reckon with in the future.
I am already back in the States, I am in New York City, NY, playing in a charity event. My next stop is The Countrywide Open in Los Angeles. This is the first tournament in the US Open Series and I look forward to playing there since I have never played this event before. I have played USTA Challenger events in the Los Angeles area and both times made it to the finals. I wouldn’t mind making it to the finals of this tourney either and while I am there, might as well take the title. Why not, right?
Following Los Angeles, my next stop is Indianapolis, formerly known as the RCA Championships. Then Washington, DC, week of training, Cincinnati, New Haven and last but not least, US Open. Lots of traveling in the next few weeks, but this is the fun time to do it…
See you at the courts.
This article first appeared in the August issue of JAX Tennis Magazine, Northeast Florida’s Tennis Source, www.jaxtennismagazine.com.
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