I describe myself as a nomad tennis addict. Nomad since I don't have a permanent residence LOL. I started tennis on July 2017 and used to play right hand (double hand on the backhand). I got the hang of the sport when I noticed improvement in just few months through self-learning. There is a tennis court where I reside near my work but there are very few players. So I sometimes went to the nearest city, Balanga City, to play with other players for me to gauge my skills.
In 2018, I decided that I will try to compete for club level tournaments so I can further improve. However, I got myself injured in February, 7 months since I started tennis, during an ultimate frisbee game. My right elbow was stressed in an awkward landing after I tried to dive towards the disc causing a slight fracture. It was treated with metal support. I got me depressed because I can no longer play tennis and that my plans to join tournaments was deferred. Sad.
But it didn't stop me to still play tennis. Just a month after the operation, still with my forearm and elbow casted, I started to try walling using my left hand in mid-March 2018. It was very difficult at first since it is not my dominant hand. I was persistent to relearn everything from scratch believing that if my right hand was able to learn and play in just few months, I guess my left should too. I did walling just trying to get the feel of the ball. No running strokes yet since when I run, I felt the metal and heaviness of the cast in my righ elbow LOL.
Just few months I was able to rally short paced balls. Backhand was very challenging but I have no choice but to learn single-hand backhand on my left. Furthermore, I decided to go to Manila every weekends starting mid-May 2018 to play with other players as well. I was able to meet a lot of beginners first since we shared the same level and slowly I challenged myself to play with intermediate players.
On August, I decided to join one of the biggest club level tournament, Manila Open 2018, spearheaded by Titans Resurgram. I was just in my 5th month of tennis playing using my left. I just joined because it was my dream to really experience a tournament. I registered in doubles C and lost my first round match. We moved to losers bracket and won our first match but falling on the semis of losers bracket. This was then the turning point of my tennis addiction. After the tournament, I competed more tournaments thereafter, enrolled a group tennis training, joined various tennis groups, trained myself harder alone on weekdays, play lots of games on weekends, met a lot of players who eventually in one way or another helped me to improve.
Since left hand is not my dominant hand, it was susceptible to pain and injuries. I was probably hasty to improve that I was forcing my learning too fast but compromising the condition of my hand. There were weeks that I can't play because of pain in my shoulder, my arm, elbow, forearm. I tried to practice again at minimal effort but the pain was still there. Until I saw one possible solution for me to play tennis again. I trained myself using double-hand both in my forehand and backhand starting November inspired from Hsieh Su-Wei of WTA from Taiwan. This time my right elbow can bear to swing at backhand but with minimal power only so it was easy for me to hit the balls now. After I taught myself with this kind of technique, my balls got more consistent and my forehand (left) plays with better pace and power. I learned as well that French Fabrice Santoro of ATP, who peaked at world no. 17, also uses two-handed strokes both forehand and backhand.
Since then, I played on my practice matches and on tournaments with that technique though sometimes uses single hand forehand when the ball can be easily be put away. So far, I have two 2nd runner-up titles both came in a team tennis tournaments and both team tournaments were Game Of Thrones inspired. It was Saturday Tennis Group Philippines (STGP) who organized my first ever team tournament under House Lannister. The second was organized by a bigger group, Tennis Friends Philippines (TFP). I played under House Tyrell and I was honored to receive the "Rookie of the Tournament" award.
Now I am in my one year and two weeks of playing tennis since I switched to left play and I am still excited what more I can achieve.
Written on April 3, 2019.
P.S. I am willing to play with anyone. Please feel free to send message me here or through instagram @kidligayatennis . Let's be connected!