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.