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 just last month. 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. This week, she is competing at the Dow Corning Classic in Midland, Mich.
Friday, Feb. 13, 2009
Well, sadly, this will be my last blog here in Midland; however, I will continue my blog next week in Memphis! I've been here exactly one week, and the time really went by quickly. Maybe it was because the first couple of days I was still pretty sick, so my head was disoriented, but I'm sure it's because I had a great time! :)
So I was going to try to go tubing, but unfortunately, the tubing hill isn't open on Fridays. And then I was going to try shooting with Dave's bow and arrow, but I couldn't pull the bowstring back! Apparently it's about 60 lbs. to pull with one arm, and um, I guess I can only pull... 30? I have no idea; however, I do know that I am weak! For fitness I haven't really done any weights, just a lot of running (my favorite... NOT) and elastics (thera-band type) exercises.
Actually, I had a conversation with Lauren (Albanese) the other day, when she complimented my outfit, saying that she really liked my skirt and how I had it high-waisted. I told her that I only did that because the skirt was too tight, and if I put the skirt under the top, then I looked fat! She thinks I'm nuts. OK, I'm sure she thinks the same way, actually!
If you think that female professional tennis players are different: cool, classy, confident -- well, you're right -- about me. Haha, just kidding! We are just like any other 20-year-old girl (well, for me, since I am 20) -- gossiping, concerned about our looks, our weight, boyfriends, etc. So, sorry to break your pristine image of your idols!
I have to admit, I had no clue what kind of person I was or wanted to be until well, last year. In tennis, sometimes you can get into this bubble, where you only see the tennis world, and it makes your vision very narrow. Sometimes it's good to take a step back -- maybe go home and experience a different world. It definitely helps me to stay grounded. (My sisters will disagree) I am still trying to figure out how I can define tennis, instead of it defining me. I always disliked being known as the "tennis player" because I felt that people automatically lumped me into a certain category, without knowing the true me. However, I'm realizing that tennis really is the biggest part of my life now, so I have to just know the limits on how to define myself.
So, sorry for getting off topic again. As you may or may not tell, I get sidetracked easily.
Anyways, I am leaving tonight for Memphis -- another cold, indoor tournament; however, it is a (Sony Ericsson) WTA Tour event. I'm sad to go because I really had a great time here in Midland (maybe not with the chair umpire!!!!), and it was so fun to do new things.
OK, another off-topic thing, but my sister, Ivana, told me to do this personality test (you can do it on Facebook, too, with the "My Personality" application), and where they explain your personality using the Jungian Typology Estimate. I came out as an ISTJ, so I am introverted, sensing, thinking, judging. It's amazing because it really rings true to what I am like. So because of this, I am trying to be less introverted, more intuitive, more feeling and less judging. It is really hard!!!
So the next time you hear from me, I will be in Memphis. My mom has been requesting to come see me (she was so scared her baby was sick!), and although I am getting tempted sometimes (OK, you have to admit, having Mom there is awesome... sometimes), I am not giving in! I need to learn how to live on my own, so I am determined to travel this year (or at least most of it) alone.
Until then, sayonara, my friends!
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
Well, I've gotten to a point where the pain of losing has dulled enough -- well, I think I forcibly removed the memory. However, writing this blog, I'm bringing back the memories, so I must steel my heart against the inevitable sadness. I played my match second after 10 a.m., and I went on around 11:30 a.m.
Basically, (in my mind) what happened was, I played a pretty good first set, she picked up her game a lot in the second and came up ith a lead pretty quickly, I had chances to come back even in the second but at 5-4 got a bit nervous, and she closed it out. The third set was pretty up and down for both of us, but I have to say, I really got frustrated with my chair umpire. It is the first time I ever was affected by the umpire. OK, there have been times when it was match point and they made a really bad call, but nothing I can do. For some reason, I just couldn't control my emotions, so it's something I really have to work on! (Well, since it was the first time that has happened to me, I guess I'll see if I need to work on it or not!)
