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Jurgen Melzer Blogs From Casablanca

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Saturday, April 29, 2006   
 
It was great to win the doubles title today with Julian, especially because we got revenge for our loss to Kohlmann and Waske in the Houston final a couple of weeks ago. In that match we led a set and 4-1 in the second, but let it slip away. You never want to lose two finals in a row to the same team. And Julian used to play with Kohlmann and me with Waske, so there was definitely pride on the line today. And it's always great to win a final, particularly with a good friend.

The final started at 11.30 this morning and we fly out in the early hours tomorrow morning at 1.15 am, so it's going to be a long day and night. To fill in the time we'll probably make it an extra long dinner and then sit at the bar and just chat. We'll have a proper celebration tomorrow night at the players' party in Munich.

I'm flying to Frankfurt and then Vienna, where my coach will pick me up at the airport. I'll spend a few hours at home and pick up some warm clothes before we make the four hour drive to Munich for next week's tournament. I certainly won't be doing the driving after flying through the night!

I'll also get to spend an hour or two with my girlfriend - we'll probably go out to lunch - and I'll be able to give her the two handbags I picked up for her at the bazaar. Julia is a medical technician assistant; she works with blood anaylsis.

I had some positive feedback about the blog this week and emails from people who said they enjoyed reading it. I certainly had a lot of fun doing it. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Take care, JoJo.

PS - Check out my web site: www.juergenmelzer.com


Friday, April 28, 2006  

I finally made it to the bazaar yesterday with my coach Lukas. I bought my DVDs but I didn't ask what language they were in and I've just found out that only one - King Kong - is in English. The others I bought including Basic Instinct 2, Pink Panther and Syriana are in French. I speak some French but not so good that I can understand too much of the movies. So I may try to go back to the bazaar and buy some DVDs in English. Julian didn't go yesterday so that's another reason for me to go a second time.

I also bought two handbags for my girlfriend. In the beginning it's hard to negotiate over price but by the end it's a lot of fun. Lukas and I had a lot of laughs. We still don't know if we got good deals or not. You think it's a good deal and then the next day someone tells you they paid even less. But the prices seemed good at the time.

This morning I spent a lot of time on the internet again. Later in the day Julian and I were very happy to make it through to the doubles final for our second tournament in a row. Julian and I talk a lot during the matches, not always about tennis, especially if we have a bit of a lead. Playing doubles should be fun if you play with a guy you are good friends with. That's part of the reason why we've had such a good year.

Thankfully my singles form has also taken a turn for the better. I started the year with just one win from my first nine matches. But then I reached the Houston final and this week I made the second round. Things started to go badly for me after Wimbledon last year. I had a two-set lead against Coria in the third round and I blew it. I was so annoyed to miss that opportunity. And for the rest of the year I didn't win two matches in a row.

This year I knew I had a lot of points to defend in the first half of the year and I probably put too much pressure on myself. I came up against a lot of players like Ginepri, Verdasco, Robredo, Ancic and if you're not at your best they are matches you will lose. Then I started to lack confidence. I was playing great in practice but I couldn't bring it on match day.

In Miami I twisted my ankle after winning the first set against Kevin Kim. I couldn't play tennis for 10 days after that. Then I went into Houston - where I had semifinal points to defend - not feeling any pressure because I didn't have any expectations coming back from the injury. Obviously my coach and I found something that worked and now I have to keep it going. You don't want to fall out of the Top 100 having been there for four or five years.

Wish me luck in Saturday's doubles final.

Take care, JoJo.


Thursday, April 27, 2006  
 
It was a day off today. I had breakfast about 9.30 am and spent a lot of the morning chatting with my girlfriend on MSN Messenger. Then I spoke with some friends on Skype. Traveling with a computer can be a pain but it is a great and inexpensive way to keep in touch with friends wherever I am in the world. Skype is great for placing voice calls over the internet provided you have a high-speed connection. But if the connection is slow it can get on my nerves if you can't understand what the other person is saying. So in those situations I will just text.

I think more and more players are using Skype. I know Julian uses it a lot.

Today Julian and I planned just to hit for 30-40 minutes but when we got out there we played some games to 11 and then some volley games and we were having so much fun that it turned into an hour and 45 minutes. There wasn't much else to do so that also filled in some time. We had lunch around 2.30 and then sat down to watch the doubles match between Huss/Phillips and Behrend/Petzschner.

Tonight I'm going to hunt down those DVDs - finally!

