My life as a UELSports Tennis Scholar

It was November when I last blogged, so I will start with a belated Happy New Year to everybody! I had an amazing Christmas and New Year – I have a niece (aged 2½) and nephew (aged 5) who live in Italy, and 2013 was the first time I have ever been able to spend Christmas with them. In fact, I enjoyed spending time with them so much so, that after they left my boyfriend and I decided to go and visit them in Italy! So, I have just arrived back from a week at my brother’s house in San Remo. It was great to get away from the miserable weather and nice to have a little break before starting back at Uni. What made my Christmas even more special is that my boyfriend got me a trip to Thailand! (I know!) He’s booked all our flights and hotels and has planned it so that we’ll be on the island of Koh Samui for my birthday in April!

It was a shame that I could not completely relax over Christmas though, as I had to revise for a biomechanics exam in January. As it turned out, I should have made the most of my time off and not bothered revising for it at all, as nothing I revised was actually on the exam… (I am not really looking forward to getting my result through for that one!)

Semester B is just around the corner and for me it can’t come soon enough for two reasons. Firstly, such is the nature of the course I am studying – I simply cannot wait until lectures start again in February. I have found the lectures so interesting and engaging – I am learning to love subject areas that I have never previously enjoyed. Secondly, having 7 weeks off over Christmas (apart from the exam on 6th Jan), made me realise just how much spare time I used to have, and ultimately waste. Being able to work towards a degree whilst still competing in tennis tournaments has put things into perspective for me. It’s a relief to know that consequently I will have options in the future, and not be confined to years of tennis coaching after my professional tennis career. Don’t get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed the odd hours of coaching and hitting I have done in the past, but as a full time job it has never appealed to me.

The first week of 2014 didn’t quite bring the success I had hoped for on the tennis court. I played a tournament in my hometown of Sheffield, a tournament that I won last year. Towards the end of 2013, an old injury in my foot had started to flare up again so I took 3 full weeks off tennis from the start of December, which I hoped would be enough to sort the problem – it wasn’t. I comfortably came through my first match on the Thursday. I won again on Friday morning in the quarter final, but this meant playing the semi final that same day, after only an hour rest. I managed to play the first set (which I lost 7-6) before pulling out – I knew that the longer I stayed in the match, the worse the injury would become. Having had two previous injuries in the same foot, it was not worth the risk. I was so disappointed to have to pull out of the semi final but it was good to get a couple of wins under my belt to start the year.

After another 10 days off, I did some light training and felt good, so I decided to test my foot again by playing a tournament in Stirling. I am happy to report that it resulted in my first tournament win of the year. I have since rested my foot some more and I’ve had a number of X-rays and scans done. I have one final scan booked on 3rd Feb, along with various other tests. I will not be able to compete again until I know exactly what the problem is – at the moment it looks like tendon damage but I will have to wait to get an official diagnosis. As frustrating as it is not being able to compete and train, I’m trying to look on the positive side and see it as an opportunity to put in a few extra hours of studying… although on second thoughts, that does not sound like a positive!

Finally, a special thank you to Dr. Justin Yeoh for really going the extra mile – organising all of my scans and tests, and getting it all sorted so quickly! He has been brilliant and I hugely appreciate it. Hopefully in my next blog, I will have some better news about my injury!



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