Wow, it’s been quite a while since I posted about Edward’s professional tennis career. As you know, Edward traveled to Durban, South Africa to play in a series of ITF (International Tennis Federation) Futures tennis tournaments.
I finally was able to get together with Edward for lunch and he told me about his experience; “Well, first and foremost, I absolutely love the people in Durban. Every single person I met was really nice and helpful.” Edward told me. What about the tennis? “The competition was tough, there were some really great players out there. I did qualify for the main draw of the first tournament and I had to face some really hard hitters.” “I played the first couple of matches with ease and found that the courts and balls played really slow, which was not good for my style of play [serve and volley], but I quickly learned that I needed to hang back at the baseline and come to net only when I had an opportunity.” Edward mentioned.
“I was playing really well in the first round of the main [draw], I beat Philip Franken in straights. Believe me, he was not easy to beat. He handled my game with such beauty, it was awesome to watch!” “The second round did not go my way, I lost in straights [sets] to Isaac Frost (ranked 679). I played really bad, like really bad. I should have been able to beat the guy but the conditions were not favoring me that day. I lost and I learned what I needed to do at the next tennis tournament.”
Now, with his performance at this tournament, Edward earned a single ATP point which would give him a ranking the following week.
Edward told me about the second tennis tournament in Durban; “It was at the same place as the first tournament so I had that in my favor, I did qualify pretty easily and again I was in the main draw.”
In the first round, Edward played against up and coming South African Stefan Fortmann, whom he did beat, but Edward somehow strained his hip causing him excruciating pain. “I just felt that something was wrong, I mean, I was ahead in the match so I figured I would continue to play. I beat Stefan, but my hip was really sore, it was difficult to walk.” Did you see a trainer? “Yeah, she told me that I strained my hip really bad and that I should rest it for at least a week. Which I was not going to do. I really want to play tennis and get those ranking points.”
So he plays on. “I faced this guy, Theodoro Angelinos (ranked 682), man he was a good player. With the hip injury, I was really just out there to try my best. I knew I was going to lose, but I wanted to keep fighting, who knows, I could have gotten lucky and not felt pain that day. Unfortunately that was not the case. He beat me easily.” Edward did get another ATP point with his performance at this tournament as well. So that gave him 2 ATP points!
The rankings came out and the ATP ranks Edward at 1339 in the world; making that his career high. Not bad I’d say. So what’s next for Edward? There is another futures tournament he’s going to play in Chico, California on the 11th of June, 2011 (if you live in that area you should check out the tournament and say hi to Edward – ask for his autograph). After that tournament, he’s off to England to play on the grass tennis courts.
I asked Edward how he felt about his experience in South Africa, “I really feel like I know exactly what I need to work on now, this was a test run of sorts, you know to see what my game is like during actual competition. Again, I also really loved Durban, it was an awesome relaxing place to be!”
I’ll continue to keep everybody posted on Edwards progression as he plays more tennis.