So the day that I was waiting for so impatiently finally came. My first day at Rolex Shanghai Masters 2018.
As I remember I had a decent sleep due to tiring day before at my club (as pretty much every day). Physically I was fine, sort of. However, my mind was as chaotic as it can be, with million thoughts crossing each other in all possible directions, with different velocities and intensities.
Again I try to pull myself together with focusing on positive images in my mind, images of smooth hitting and great confidence and feel on the court. To be honest, this was not easy at all, especially on this first day. The feeling was more like that you are about to take a jump of a cliff and you are not sure if you can jump far enough to make it to the other side! Literally!
I am eating my breakfast, scrambled eggs with some ham and avocado (usually my favorite), but I really can’t taste the food. I can’t enjoy it this time. I only eat so that I know I ate and that I am ready to go. Like filling your car tank with gas. The only difference here is that I am not sure if my car will be able to keep up the speed with all those Lamborghinis and Ferraris on the highway that has no speed limit.
Anyways, we are already on the way to the Masters site, using the popular Shanghai elevated highway with many loopy intersections. Not sure if these roads are more confusing than my thoughts at this moment. Finally we are on the straight, clear way and my mind also takes similar course. I am getting more relaxed, talking to Livia, breathing naturally and having some kind of tunnel vision. I make couple of videos for TENFITMEN vlogs and in an instant driver pulls over and tells us that we arrived. We are here.
We are where? I’ve been to this place few times already in previous years, but feeling was completely different now. Again I try to breathe normally and relax my body as much as I can. However at this moment I start feeling my stomach starts twisting and spinning inside like a washing machine, my guts being more and more tied up and resemble those loopy intersections of elevated highway. I feel that I am about to take the exam of my life. What will it be? Pass or fail?
We are meeting up with the rest of the team, starting to get to know each other and talk, which distracts my thoughts and enables me to relax for few minutes.
It’s nice, sunny day, but the wind feels like it will blow out my hat and then also my hair quickly after that! The trees are almost leaning towards the ground, it seems to me, and I can not help it not to notice it and acknowledge it by sharing it with others. They agree. It will be an ugly day for tennis.
Perfect. My first day at the Masters. They told me, the first hit is crucial, because after that, player will confirm the level of the hitter and other players will have some reference. They told me, “Don’t feel pressure, but just so you know, first hit will probably determine if you will have more hits and with whom”. Thanks! Now I need to face that first hit, with the worst wind I have experienced probably for a very long time here in Shanghai.
We are walking towards our locker-room while the leader explains us how everything will work. We still don’t know our schedule and who we will play. They give us some clothes to try it. Suddenly the guy looks at his phone and says, “Milan, you are playing at 10am with Kukushkin at Grandstand court, get ready!” It’s 9:50am. I have 10 minutes to try clothes, go to bathroom (oh yes, always in the last minute) and do some basic warm up at least. Impossible. Feels like my first hit might become a nightmare! I teleport myself to the bathroom, break all my speed records there and disappear from the halls towards the court faster than Usain Bolt.
More on this coming soon…