How are you doing? First of all, I owe you an apology for not writing in so long. This week I felt like writing again. Maybe it is a sign that I feel more comfortable and it's a beginning of new days.
I really want to thank all of you for your support. I have received a lot of mail from many fans; I read every email. I want you all to know that I am very moved by the emails. You all play a big part in keeping my spirits high.
If I look at my season until this point it is hard for me to put my finger on a specific thing that caused my loss of momentum. I think it can be attributed to various reasons such as the Dubai scandal, my injury, and some unnecessary losses.
I am working very hard, and I am doing very well in practices. Unfortunately, there is still a disconnect between practice and matches for me; I am not consistent.
The most important thing for me is that I know and feel that I am doing the thing I love the most. I know for sure that I will keep working hard and believing, and that things will connect for me soon. I do feel like I am a top 30 level player (at least).
Three weeks ago, I arrived in the USA and found out that I was chosen by American Express to be a part of their campaign for the US Open. American Express also chose Gael Monfils (France), Sam Querrey (USA) and Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark). It is a big honor for me to be part of a campaign like this with such great players. I also feel very fortunate to be a partner of a big and respected company like American Express.
As part of the campaign, last week I had a whole day of shooting. It started with still shots on and off court, and then some video footage on court. They fixed my hair and put on make up. I felt like a tennis model!
In the afternoon, Caroline and I had a one-on-one; we interviewed each other for more than half an hour. We spoke about our families, how we started playing tennis, our private lives, and the pressure professional athletes undergo. We had a very open and sincere conversation, which was a lot of fun.
I had a very fun day!
That's all for now. I will write you again soon.
Hi, how are you? I will begin with a short apology on not having written in so long. What I was able to do was answer your letters, and I would like to thank everyone for your support and encouragement; it is something very important and positive for me.
Okay…So let us sum up the last year quickly.
This was definitely not my best year, and my ranking certainly reveals the level I was at. There is nothing specific that I can point to—in my opinion, it was a result of a number of causes, among them my connection with new coaches, confidence, and of course the level on the court. What I do know is that times like these are a part of my career and all I can do is learn from it, take away lessons, work hard and improve for the following year.
If I am not mistaken, this is the first year in my life from the perspective of tennis (and ranking) that I did not advance and I even went backwards, even though I do not have a doubt that it will only motivate me. How many years have I been playing tennis? Around 15—let us say that I “buy” a year like this once in 15 years.
I am currently writing you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I am here at a training camp for a month towards the 2009 season. This is my first time in South Africa. I think I have already been in more than 40 countries (I really do need to count sometime), and every time it is fun to come to a new place.
This is a very interesting country and it feels like a combination between Australia and the US. The country is pretty, the people are nice and I am very much enjoying myself. But, and this is a big but, we are located in a very large and enclosed small area. It is very much a small gated town within the larger crime-ridden South Africa. I must add that I do not feel any fear because we are protected and we have everything we need inside. It is really too bad that a country so nice is so dangerous. (Does this remind you of any other place?)
I am here with my new coach Pablo and my fitness trainer Muli. We are all working very hard and structured. I am very much enjoying my practices not just in the sense of my typical work on the court, but also from the general atmosphere on and off the court. We are learning about one another and building connections with one another so that we can get the maximum from this training camp and start the year on the right foot.
I will give you a small taste of how a training camp is run—the first two weeks we work in hight conditions in Johannesburg. We focus mainly on body workouts.
I wake up around 7:30, eat something small for breakfast, and prepare for practice. Workout starts at around 8:30, and after that I have tennis practice for two hours. At noon we rest and have lunch. Afternoon I have an additional two-hour workout. I come home every night exhausted. I lie on the couch, watch TV, and surf the internet (I mainly read about what's happening in Israel).
The next two weeks will be in Durban. We will increase the tennis training. In the morning we will continue with the same schedule, but in the afternoon we will add another tennis practice of two hours and just one hour of workout.