Take care, JoJo.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

Today was a very long day for me, playing singles second match on and then finishing with doubles, which was the last match of the day.

Before going out for the doubles against the local Moroccan team of El Aarej and Tahiri, Julian and I were watching the Champions League (soccer) semifinal between Barcelona and AC Milan. I didn't care who won but my partner is the biggest AC Milan fan. We caught the first half of the game and then we won our match in 38 minutes. I'm sure Julian's mind was on tennis during our match but, towards the end, as we were winning so quickly, I'm sure he started to think he may be able to see the end of the match.
We shook hands, ran off the court and headed straight for the players' lounge. We got back at 83 minutes and saw the last 10 minutes of the match. The match ended in a 0-0 draw but Barcelona advanced to the final. I think right now Julian is more disappointed about Milan losing than he is pleased that we won our doubles! But tomorrow he'll be fine.

I was upset with myself today after losing my singles 7-6, 6-2 to Jiri Vanek. I had enough opportunities to win the first set and then in the second I lost it mentally. It was pretty noisy being kids' day and everything was disturbing me. I'm upset because the way I handled the situation was unprofessional. I need to be able to block out distractions like that. At least it's good that kids are there watching the tennis and taking an interest in our sport.

After the match I got a bite to eat and talked to my coach, Lukas Langer. Then we played a little Sudoku, which Lukas introduced me to at Indian Wells. There are lots of levels and I'm now at a medium level. It's great for killing time and it really makes you use your brain.

With two matches today that didn't leave any time to hunt down those DVDs. But I have a day off tomorrow so the plan is to go shopping at the bazaar. I'll probably only hit for half an hour.

Take care, JoJo.


Tuesday, April 24, 2006   
 
Tuesday breakfast... sorry about the wobbly photo! You need only one word to describe the traffic here in Casablanca: chaotic. The most important part of the vehicle is definitely the horn. If your horn isn't working then you better not drive. If you tried to drive the way we drive in Europe you would crash every five metres. But there's no way I would rent a car and try to drive anywhere myself.

I don't know if people go to driving school here but there don't seem to be any rules. They cut into lanes, run red lights and blow their horns all the time. You have to pay attention every second and there are so many cars it's a joke. Yesterday we saw an accident driving back to the hotel and we all said 'What a surprise!' The only consolation is that traffic moves so slow here that you're not in great danger of being injured in an accident. And people don't seem to care if they get a few dents and scratches on their cars.

On Sunday it took only five or 10 minutes to get to the site but most days it takes about half an hour. It's like a non-stop traffic jam.

I played and won my doubles today with my countryman Julian Knowle. He seems very quiet bit he's actually one of the funniest guys I've ever met. He's always in a good mood and there is usually a little bit of sarcasm in his jokes.

Since we started playing together a bit over a year ago we've become close friends. And now that he's stopped freaking out on the court we've been playing some good doubles. In the past if he threw in a couple of doubles to drop serve or something like that you could bet that he'd smash a ball out of the court. But these days he has mellowed.

I had breakfast with Julian this morning at the hotel (sorry about the blurry photo!). It was a very busy time around 9-9.30 and a lot of the players had to wait in line for about 15 minutes before we could get a table. I just had some bread and butter and jam. I don't drink coffee.

I've heard that the DVDs at the local bazaar play okay so I'm off to go and buy some.

Take care, JoJo.


Monday, April 24, 2006   
 
Greetings from Casablanca. I played a Futures event here in 1999 during my last visit and the city hasn't changed very much. Morocco has a completely different feel to the events in Europe, so it's an interesting tournament to play.

Although the country is poor the tournament staff does a great job and the facilities on site are very good. The courts are very nice and there were very few bad bounces out there today. And I like the Penn balls they play with here rather than the heavier balls being used at this week's other tournament in Barcelona.

The city looks a little dangerous to me but we walked to the supermarket on the day we arrived (Saturday) and I may go for a walk tomorrow before my doubles match. Christophe Rochus' coach bought some cheap DVDs yesterday for about 1.5 Euros. So I'll ask him if they work and I may go looking for some myself. At least I speak the local language - French - so I'll be able to do my own negotiating. Although if they're only asking 1.5 Euros I won't argue with them too much.

Chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani has given me some advice on the best restaurants to go to. (He is Swedish but his family is from Morocco). I had a good meal at an Italian restaurant last night and I may do Italian again tonight.

After turning around my form last week by making the Houston final it was great to get another win today. It's a little late to be starting the season in April but hopefully I can keep the form going.

Take care, JoJo

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