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Vania King Blog: Sony Ericsson Open

Vania King in action at the Sony Ericsson Open

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. This week, she is in Miami, competing at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Have a question for Vania?
She will be answering questions from fans in her daily blogs and would love to hear from you. Please keep in mind, however, that due to her busy playing schedule she does not have time to answer all questions.

Monday, March 30

Hey everyone!

So I just got back from the movie, "Knowing," and, well, if I may input my humble opinion, it was DEFINITELY not a movie that I expected and probably won't be going back to see. I went with Alexa and Kevin (her coach) to Coral Gables for dinner and a movie. We initially wanted to watch "I Love You, Man," but for some reason, we messed up the time, so we went to see "Knowing." (Well, I want to blame Kevin, but it was really the only movie available at the time we were there, unless we wanted to wait.)

I thought it was going to be about a guy who can foresee the future, but it was NOTHING like that. It was really weird at the end, too. But it was fun to go out, and I guess you can't always pick movies you like!

OK, so rewind to earlier in the day. I got up around 9 a.m., fiddled on my computer for.... two hours, took a bath (and, of course, got five calls then and none when I was on my computer and free), had some lunch, then went to the site with CJ at 1 p.m. At the site, I picked up my per diem check (at some tournaments they let you pick where you want to stay and just give you a set amount per day), got my prize money receipt, got some lunch, saw the doctor, who looked at my MRI scan again, and chatted with various people.

I was intially planning to get out of there in an hour, but it ended up taking almost five. Yes, my great organizational skills at work again!

The doctor (a different one today) said the same thing -- that it was a bone contusion, or bone bruise. However, he did say that at that spot, it is unlikely for a stress fracture to develop, and rather it is the result of constant pounding. He thought that I developed this pain because the mechanics of my foot are not consistent. I did just start using a pair of orthotics that were refurbished (old ones that were given fresh padding), and I think maybe there was still some wear underneath. I'm not sure, though.

So I have a flight tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., to go back to LA, and I think I will take about a week, see where I am, and then maybe go to Charleston, depending on how I feel. I really, really have to pack, though, so I'm going to end it here!

Cheers everyone!

Sunday, March 29

Hey everyone!

Well, I have some bad news. I went to see the physios today to check my foot because I've been having foot pain the last week. I thought it was normal -- maybe just plantar fasciitis (not sure how to spell it), and wanted to get some treatment. The physio thought I should maybe have the doctor take a look at it, so I agreed since I wasn't planning anything today. I didn't even think it was necessary because the pain wasn't extreme. Anyways, the doctor thought I should have an x-ray, just in case; however, the physio recommended I get an MRI because sometimes the x-ray does not show something is wrong, while the MRI has the 3-dimensional picture.

So I went to the hospital and had both an x-ray and MRI done, and when the doctor took a look at it, the x-ray showed nothing; however, the MRI scan showed that I had a bruising of the bone in my foot with some mild swelling (fluid) surrounding the bruise. He recommended at least two weeks off of tennis and weight-bearing activity.

So... I decided that I will get a second opinion tomorrow, just in case, but if the doctor says the same thing, then I suppose I will have to go home!

Truthfully, what I'm worried most is that I can't run, and, therefore, I will have a tough time staying skinny! Running for me is the best way to stay trim. That is one of my main concerns.

I am still entered into the tournaments in Ponte Vedra and Charleston; however, I may have to pull out of one or both, if I am unable to practice or play.

This is the first time I've actually had a serious injury (had to take more than one week off), so I really need to be careful! I guess I'm lucky that I caught it early before I had a stress fracture, so there is a positive side to this!

Alla and I went to Lincoln Rd. in South Beach in the evening and basically just walked around for a bit. She was trying to convince me to buy a dress from Bebe, but I was too cheap and declined. We picked out some clothes we thought each other would like, and wow, we are way off on the styles!!

So I will keep you guys updated, and maybe my next entry will be from home!! (Gosh, I'm still worrying about how I'm going to stay skinny!)

Cheers :)

Saturday, March 28

Hey everyone!

Well, we lost our doubles :(

I don't have much to say on that, except write more sad faces :( :( :( It's OK, though, because I'm not sad ---- any more. Haha! We lost a pretty close match, but I felt like our energy and our pairing wasn't good. Sometimes, even though you may be friends or like the person, you just don't pair well together, either because of their game style, personality or both.

So on a side note -- sort of random, but since I was talking about sad faces -- I think it's kind of funny how people of different cultures type emotions. Like my Russian friends don't really like to put eyes on their smiley faces, like this )))), and they like to put a lot of smiley faces (well, smiley mouths) in a row, although if you meet them in person, they are very unlikely to smile! (Hahaha!)

