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Max Mirnyi Blogs From Nottingham

Max Mirnyi and his father© Max Mirnyi

Sunday, June 25, 2006   
 
Hello again,

To be honest, I would gladly agree to participate in a blog opportunity anytime once again. I really enjoyed going over my days and sharing it all with you. Over the course of the week I had some positive feedback and it gave me more confidence to speak out. Thanks for that.

Today I have met up with my father; he has just flown in form Minsk and is going to be supporting me as always. As I get older I treasure his presence and time that we spend together more and more. My Dad has been a great role model and a strong shoulder of support for me ever since my early childhood.

This afternoon I had a mild practice with Nicolas Massu, who has a look-a-like game of my first round opponent, Ramirez-Hidalgo. Knowing that, I worked on a few things that I want to do in my match tomorrow. Right after I had one of Wimbledon’s courtesy cars take me to houses of my sponsors Nike and Wilson, where these two sporting icons during all the grand slams set up near the site of the tournament to provide different needs to their players. There I've picked up the latest line of Nike clothes that I will be wearing during this Championship and some grips and strings from the Wilson house.

Also I would like to take this opportunity to say how proud and thankful I am to have been a part of these two major brands during my whole professional tennis career. Wonderful team of staff that I've become so friendly with over the years. Thank you very much Nike, thank you very much Wilson to have faith in me and to always be there when I need you.

Staying in at the flat tonight for dinner and watch highlights of today's football matches. Basically taking it easy. Deep inside already getting some butterflies in the stomach, feeling the arrival of the most historic tennis tournament in world. It's amazing what these green grounds do to you!!!

Might need to have a few cups of chamomile tea with honey before I go to bed to calm myself down, to make sure I have a good night’s sleep before my start tomorrow.

To conclude I'd like to say that I hope my week-long blog helped you learn more of Max Mirnyi, the Beast as some say. For those that would like to keep up with my life please check my web site WWW.MAXMIRNYI.COM Lovely girl in Minsk, Tatiana is my web administrator and regularly updates it. Send your questions and comments to her and I'll do my best to reply to all of you.

Before I go one more thing, in regard to the nickname, the Beast, as I get a lot of questions whether I like it or not. It stuck to me very successfully over time and some think that it could be offensive to me in the way but that's not how I perceive this at all.

I was first called the Beast in the very beginning of my professional career by a good friend of mine, former player, Alex Reichel, when we'd travel together on a Challenger tour. And the only time he would call me that is when he'd be proud of my performance on court regardless of the outcome of the match. As back then I always fought hard when I was losing and I never stopped trying to find ways of winning any match I play.

Also, I stand tall by the nature of my height, 6'5", and I don't really cause too much trouble with my on- or off-court behavior. So, I just see in me this powerful, fearless yet gentle and kind cartoon character that we all call the Beast.

Thank you all for being with me,

Success to all, Max Mirnyi


Saturday, June 24, 2006  

Hello everyone,

Great Saturday here in London, bright and warm. People are out and about; the town of Wimbledon is gearing up for a busy couple of weeks.

Even though the World Cup is still being played and the Londoners are very much up to date with the schedule of England's game and whatever goes on inside the team, I get the feeling that Wimbledon and its headlines are already catching some people's attention.

As I was getting my hair cut near the Wimbledon tube station one hairdresser, with a strong Irish accent, was discussing with her client the Wimbledon's committee decision of not seeding Tim Henman and how he is going to prove his brilliance, as she said, by beating in the second round Roger Federer and then capturing the coveted trophy. Of course I remain under cover and didn't drop a word in fear of disturbing their highly professional point of view ...and just enjoyed my girl's hand running through my hair time after time again. But apart from a few errands that I did in town it's just been a normal Saturday evening.

On court today might have been a historical day for me. Shortly after my late morning practice with Andre Agassi on court 15 at the Wimbledon grounds he went off to a press conference where he announced a plan for his retirement. Last couple tournaments and Andre names US Open to be his last one. That means that this could have been my last practice with our true Champion.

Anytime I played against Andre on tour (0-3 head to head) or just practiced with Andre during my career he made me realize and helped me understand on what to work on within my game. On several occasions Andre offered words of advice. The one that stands out is a few years ago on the flight from Frankfurt to St. Petersburg: Andre brought up my serve and we discussed about how I should be wiser about using my power and placement. He, I also remember, shared a few playing patterns that he loved to use.

And today it was not different. The intensity and passion that he brings on to the court is one and only, there is no second one like it! At some point during our set play today, he brought me to the net with one of his accurate drop shots and then hit a chip lob over my head, ended up winning the point and who would have thought? That was enough of a reason for him to be joyful at the end of our workout and go back to that point and smile away on how he lobed a 6'5" giant.

So great to see him still give back to the sport that has given him so much over the years. Fantastic effort Andre, congratulations on your outstanding career and enjoy your last run!!!

In the meantime the score line at Nottingham shows that my doubles partner Jonas could not stop Richard Gasquet from defending his title, however, still a good week for my Swedish brother. Good to see him in good form once again.

Maybe it’s just not a fortunate day for the Swedes in general. Their football team getting crushed by the Germans in the World Cup as well for the place in the quarters and I am sure that will disappoint Jonas even more.

Now I'll stop for today and over a nice dinner gather my thoughts for a conclusion of my blog tomorrow.

Take care all,

Max

 
Friday, June 23, 2006  
 
Hello friends,

A little bit of a sad day for me here today.

As planed before, Ksusha and Melanie are on the plane back home to Minsk as we speak. What a great time spent together with my dear girls! But a few things for them to do next week at home and they'll support me from a distance.