After my match while I was ranting at the very patient tournament supervisors, they informed me that I had moved into the main draw of next week's tournament in Memphis. (I was the first alternate out of the main draw), so that put a little bit of sunshine in my stormy mood. I was also asked after my match if I could sing "America the Beautiful" before the night session. Coincidentally, Alla was playing first match for the night session, and she was the one who told the tournament that I sang!
So I went back to the house, planning to go back to the site at 6:30 p.m. (I was singing at 7 p.m.), and to make a story more vague to make it less embarrassing, at 6 p.m., I was just about to take a shower, and I hear Heidi, the dog, barking, so I went up to see if she had to go out. However, when I went upstairs, I saw two people at the door. Mind you, I had only a towel on! So I went to the door, and it was the driver and one of the USTA media staff (Steve Pratt, I'm naming you here! haha!), who couldn't get a hold of me by phone (because my phone is always on silent, so I never answer), so he came to see if I could do a radio interview with ESPN Radio. So, I had to rush my shower, dry my hair, choose my clothes, fix my makeup, all within 22 minutes. (A girl shouldn't be rushed, I tell you!)
Anyway, I did my interview while I was in the house (over the phone) -- I have no idea how it went because I was pretty distracted, rushing through my shower and thinking about the singing. I think it was OK, though! So I got to the site and did my singing, which I think went well (I got a lot of compliments, at least!). Then I watched the rest of Alla's match, which I won't mention, which I'm sure she'll appreciate.
So right now I'm actually playing Monopoly with Ahsha and Dave, and it's getting pretty intense! Dave just wants to deal, and Ahsha has... nine properties, two hotels and is looking for money right now. I have the red trio, with five houses total, but only Marvin Gardens outside of that, and $100 in cash. So basically I'm banking on someone landing on my houses. But half of my attention is here, so I'm not too concerned (that will be my excuse if I lose ;D).
So at that, I will bid you all adeiu, and see you tomorrow!
P.S. I hope you guys enjoy reading about my life because I will be here next week, too! ;)
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009
Well, today was a pretty mundane day. I didn't have a match, so I warmed up Alla in the morning and had a practice and then gave myself the rest of the day off! I have been traveling alone recently, and ever since I got my mental direction back, I've been trying really hard to do the right things to help my tennis!
In regards to that, I don't want to get into too much detail, but when I rose up the ranks so quickly three years ago, it took a lot of time for me to settle down and figure out what I wanted from myself and tennis. A lot of things happened in between then and now, but when I stopped playing carelessly (when I first started, I had no expectation) and started worrying about winning, I lost focus. Anyways, I'm working much harder now (I hope!) and things seem to be getting smoother, and I try to have a very relaxed mentality. If I give my best effort, then I can't be disappointed. I've been much happier too. :)
I had planned to have the rest of the day off, but since I get sidetracked easily, basically this is what happened after that. I had planned to leave around 1 p.m. to go back to the house, but I had to see the trainer, get a massage, and watch Alla's match. I was in the trainer's from about 10:30 to 11:30, and just about when she was ready for me (I had to wait for other players), Alla went on, and I also had a massage at noon. So I moved the massage to 12:30, had to skip the trainer (for now), and went to watch Alla's match. It's funny, I think Alla and I are kind of being coaches for one another this week, since we both don't have our coaches here!
By 12:30 p.m., I was on the massage table; 1:30 p.m., I finished watching Alla's (long) match; and 2 p.m., I was at the trainer's. Finally, by 3 p.m., I was finished and got to go home! For some reason, my schedule is always longer than I plan it to be. Probably because I'm so forgetful! Basically I wrote all of that to fill the gap of today, because if I just wrote, "Today I practiced, then went home," it would be boring!
Once I got home, I made myself some spinach and wonton soup and then some beans for dinner. (I can only cook two dishes and vegetables, so that exhausts two thirds of my cooking options right there.) I spent the rest of my time varying between watching anime and "American Idol," and now here I am, writing to you and ready to sleep! As they say, preparation for the match starts the day before! Well, I don't know if they say that, but I say that!