Or the way different people "laugh." I say haha, other jaja, or hehe. Sorry, I know, very random, but actually, the multiple-mouth smiley thing used to annoy me, but now I sort of use it a lot. Like if something is really funny, or I want to show that I'm really happy, I will write :)))). It's the same thing with lol. I think some people (GUYS) use it at the wrong times and especially overuse it. That's why, for a long time, I never used lol. I used what I would actually sound -- haha. But lol is so much easier when you are laughing really hard! It's so easy. However, I still must admit, (usually guys) some people use them at the WRONG times, like, "Well, do you like me? lol." or, "Yeah, I hate him too, lol." I mean, if you're going to write something serious, then be serious but don't put an "lol" in there to try to take the sting out of it if you're afraid the person is going to be offended!

OK, I'm not really ranting, I'm more just stating opinion because nowadays, (sadly) if I feel that the conversation is tedious, I'll most likely just leave it.

OK, so I was going to show you guys some pictures I had from home where I was doing (attempting) Tai-chi with my dad, however, they are all on Facebook, so.....(hint hint). Although I must put in that I am very disappointed in the new Facebook layout! You can't keep track of anyone -- except the people who last updated in the last five minutes. All I do now is check the last five minutes and play Mafia Wars and Word Challenge.

There is also a picture of me from the Best party. I was pretty happy that there was a picture taken of me (I had forgotten) because I was only there for a short amount of time; however, I spent awhile doing my hair, makeup, clothes, etc. (you know how it is, girls), and went through a lot of pain wearing those stupid (but sexy) four-inch heels and running through the rain, so I kind of wanted SOME proof for all the effort. I have yet to see any pictures from the player party, but I'm going to find someone.

I was really trying to go to the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, but unfortunately I couldn't bug my friends enough to go; however, a group of us ended up going to the Miami Heat basketball game. Alla and I left after the third quarter -- I expect that the Heat won pretty easily because they were up by at least 20 when we left, and the Bucks were not looking so hot (no pun intended -- or maybe -- if you think it's good, I'll take credit for it).

Before going to the game, Alla and I had dinner at an Italian restaurant overlooking the marina in downtown Miami, so I was pretty happy that we got to do that. That was the first time we actually had spent time together alone in Miami, even though we are staying so close together.

I did grocery shopping yesterday; however, I am checking out tomorrow (and going up to practice at ITA for a few days), so I think I'll have to either give the stuff to Chia-jung (who is staying at the same hotel), or I'll take it up to ITA. I must say it's such a BOTHER to have to cook and clean every day. Ugh, thinking about cleaning irritates me. I'm so lazy that I don't like to get up and get things that aren't in my reach, and to have to scrub the pots and pans and utensils after every meal (because there aren't enough)..... such a pain!

I'm sooo lazy. And so disorganized. Mark said that my room was the worst (in terms of messy) he'd ever seen, but c'mon! He's a guy. Guys can be sooo disgusting. All my stuff is all over, but when I say stuff, I mean CLEAN clothes. I've seen girls worse than me (OK, I can't exactly picture one... oh wait, my sister, haha!), but guys? I think if I had more space then it wouldn't look as bad because the clothes would be more spread out. I think.

OK, so I'm going to end there because it's quite late, and I always end up sleeping really late!

Cheers everyone!

Friday, March 27

Hey everyone!

OK, so we finally have our doubles tomorrow, so I'm pretty excited to finally get to play. Yesterday was a pretty boring day -- so boring that I can't even remember what I did. Oh, OK, I do remember now!

I got up at 11:30 a.m. because I went to sleep so late the night before, and I practiced for two hours at 2 p.m. and an hour at 5 p.m. Cooked myself some dinner, read a book (I finished reading "The Reader" and "The God of Animals"), took a bath with lavender Epsom salts (yes, the first time I've seen that!), and went to bed. Not too shabby, huh?

Reading those books was actually not in the norm for me because, although I LOVE books, I usually don't read regular fiction. Actually, my favorite genre is romance, although since I've read so many, sometimes (only sometimes), does it get a bit generic. My favorite authors are Susan Wiggs, Christina Dodd, Julia Quinn and Teresa Medieros. I also love fantasy (I think romance is basically fantasy because c'mon, what guy REALLY acts like that? And, of course, not all of us can be the pure-hearted, strong-spirited, beautiful heroine!), but not sci-fi. My favorite fantasy authors are Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton and David Eddings.

Today I practiced at 11 a.m. with my doubles partner, Akgul Amanmuradova, and was going to practice again with my coach (we just started this week) in the afternoon, but when we got there, I saw Alexa (Glatch), Raquel (Kops-Jones), Abby (Abigail Spears) and Alexa's coach Kevin playing reflex volley games. I really wanted to join in, so I joined for that (playing with Alexa), and then we played some doubles games and some singles games after. Mark (my coach) did some drills with me, and then we did some agility for fitness.

So that was my second extremely exciting day. However, since I did go to two parties two days in a row, I guess maybe it's not such a bad thing to focus on tennis a bit!

OK, so I was trying to answer this question, but it's a bit difficult for me.

So Jourdan lives near me (in California) and is looking to play professionally but has trouble finding the financial means and is also looking for players to practice with, I gather. I actually didn't quite understand it all, but I think that's what it meant!