My Sundays are my rest and free days, and I have also get massages to relax my muscles on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I will return to Israel in the middle of December. I will be there for around two weeks, during which I will train, participate in the Israel Championship (let’s hope it doesn’t rain), and prepare for the beginning of the year. In January, I already have my first tournament!!!! I am already looking forward to start playing.
I am writing to you from the olympic village. First of all, I would like to express my condolences to the Mendel family. (For those who do not know, the father of Alon Mendel, the Olympic swimmer for Israel, passed away while Alon was already in Beijing). Finding out about the death of Alon's father was a shock to the whole delegation. Tragedies like this put everything else into perspective. We are here for Alon, to support and help him in any way possible.
It is a little hard to return to the routine, but there really is no choice. Our schedules are packed; I have practice twice a day at the tennis courts and I also have physical training everyday. My practices are a little different from usual tournaments since Tzipi Obziler and I are training together for the doubles tournament. In the tournaments during the year I do not specifically train for doubles, however this time we have a big and important goal and we are working very hard during practices.
I have already been in Beijing for almost three days. There was a lot of excitement before the flight; I got goosebumps trying on the Israeli team outfits at home. The flight went really well--I slept almost the entire time, especially because I was given three seats, which helped me sleep very well. Upon my arrival, they invited me to the cockpit to watch the landing, and it was really fun.
Staying in the Olympic village is wonderful. Thousands of athletes walk around the village, with their country uniforms, switching country souvenirs with one another. In my first hour in the village, I met Azarenka, my regular doubles partner. I saw Gassol, and I definitely saw a lot of other athletes that I did not completely recognize. Yesterday I met the Spanish tennis star Robredo and we exchanged souvenirs. Nadal then approached us and asked me for a souvenir and I told him only in exchange for one of his. He apologized and said he did not have anymore with him and promised to bring me a souvenir another day...he better follow through.
One of the biggest topics of conversation here is the weather. I do not feel anything out of the ordinary other than extreme heat and humidity, but I am used to and love climates like this.
The rooms in the village are great, really comfortable and everything I need is in the rooms. I really do not have any complaints about the conditions here.
I will continue to keep you updated whenever I have the opportunity to do so.
I am happy and excited to write to you for the first time from my website. This blog will be my way to update, inform and include you on what is going on with me, especially since I am usually traveling.
You know the excitement you get before the beginning of something new like work, a trip, a new phase? That is exactly the feeling I am having right now. Yes, we are in the middle of the year, but right now I am entering an interesting and exciting time; the period of tournaments on hard courts (my favorite surface), with my new coach (Martin Hromec), in the USA (a place that I love). I really hope it comes out in the level of tennis I play, and in my results.
In addition to all this excitement is of course the opportunity that I have to be a part of the Olympics. It will be my first time participating in the Olympics, and I am sure that it will be a unique experience. Many athletes who have been in the Olympics told me that it is not like anything I have ever known. With the huge amount of athletes from all fields of sports that will be living in one place (the Olympic Village), I am already getting my camera ready to take pictures of all the sports legends I will see and meet there.
My connection to the team and to the large delegation that represents Israel on the biggest stage in the world only intensifies the experience of this competition.
Nothing will make me happier than success in the Olympics. For me, it is always the biggest honor to represent israel, whether it is in my personal competitions, as a part of the Israeli national team (not a word about Czech, please ), or now, as part of the Olympic delegation.
I am also very excited that Tzipi Obziler is joining me and that she too can fulfill her dream of being part of the Israeli Olympic team. Tzipi is an example and a model for me and for every athlete. I am so happy for her and I am honored that we get to share this experience together.
I want to thank everyone for the wonderful support that you have given me in the good times and, more importantly, the not-as-good times. Your support, encouragement and faith help me to continue to work hard and to strive to succeed.
I hope that you enjoy the site and the blog. You are invited to send any questions, requests or comments through "contact us".