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Vania King has had an outstanding career since turning pro in July 2006, winning one WTA Tour singles title and seven doubles titles, including the Brisbane doubles championship in January. A 20-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., King will be writing an exclusive blog for USTA.com throughout the year as she travels to different tournaments around the world. Most recently, she competed as a wild card at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
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Tuesday, March 17
This is my catching up blog -- OK, well, really not much to catch up on, so I guess this is the positive, forward thinking blog! :) I think last time, well, I know last time, I was a bit depressed, so I want this blog to reflect the new (well, old) attitude of Vania! As I put on my Facebook status, "Vania is Happy! Positive! Happy! Positive! Happy! Positive! Happy! Positive!"
I went home on Monday morning but took the weekend off (glorious, glorious days off) and went shopping. Both days. To the same mall. Yes, I am good. I did manage to buy just as much the second day. That just proves what a good shopper I am!
The first day I bought some brightly colored items -- blue and pink jeans, blue, pink, yellow tanks, and pink, red and black belts. I also bought a lot of other things, but I can't remember exactly what they were. I know I do like them, though. The second day, I bought more everyday colors -- black, grey, white, although I bought three more belts in various colors. I seriously didn't start this obsession with colors until I went to Australia and loved their retro funky style. And layers. I've always loved layers, but I never did it with bright colors before. I used to wear belted dresses over tanks or tees and leggings. Something like that. I guess the new look represents the new, happy me!
So, going back to the positive, forward-thinking me. I bought a bracelet cuff with peace signs and hearts, rings that read, "Peace, love and strength," and I also wrote on the inside of my wrist, "Believe." Yes, it is weird to write on yourself, and yes, you do it when you are 10, but when I am feeling down, I write "Believe" on the inside of my wrist, and when I see it, it makes me feel better. Like there is more to life than that bad moment I am experiencing. I think (not trying to sound too preachy) that everything that happens, happens for a reason and that we always learn something good from bad things and times. If you don't, at least you've gotten the experience, and you can help others who are going through it.
So I've taken one of the players, Chuang Chia-jung and her mother -- she's staying at my house, practicing with me, doing fitness with me, eating with me -- all of it under my force. So you see what kind of influence I wield!
We are planning on going to Miami on Friday, and I still haven't sorted out the exact details of where I'm staying, etc., but don't worry, I have Plan A, B and C. That's one thing I am good at (if I can't remember what I did five minutes ago) -- making travel preparations. Even when I was little and we went on trips, I would check the prices of the airplane tickets and car rentals and make reservations.
OK, so back to the present. Yesterday we drove back to Long Beach and practiced a little in the afternoon. Today we practiced two sessions of two hours each, and I am not sure why, but I am really tired! I have a theory that it's because I haven't gotten a massage lately and my muscles are really tight, so when I practice on tight muscles, it makes me that much more tired! Yep, that's my theory.
Well, I guess that's it for now. I'll write more again soon.
Thursday, March 12
Well, I am pretty disappointed, especially since my coach told me that he was disappointed in how I played. So I'm pretty down about that. I lost today pretty badly -- I just felt like I had no timing and no feel during the match. I didn't play as well as I could have at all. I guess there are a variety of reasons I could say why I lost, but I suppose the fact of the matter is that I have to improve! Back to the drawing board, I guess.
I went to dinner with Chris, Alla, Monica (Niculescu) and my mom. The dinner was pretty fun. We went to a Mexican place (Mexican is probably one of my favorites behind Chinese), which was really good. We also took a lot of pictures. :)
I'm going to stay here for at least another day and practice, however after that, I may go home. Practice my relaxation and tai-chi or something!!
Wednesday, March 11
I finally remembered Pandora (a website where you can listen to different stations based on your favorite song/artist), so I finally am listening to a wide variety of music again! I only seem to remember when I am overseas, and it doesn't work overseas. :(
Today I just had doubles third match, first match starting at 11 a.m. We warmed up at 11:30 a.m., but the matches before us went soo long, so we ended up not going on the court until around 4:30 p.m.! Unfortunately, we lost, but I felt like I played pretty well. Actually, reading that doesn't make me feel much better... because I lost but thought I played well! It's OK. Sometimes you just have those days.
After the doubles match, I had the privilege of being tested for doping. NOT! Well, I remember being tested here last year, so it's not a big deal. I was only worried that I wouldn't be able to go enough the first time because you need a certain amount, and there were times I couldn't finish the first time and had to wait another hour or so. It can get really time consuming that way. The doping officer has to accompany you from the time you finish your match until after you are tested. I usually am pretty stressed and ignore the officer, but this time I talked to her a lot, made jokes and did my own thing. It was easier that way! She had to follow me while I jogged around the field, begged Chuang Chia-jung to jog with me, begged her to jog more laps, begged her to stretch with me (as you can see, I am TOTALLY fine with being alone), complained about my match, and plopped down and stared at the sky.