So Jourdan, I'm sorry, I won't be of much help. I had trouble finding practice in the area; that's why I started training in Florida. However, when I was in town, I practiced at the USTA Training Center in Carson or at the Jack Kramer Club. With the USTA Center, you kind of have to be a part of the USTA to train there; however, a lot of decent players play at the Kramer Club.

As for the financial support, I actually don't have any, and I think it's really difficult to find these days!! So I'm sorry, I can't help you there!

Cheers everyone!! :)

Thursday, March 26

Hey everyone!

I'm very sorry that I haven't been writing lately. Truthfully, I think I've been a bit silly, and I sort of took a break because I wasn't feeling so great mentally, but writing makes me feel better, so I should have continued writing!

I am in lovely Miami, Fla., and playing in the Sony Ericsson Open. I lost in the last round of qualifying yesterday, but I played pretty well. I felt like I was putting pressure on myself, especially after I did well in Monterrey and because I had points coming off, and I subconsciously was thinking that I had to play well.

In tennis, you can't force yourself to play well or win -- it's a game, and there is no telling what can happen! So I kind of lost my mental rhythm a little bit, so now I'm just trying to take it easy, day by day.

I'm also trying to sort out my coaching situation, so that's been a little red flag in my brain recently, too! Well, everything will eventually sort itself out for the best.

I am staying at an extended-stay hotel, so it has a little kitchenette so I can cook my meals. I'm here alone, and I must say, cooking, well, the cooking is OK, but the cleaning is so difficult! I mean, you basically have to clean every day because I don't have enough utensils to last more than two meals, and you have to scrub the pots immediately or else the leftover sauce and food will harden! (They don't have non-stick pans.)

I'm also a hopeless cook, and I only have eggs, spinach, beans, sausage and ground chuck in my fridge that is cookable. I haven't used the beans at all because spinach is so much faster to cook, and by the time I get my lazy butt off the computer to start cooking, I'm starving!

I did make a "new" (for me) dish today, with ground chuck and spinach. I remember my mom made that for us when we were younger, except we had rice, as well. I'm ashamed to admit that I only know how to cook rice with a rice cooker -- I know you can cook it in a pot, but it just seems like too much work compared to pushing a button on the cooker!

Last night, my agent's company, Best, had a party, so I made a brief stop there (looking very nice, I might add ;D). And tonight was the player's party (both parties were in South Beach), which was AWESOME. My shoes hurt my feet so bad, but I danced almost the whole time. I also had this terrific strapless red dress that actually gave me curves. And Wyclef Jean was there!! It was so cool. We left after Wyclef finished, which was about 11:30 p.m., so I didn't get back to the hotel until about 12 a.m. And now it's a little after 1 a.m., and I'm writing to you! (Dedication, dedication! OK, more like laziness, but whatever ;D)

Tomorrow I get to sleep in (thankfully!), so I'll be soo happy tomorrow. Actually, I'm probably going to be the happiest tonight. :)

We still have doubles to go, but we don't play tomorrow. Oh, and another thing, it's terrible, but I got sick again! The third time this year!! I'm not sure what's going on. I don't think I'm over-training, so maybe I need to start taking my multi-vitamins again! (Remember, I stopped taking them because it was too much effort?--gosh, so embarrassing >>)

OK, so I'll answer a question now, from Bill. He writes:

My 12-year-old daughter is a competitive tennis player. She is Chinese-American, too. She is so intent on super-champing that she gets upset with herself when she misses a shot. When she misses a shot, she says negative things to herself and then plays even worse. She is also a perfectionist. How can I get her to relax and just enjoy the sport?

Hi Bill. Actually, I was exactly the same. Possibly because of our background, we are very disciplined and want to be perfect; however, sometimes we channel it into negativity, which is bad for tennis!

I know it's tough for kids (it was tough for me!) to look at the bright side when they miss a ball, but I would suggest a couple of things to get her to relax. One way would be to remind her after she is negative is that she just made, say, 10 balls and only missed one. So you can turn it into a positive statement. However, going by experience, these statements don't always do the trick.

Another way is to set specific goals during every practice and match. Have her focus on these goals, rather than the outcome of the shot or point/match. For example, I was working on setting my racquet back higher and faster on my forehand, so no matter what, I had to try to do that, no matter if I missed it or mis-timed it. You can have several goals, but usually a few is all we can handle! (Some people can only focus on one thing.) Or you could have her watch every ball, where it lands, and move up to the ball. That way she is focusing every shot.

Another more drastic way is for her to do other activities besides tennis. Maybe if she can take up another sport or learn a new skill, it will take the pressure and her mind off tennis.

Don't worry, this is normal. However, if you can reverse the negativity now, it will really help her as a player and help her happiness, too! I hope this helps!

Cheers everyone!

Read Vania's past blogs:
BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
Monterrey Open in Monterrey, Mexico
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tenn.
Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.

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