May 17, 2003
The team woke up at the crack of dawn. A wise coach once told me you should wake up three hours before you play an early match and since we played at 9:00 a.m. that meant waking up at 6:00. Some of the guys met with Toni and Peter, our two trainers, for treatment, heat pads, stretching etc and we left the hotel by 7:30.
Oklahoma State arrived just before us and we evenly divided the courts for warm-up. The scouting report on the Cowboys is that they have a young team and lost to #2 Baylor in the Big 12 conference finals. The team took its time in running, stretching and other pre-match rituals and began hitting around 8:15. We did our usual doubles drills ten minutes before the match and play began promptly at 9:00 a.m. Doubles #3 started off very slow losing the first four games in 15 minutes but then pulled it together to win 8-5. Doubles on the first two courts were very close with breaks on both sides of the court. Marcin and Rodrigo ended up breaking and holding serve in the very end to win their pro set 8-6.
I could not have asked for a better start in singles as we went up a break or two in every match. Marcin was the first to finish as he continued to play great tennis. Erfan and Chris Lam followed quickly with convincing wins at the #4 and #5 positions. Lassi was points away from closing out his match and Tobias was up a 6-3, 4-5 (on serve) in his match. Rodrigo had a great start winning the first set, cramped in the second but was winning in the third set when play was suspended.
Chris and I went to the press room afterwards for the brief post-game press conference. All the guys then went over to the Georgia basketball arena for ice baths and treatment. That really helps athletes recover after competition. Several of our Bruin Racqueteers and tennis fans made their usual trip out to Athens, Georgia to support us during our quest for the Championships and they were there today. The team and I make it a point to thank them for their unconditional support.
I was very pleased with the team's energy, heart and play today and we came out with a lot of fire. One nice thing about the morning match was we were done by noon with the entire afternoon and evening to relax, recover and prepare for the tomorrow's match against third-seeded Florida. Most of the guys spent the several hours before dinner with either a brief nap or school work.
We met for dinner at 7:30 tonight. Some of the guys and I went to Outback Steakhouse (again) while some chose to have pasta next door at an Italian restaurant. After the nightly meeting around 9:30 p.m. to discuss strategy, game plan and schedule for tomorrow, we called it a night.
Signing off from Athens,