The final tournament of the year had arrived, this whole time since May 1st had been Olympic qualification and I was making my attempt for the 2016 Olympic qualification representing Trinidad and Tobago. The downside is that I had some very tough tournaments which didn’t allow me to progress far in the draw and acquire points, but also had a few good ones to.
The last one of 2016 and my 10th international for the year, 11th if you include Trinidad nationals, had come around. I had been traveling every month of the year at this point and while this is the most that I have played in 1 year it doesn’t come close to some of the other players on tour who played anywhere from 15 to 30 tournaments. Regardless I was pumped and once again would have a European first round, this time it was my friend Jan Frolic from Czech Republic, somebody who I have traveled with on tour before and become friends with. Also I would be playing doubles with Kevin Barkman of Canada who shared with us the week prior in Orlando and was pretty cool to room with.
Arriving into LAX wasn’t anything new as I have done it all too many times over the years, we were greeted by the tournament representative and then that’s when everything went to hell. It took 2 hours for the transportation to be arranged to take me and one of the umpires (Ashley who’s also from Calgary) to the hotel and then the drive itself took almost an hour and a half. So already we were off to a great start and I wasn’t able to get any practice in that day at the venue, the good thing was there was still the following day and I was in the main draw for singles. It was just doubles that Kevin and I had to play in the qualification against an Australian pair. After some practice I was feeling good and OCBC is a place that I have played at lots over the years (at least 5+ internationals there). The day went smoothly and the weather was nice and sunny/hot a pleasant change from the snow and cold in Calgary.
Tournament day rolled around and we had doubles qualification in the morning, Kevin also had to qualify for the men’s singles so we would be there for a little bit. We played our doubles match and it was a lot tougher than we were expecting it to be, for our first time playing together though it wasn’t too bad. We unfortunately lost that one but didn’t get slaughtered so that was a good thing so it was now onto singles. Kevin won his qualification match so that meant that he would play that same night in the main draw with me, both of our matches would be amongst the last of the night and we were both playing Europeans.
Game time came and we went to the venue to watch some matched before our turn to take to the courts. Jan wasn’t feeling the best that day but I wasn’t able to exploit it, I was too rushed in my play and didn’t stay patient. I forced too many shots leading to many unforced errors something that I would have to learn the hard way wasn’t the right way to play. In the end I got beat…bad but it was my own doing I was trying to play a style that would not work against the Czech giant and I wasn’t able to change it or was to stubborn to change it mid match. Just like that in one day the tournament had come to an end. After such success from the Suriname international to some rather disappointing first round losses at these tournaments it wasn’t the way in envisioned the year finishing off. But that was that and the tournament had come to an end for me, the last tournament of 2015 my jam packed year.
Overall I was decently happy through the year with my performance and couldn’t be happier about all the traveling that I was able to do. I had just 2 more days in LA as I didn’t want to spend too much time and money there and stay long. I have been to LA so many times before and this tournament is more technically in Orange County not LA itself so there is only so much to see without going up to the city. So the plan was to watch a few matches the following day and train a little with Kevin, we also ended up watching the last part of the hunger games at the movie cinema…it was a horrible ending to the series.
Just like that the trip was done and it was finally time to board the last plane for the last flight of 2015, such a huge year it was for me from national titles to Pan American Games and the most tournaments I’ve played in a year yet. Time to enjoy Christmas and take a slight break for the holidays then get back on court to prepare for 2016 and see what the year would bring.
|Last lounge visit for 2015|