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  • Vihaan Reddy

Road to the Excellence Title

“Yes! Let’s go!” I thought in my head after my victory. It was August 2020 and I was playing a 12s Excellence in Willow Glen. Compared to my first match, I had played better in my second match, and this match in the quarters might have been the best so far. Either way, I couldn’t believe I had beaten Joseph Nau 6-1, 6-0, especially since I lost both my prior meetings against him.

The following week I played as I did in previous weeks, going to clinics or hitting with someone. My level was also the same, it didn’t go up or down. However, before my semi-final against Luca Tabidze on Saturday, I was nervous because I played him two weeks ago and I beat him 6-1, 6-2, but some of the games were close, and could have gone either way.

The match began soon and he was serving first. I went up 40-15 but still gave away the game due to plenty of unforced errors. I already started to panic. “Dude, no more unforced errors okay?” I told myself, “Just get the next few games.” I lost the next game on my serve, and I started to really panic. “Dude, what are you doing? You could’ve been up 2-0! It’s fine. Don’t let him go up more,” I said to myself internally. I won the next three games, but they were all pretty close. I lost the next game for it to be 3-3 again due to a lot of unforced errors. I won the next three games again, but still, there were many deuces in the first set. The second set I won easily 6-2.

Now, I was in the final against my friend, Kollin. I also practiced with him a lot in the few months leading up to the Excellence. I practiced again with my dad from 7-9 that night specifically on a few aspects in my game and a few tactical changes. In the morning I practiced with my friend Vidhyuth so that I could hit against a hard-hitter and practice handling the pace and hitting deep. I practiced for about an hour and I stopped at 9.

The match was at 10:45, and I ate breakfast and then went to the site. The match started at 10:45 and I was extremely nervous because of my performance the day before. However, I won the first two games and I was moving well, and hitting well. Then, I lost the next game, but still, my level didn’t go a lot lower. I won the first set 6-3, and I was confident now and I was playing really well. In the second set, I was down most of the time, and it eventually went to a tiebreaker. It was 6-6 all in the tiebreaker, and I was nervous because I knew if he won the tiebreaker, he would most likely win. But, I won the tiebreaker 8-6, and I felt a lot of relief and happiness. I collected my trophy and started preparing for my next tournaments in the next few days.

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