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009
Just saying hi reminds me that I know how to say "hello," "how are you?" "good, and you?" in French and German now. I learned the German from Anna Groenefeld, and my coach is French, so I hear a lot of French nowadays, but all I am willing to learn is those phrases.
It's funny because France holds Roland Garros, my favorite tournament, you know, being raised on the California hard courts! That was sarcasm, by the way. My sister tells me that she can't tell when I'm being sarcastic, because "...you say a lot of crazy things, but sometimes you actually mean it, so I can't tell."
Anyways, back on track. Today I played my first-round match. It was... hard fought... and that's about all I can say. I played Sunitha Rao, and it's my first time playing against her, and I thought she played quite well. I was down, 6-1, 3-0, and I did think she let me back into the match a little bit, so I was kind of lucky, as well. On match point, I hit an on-the-run, stabbing lob -- indoors -- that just missed the roof and hit the ad corner.
Alla came to watch the match, and we sometimes had some conversations while I was playing because I was so bewildered I kind of had to take a step back and stop thinking. I think a lot of matches are going to happen where both players are not playing their best (or one is playing well, one isn't), and at that point, you just have to fight as hard as you can, and maybe fortune will come your way. That's definitely how I felt out there today.
So I have a day off tomorrow, and I will warm Alla up in the morning, get a practice in and have the afternoon off. Hopefully I'll get to do something interesting again tomorrow. I did forget to mention that Sunday I went to church with Dave and Julie, so I did get to do something every day (Saturday: snowman/snow angel, Sunday: church, Monday: shooting). We were trying to go tubing (apparently you sit in a tube and slide down a hill) on Sunday, but my schedule ran too late, and they are not open on weekdays. We also were talking about skiing, which may happen because they are open on weekdays, so maybe that's what I will be doing to "rest" tomorrow!
Monday, Feb. 9, 2009
Hey, everyone, from snowy Michigan!
This is my first time here in Midland, and I am more than pleasantly surprised at what a warm welcome all the players have received and how the community really comes together to support this tournament. This is the first time I have seen so many players staying at host families, and I haven't heard any complaints!
I arrived Friday from Florida, where I am training (though I am still a Cali girl at heart!). The temperature in Florida was so cold compared to Australia, where I had just come from. My warmest clothing was a three-quarters sweater, and I had lost my warm-up pants (which I later in the week found), so I had no long pants. While I was in Florida, I went to Target three times -- the first to buy pants, and the second two times I just went through all the racks trying to find warm clothes. I was even putting clothes on while in Target, I was so cold!
Anyways, when I came, I was a bit sick; I think because of such a temperature change, my immune system had too much of a shock! Each day I've practiced in Midland, however, I seem to be playing better, so hopefully tomorrow, when I play my first match, I can play well enough to win!
I must add that on Saturday morning, the snow was still piled quite high. My previous experience of snow was in Quebec, where it snowed a little bit, but nothing stayed on the ground, so this was my first time seeing snow on the ground. I asked my housing parents, Dave and Julie, if I could make a snow angel and a snowman. I've attached the pictures so you can see them :D
Dave taught me the best way to make a snow angel and how to make a snowman. I must say I was quite proud of my achievements, seeing as it was the first time doing both!
So fast forwarding till today, I had a good practice in the afternoon, and in the evening was the player/sponsor party. I went there with Alla Kudryavtseva (a friend and occasional doubles partner), and afterwards, Alla, Ahsha Rolle (who is staying at the same housing family I am), and I went to the Sportsman's Club with Dave and learned how to shoot! We got to shoot .22 and 9mm pistols. (I'm not sure if that's how I write them!) It was the first time I had ever even touched a gun, and I must say, I was pretty inaccurate with the .22, but not so bad with the 9mm! The kick on the 9mm was very hard, though, so I only shot four rounds.
So I must say that I have been getting in a lot of non-tennis experience in Midland! It's perfect because I love trying new things (even if I'm bad at them), and we have a lot of down time as tennis players, so it's great to pass time.
Looking forward to tomorrow, I play my first-round match, and I hope I've gotten enough practice in and my body is 100 percent healthy! I'll try my best, no matter what, so I hope for the best!