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Catherines Blog

21st Deaflympics Taipei 2009

Point

25th August - it is hard to believe that the time has finally come!  A whole years preparation all boils down to this one tournament!! Although I am familiar with the Deaflympics scene as this is my 4th one (so i am a veteran!!!), its probably the most confident i have ever been.  I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Game

In Bangkok til the 31st August for our training camp before the Deaflympics.  It was only once we were there, after one days of training that we really fully appreciated the necessity of pre-training in these conditions.  It was HOT and very humid to say in the least! An idea of exactly how hot it was - my feet were burnt, red raw from the heat from the ground going through the soles of my shoes and 2 pairs of socks!!! An experience! I was quite lucky as i slept for the majority of the flight so i seemed to adapt quite well to the change in time etc.  I had an enjoyable time here and learnt a lot.  We were pushed to our limits and it gave me the belief that there was a lot more in me than i thought.  Lots of matchplay took place which was the perfect preparation for me as it kept up the confidence and belief that i had picked up from the numerous matches and tournaments i played before coming out here.

Taipei here I come!

Set

Finally we were in Taipei, the destination of the Deaflympics - it really sort of hit me once i was here that this is it! My preparation seemed to be paying off well, i was adapting pretty well to the heat, sticking to my routines and having faith in myself as well as trusting my tennis.  I was looking forward to the draw and getting out there on the court!

Match

I was seeded number 3 for the singles and was fairly pleased with my draw until i worked out I was to be drawn up against a lady from Taipei if i were to win my first match, was the number one who i lost to 0-6, 1-6 two years ago.  Still, a challenge for me and i was looking forward to it.  Firstly i was to play a Japanese girl.  I won 6-0, 6-0 and played really confident tennis, the most relaxed i have ever been in a deaf tournament.  Next step was to get ready for my next match against the lady from Taipei, i was looking forward to it and was up for the challenge.  I was a little nervous about playing on centre court as i knew that there would be a big crowd vouching for my opponent obviously and the fact that it was to be televisionised!

 

It wasnt to be my day as i lost 2-6, 3-6 although i put up a real fight and had loads of opportunities.  I was 2-1 up in the first set with chances to go 3-1 up as well as being up in the following game.  The momentum was on my side at the start, i just had to keep it up and wasnt quite able to.  Obviously i was very disappointed but i had the mixed to look forward to and my aim was to try and do better in this event.

 

Anthony and I played our mixed on Centre Court again after my singles, I was comfortable on centre court now after my singles match.  We played a couple from Taipei, after a shaky start and going 4-2 down in the first set we managed to turn it round and win the first set 6-4.  The second set was much better and we won it fairly comfortably 6-2.  We had our semi finals the following day against a Japanese pair who we werent to take lightly.

 

We were on fire in our semis, we had so much energy between us and went on to beat the Japanese pair convincingly 6-1, 6-1.  What a fantastic feeling - my first final at a Deaflympics and knowing that we were guaranteed a match was amazing.

Champions(hip)!

The day of our final had come.  Waking up that morning was rather strange - i didnt really know what to make of it all.  We had a really good training session so was feeling confident and relaxed afterwards.  Just wanted to get on the court and play! I think, in our favour we were secure in the knowledge that whatever the outcome we would get a medal.  Although GOLD would be brilliant and the key for me was not to think about this as such but more so about one point at a time!  We started off well and got the first set 6-4.  In the second set, the heat was starting to affect Anthony so it was a real battle for us both to stay on top of the Italians.  They hadnt lost a match since 1989 so i knew that they would be up for the challenge and wouldnt give the match without a fight.  They came back to take the second set 6-4.  I was determined to give my everything in the third and final set, a whole years work and preparation all down to the last set?!!  Looking back that was was scary yet exciting! - i rose to the challenge, quite possibly the best set i have ever played in my tennis career, certainly considering what was at sake and somehow i managed to stay positive.

GOLD - the ultimate goal and i did it! The best feeling ever! All the hard work, commitments and sacrifices i had made over the year had been worth it. Everything was put second - my relationship, my family/friends and my work.  The end justified the means!!!!

Thank you to all those that worked with me, instilled belief and faith in me and contributed to my success.  The coaches - Roger, Lucie, Rich; The tennis foundation - it would not have been possible without their support, my thanks go to them.  The rest of my teammates who were a joy to be with and very much a part of this journey for the past year.  Also, Ramsbury Tennis Club and all our friends there, the people we coach! Lastly, thanks to the most important people in my life, Lewis, and my family - love you!

Not Just Tennis