Athlete Stories
Round Robin Episode 7: First Matches!

The weeks are flying by here in Austin, Texas, and the weather is finally becoming a bit more bearable. It has been hot here for weeks, and back at home in the Netherlands, nobody is used to constant 40 degree Celsius temperatures, but I have been slowly adapting to it. We had our first fall tournament a couple of weeks ago, and it was a very good one for the team. For only having practiced for two weeks together in the new team setting, we did quite well. It was an individual tournament and most players were very successful in their draws!

It looks like I am playing number 2 on the team, at least that is what I have been playing this fall. Therefore I was playing draw B, against all of the other number 2’s in the conference. I started off rusty, but had a fairly easy first round, beating my opponent 6-0 6-2. That same day, I played my semi-final and physically, I could definitely feel that I had not played a match in a while. I went into the tournament with a shoulder injury, simply from not having played enough in the past months, but was able to play anyways. The semi-final went well even though my opponent tested me in the second set, making me save around 10 set points at 5-6 (not exaggerating here) and eventually I beat him in a tiebreak. The final was the next day, and I played a guy that had the exact same game style as me. Big serve, big forehand, so it was a battle of mostly short rallies. I was able to pull off the win and win my first college tournament, playing for Concordia! Doubles was a different story, as my partner Josh and I lost in the semi-finals, not playing our best. However, it was a great weekend as many other guys won their draw as well, definitely leaving an impression as a team!

At our first tournament 

After the first tournament we had a good 2 weeks to prepare for the ITA Regionals. This tournament was important to me, because I really wanted to prove to myself that I can still push myself to a high level of tennis, but mostly because, no matter what happened, this was my last regionals ever. However, it did not quite turn out the way I planned.. I had a rough first round where I could not find my game, so I was grinding through my match. I ended up winning the match 11-9 in the third set tie-breaker. Even though I won, I did not leave the court in a good mood. Halfway through the match, the guy wrong-footed me and I slipped, causing me to go into a half split, and if you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that my hips cannot do that after my two surgeries. I struggled to walk, but decided to play my second match anyway. I ended up playing decent that match and I feel like I did the best I could, but unfortunately, in that state, it wasn’t enough. On top of that, later that day, we had a very sloppy and disappointing loss in doubles, which ended my last regionals for me.

This weekend was a tough pill to swallow for me, and I was upset that my hips were bothering me and kept me from playing the way I wanted. However, I realize that the year isn’t over, and regardless of my hips, I want to make the most out of it tennis wise.

College tennis Texas

Shoulder treatment…. Fun times

On the other hand, besides tennis, my time here has been pretty great. Out of the three schools I have attended (yeah I know that’s a lot), I definitely feel comfortable here and most importantly, I feel at home. Now that tennis season is over, I want to focus on school, kinda, and on enjoying my time here. There are some amazing things to do in Austin, and I already got to visit some cool places. We went to a natural sort of pool in the center of the city called Barton Springs and it was incredibly pretty and nice! I hope to spend the next weeks doing some more fun things while we have the time. The upcoming weekend it looks like me and some teammates are going to ACL (Austin’s biggest music festival), so it should be good!

College Tennis Texas Slamstox

Barton Springs with Austin in the background 

Also, it is starting to be the time to think about what I want to do once I graduate. I have been sorting things out, and it looks like I will be graduating this upcoming spring, which all of a sudden makes it seem very close. As of right now I do want to stay in the States a bit longer, but I have not yet decided for what purpose I want to stay; getting my masters, or trying to find work… So, I am gonna take the next couple of weeks to find opportunities and I’ll slowly try to make a decision on all that!