After that, she had to accompany me while I put my stuff in the locker, talked to various players, changed clothes, gave laundry and booked a warmup for tomorrow. As you can see, her time with me was a breeze! It has got to be more interesting this way for her, though!
After successfully completing my test (well, successful means quickly), I headed back to the hotel. My mom bought some pasta for me (my mom is the best! :D), and now I am just relaxing, listening to Coldplay.
I have singles tomorrow, so I will bid you all adeiu until then!
Tuesday, March 10
I'm a bit tired today, so I will keep this one short. There isn't too much to report today, anyway!
All I've got to say is that I can probably open a snack shop with all the food that my mom brought from home! I'm looking around me, and there is dried seaweed, dried mangos, Chinese egg cookies, Chinese seaweed cookies, Chinese powdered cookies, bananas, pork jerky and apple juice. And that's just what I've opened! My mom went home for a bit this afternoon and is coming back now, tonight, and she informed me that she brought my microwave with her. So if I'm desperate for food, I can heat something if my snacks aren't enough.
I practiced early in the morning with Alla at 9 a.m. for an hour (apparently so early that I mistook it for yesterday when talking about it at dinner). We had a good practice, although I must say these courts are certainly very different to Monterrey! I know I've mentioned it before, but I think it warrants another mention.
After that I had lunch, played some ping pong (after losing the first game, I went on to win three games -- it was the good paddle, I think) and was going to attempt to play some soccer but chickened out when I saw all the players on the field. (There is a grassy field where the players run, stretch, do fitness and sometimes band up to play soccer.) I don't know a tennis player who can't play soccer, except me. I'm actually pretty terrible at all sports -- except tennis. Oh, and ping pong, too, if I can beat Alla, haha!
At this time, my mom was taking a "Lavender Dreams" body treatment at the hotel spa, so I didn't want to bother her while she was enjoying herself! After lunch I went back to the hotel to rest.
In the late afternoon I came back at 5 p.m. to practice with Zheng Jie and afterwards did a little jogging and stretching with her. For dinner, Alla, Chris and I went to an Italian place, which was quite busy but quite good. I don't think I should eat too much there because their food is heavy, and if I am to not get fat again, I need to eat healthy. ;)
So, by the way, Brandon, who wrote to me yesterday, was my good luck charm last week. He wrote me on Facebook to wish me luck, and I played well. He'll be pleased to hear it. :) I couldn't resist putting the whole message in there yesterday, though!
And thanks, everyone, for writing, and I'm sorry if I can't get to all of your questions. Sometimes it's difficult to respond when you ask me, "How are you?" and things like that. To Linda, thanks for your message, and I'll keep a lookout for Bill and Barbara. To Joshua, I'm sorry you're bored. Does reading my blog make you less bored or more?? If you are bored, I suggest you play Word Challenge on Facebook. It's my new addiction (one day old). I believe I was in Newport, R.I., for the Maureen Connolly Cup against England when I was maybe 14? I think it's the same place. To Ivana, I try to eat regular Chinese (not fast-food type) food, and usually it is pretty healthy. I try to avoid deep fried in general, and if you can see oil spots on your noodles, maybe it isn't too good for you.
Monday, March 9
I am now in Indian Wells, one of my favorite tournaments of the year. The hotel is amazing, the views are amazing, and the prize money is amazing. :)
I don't feel homesick because I brought my mother along this week! I know I said I was trying to go alone most of the year, but since this tournament is so close to home, I feel obligated to bring some family. I booked a lavender body treatment for her at the spa tomorrow, so don't worry, I keep her busy! The site is so big that I feel kind of like I'm in a Grand Slam, except a more tranquil Grand Slam.
Today was a pretty good day for me -- I think being so close to home makes me very happy. We drove (my mom drove) two hours in the morning to the hotel, and then we headed off to the site for some lunch and a 3 p.m. practice with Zheng Jie. The courts are quite different than Monterrey -- slow and bouncing higher but not skidding through the court. We had a good hour practice, where we hit a lot of balls (I usually just hit a lot of balls the first practice to get used to the court), and afterwards, I went to the gym for a little jog. Because I willingly went there, I must be in a good mood!
Afterwards, I went to the physio and did my annual physical. Every year the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour requires players to complete a physical to make sure we are in tip-top shape. If we are not, we are cut from the tournaments. Haha, just kidding! If we are not, then we are probably prone to getting injuries, which is what they are trying to prevent. I remember last year my physical took four hours, spanning across three days. However, this time, once the hour-long paperwork was filled, it only took about an hour! I was one of their last customers, though.
There is one part of the physical where they test your -- I would say vulnerability -- to getting injured. A perfect score is 21. Last year, I got 14, so I would have gotten a "D," and this year, I got an 18!! I was very proud. I still am terrible at squats, though.
So here I am now, eating Chinese take out (taken out by my mother, whom I asked to get me food, as I was still doing the physicals).
I want to post an email in it's entirety because it's pretty funny.
OMGGGGG IS THIS REALLY VANIA KING!!...i am your biggest fan :P
i was just wondering..(and could you please answer this question on your blog) how it feels to be so good at tennis?
thank you soo much!..you are my hero :P haha
Hahaha! Hey Brandon! Well, it feels pretty good actually. It feels good to know you are making money, and then you can spend that money at the malls! And as the good TSA officer told me when I was explaining how I spent my money abroad, when you buy things, you are putting money back into the economy, therefore, helping us in this recession! It feels pretty good to gossip with your friends (who are also professional tennis players) about the latest clothing, the hot guys and which match you are playing tomorrow! So you see, being a good tennis player is pretty awesome! ;D And thanks for being my fan. You are too cool.
Sunday, March 8
Well, I'm back from my hiatus, although I must say I really enjoyed having some rest. (I do love you guys; it's just that I need some space sometimes.) Last week was a pretty hectic week, and I finally am at home (home, sweet home!!) and loving it.
I had a great run last week in Monterrey, going through the qualifying draw and making it to the quarters in singles and semis of doubles. After each match I won, I was surprised myself! It was pretty difficult conditions, and many days I had to play two matches in one day, so I felt like my energy was being sucked out, day by day. However, I can't complain because I played well!
There was a mall connected to the hotel, so I admit, I did quite a bit of shopping. I am somewhat of a shopaholic. I love clothes, shoes and accessories. I'm not big on purses and hats because I lose things easily (how can you lose your clothes when you are wearing them?), and my head is big. It's funny, but it's true. I don't fit many hats. :(
I ended up buying a Tempur-pedic pillow on Friday, and I wish I had done it sooner! My back finally had no pain in the morning. I had one before, but I left it somewhere (at a hotel most likely). I was also very cross with myself because I left a whole drawer full of clothing (socks, belts, scarves, stockings) in Memphis, and I spent a long time searching (shopping) for them! I loved the bright retro fashion of Australia, so I found belts and stockings in all assortments of colors (blue, pink, purple, yellow, red, black), and now I have to find them all over again! Alla told me that it was good riddance. Little does she know is that I went shopping again today at home, and I found blue and pink stockings -- the beginning of my collection! Haha!! I also found black and pink belts. She will be very pleased to find out that I bought a pair of high-heeled boots. She thinks anything not heeled is not sexy, and anything not sexy is not attractive.
This morning I got up at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight. I ended up getting three hours of sleep because I procrastinated (like always) packing. Basically, packing took 45 minutes of effort but four hours to get done. By the time I got home, I was actually not too bad. I slept quite a lot on the flights (I had to change planes in Houston), and I was upgraded on both flights, so I was quite comfortable. My mom was there to pick me up, and I was SO happy to see her. I missed being home so much! I was gone about five weeks, but I only had three days at home, and I was sick after I left home, and I think being sick and alone makes you even more homesick!
After stuffing my face with Chinese food (Mom's cooking), we went shopping. It was only my sixth day straight of shopping (if you count the five days I went to the mall in Monterrey), but I didn't buy anything yesterday, so that shouldn't count! However, about five or six stores in, I began to get a bit woozy, and I started to have stomach aches because I was so tired. (Sometimes when I don't get enough sleep, I get nauseous). I think I did pretty well for the five or six stores, though. (I was very pleased with the boots, and they were on sale, too!)
A lot of players are looking forward to shopping in Indian Wells because there is a very large outlet mall nearby. However, I prefer having a lot of selection so I can mix and match, and I feel like at an outlet mall, you may get great prices on name brands, but the selection is very limited, and you may get things out of fashion. While I love to shop, I don't really go for the name-brand stuff -- if I do, I couldn't possibly buy all the things I do!
SO... after a HUGE break at home, I get to jump in the car tomorrow and drive to Indian Wells! Yay! OK, I do really like the tournament, so I'm not complaining. And the hotel I am staying at (the Renaissance Esmerelda) is amazing. I've stayed there the last three years. I feel pretty close to home, since it's only about an hour and a half away (maybe two hours with my mom's driving).
So I'm going to bring this to a close because it's almost 10 p.m., and I've been up... I don't even have the brain power to calculate it... too long. I'll answer a question before I go, though.
Andrew asks, "What is your goal for 2009?"
Hi Andrew. I've been setting goals the last couple of years, and it seems like my performance doesn't change at all because of them! However, short term, I would like to make it to the main draw of the Grand Slams for the rest of the year. By the end of 2010, I would like to be back to the top 50. However, I hope that goal can be reached by the end of this year!
Read Vania's past blogs:
Monterrey Open in Monterrey, Mexico
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tenn.
Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.