To replace them, my other little group came from Minsk this evening. My long time friend Dmitryi Tatur, who will help me train, and my physio- Paul. Still on schedule to arrive on Sunday my father Nikolai.

Now the days become much more business oriented with them present. Of course the ultimate goal is to do best I can at Wimbledon and all of them will do their different part to give myself the best chance to play my best tennis.

I've just came back from a supermarket where I've loaded up on some food for the next couple days. And I know that both Paul and Nikolai will take turns showing their cooking skills. Lucky me, ha?

Any chance I get will stay at my flat and dine here, as plenty of energy needs to be preserved for the upcoming event.

Really looking forward to tonight's feature football game between France and Togo where France need to win by two goals in order to go through to the next stage of the tournament. Wish to see the brilliance of Zidane once again before he retires.

Ok, bye-bye for today,
Max  
 
  
Thursday, June 22, 2006  

Good day everyone,

If I could relate my day to a meal today then it would be a big sweet dessert, to a place in the world- South Beach Miami, an animal - lion king!!! So, get the feeling yet?

It’s truly amazing to wake in the place you know you are going to be staying at least for a week. We did get into the flat last night and the owner was very nice and patient with all of our questions that varied from where is the toilet paper to the directions of operating the washer and dryer and so on. Anyway, I don't want to fade away from my "lovely dessert."

Our breakfast was also provided by our friendly flat owner who was so thoughtful and stored some basic breakfast needs in the fridge last night before we arrived. So little yet so much could be done when the heart is open...Thanks so much for your warm hospitality, Anna.

At 11:45 our nice morning transformed into the best car ride I had in a while to the Stoke Park (1 hour from Wimbledon) where I did take part in one exhibition match that Todd Woodbridge set me up for yesterday. But that's a little later...

By getting to the club in advance gave us a good hour of walking around and site seeing the beautiful grounds, statues, gardens, exotic bushes and flowers, powerful fountains, massive ball rooms of this historical, really upscale club.

A player lounge with its very attentive staff comforted us to a light Italian lunch during which we were sitting and trying to identify different species of fish that were in the aquarium wall that divided the player lounge with the club's swimming pool. When I lost count of different fish I thought for a moment that these fish are in heaven and this aquarium wall is bigger then my bedroom that I grew up in when I was a kid. Soon after lunch, the club offered Ksusha a facial massage while babysitting with Melanie. At that same time David Nalbandian came by and offered a little hit around as he just decided to visit the club for a nice afternoon and some photo shoot with his sponsors, and of course that became a very useful thing for me to do since I needed a little warm up before my match against Tommy Haas.

At the end of a hit with David he looked very much like my coach. When I asked him to serve some balls to me he reminded me of his French Open injury (pulled abdominal muscle) and offered to serve from half court. This looked very strange to have him do that to me for about 5-6 minutes. So, it's all your fault, coach David N, that in over two hours I still didn't make enough returns to break Tommy's serve.

We had a good, friendly match, though, where I can assure you that neither one of us was too friendly and was whiling to just be there and give it away. I guess it goes back to the good old days at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy where to win meant everything. Tommy saved a match point which he later admitted was lucky and finally won 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.

Melashka slept through the whole match but was wide awake to escort me to the men’s locker room and followed me right to the shower room. She was just being my "towel boy" at that time and of course her really short hair didn't give her away because she got to see more than just daddy's "piliya," as she says...

At that point it was around 6:30 PM and I knew that I had to speed up my tempo if I was to make a 7:30 pm dinner date with our long time family friend from India (thanks to a two year partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi) Arjun and his wife Hamma. And that was the topping on the cake!

I called Arjun to tell him that because of the long match we were out of time to get back to Wimbledon and get back in time to make it to dinner and ask for his okay to come in my track suit straight away. Of course that was not an issue as the place where we met was an Indian restaurant where Arjun and his brother Andy are the owners.

I can guarantee you that the Indian food that you'll have there you are not going to find any where else in the world. Make it on your "must do things in London" to come there at least once, you wouldn't regret it. Vama, Kings Rd 438. At least walk by it, the smell of food will drag you in!

A nice ride to Wimbledon took just about 10 minutes at this time of day. We are in bed as I am finishing these last few words, close to midnight.

The day like that stands out for a long, long time. Thanks to all those people that made it so, so colorful and enjoyable today.

Be good everyone,

See you soon again, Max

 
Wednesday, June 21 2006  

A rather tough day here for me today where everything seemed to go wrong… starting with the elevator that I waited – without exaggeration – for 10 minutes to go down for breakfast. My rackets were strung up with a few strings skipped when they go up and under. I couldn’t find any powder in the club to take away the stickiness after a tape job by our trainer Billy Norris and I lost my match to Andy Murray. But apart from that everything else is just fine...

I’ll probably be hitting the road this evening to go back to London. Hopefully the flat that we've booked for our stay during Wimbledon will be ready when we get there. But with today's luck it may not be as I’ve already left a message for the owner and I haven’t had a reply.

One piece of exiting news for me is that Todd Woodbridge, who is currently coaching Thomas Johansson, has offered me a spot tomorrow in an exhibition somewhere in London as Thomas was mistakenly booked in two different ones at the same time. Wow! Could be another great practice match for me on the grass before the Big W. But keep it quiet for now as its still not confirmed!

As for our whole stay in London I just hope that the English team wins the World Cup. You should have seen, or I should say ‘felt,’ last night when the Swedes were scoring goals against the English. The little town of Nottingham was having a minor earthquake every time. The noise and vibration that was in the air is indescribable. Luckily the game ended 2-2 and no major destruction was done.

So, go England, go!!! (Mind you Belarus did not qualify otherwise I would be one big volcano when they play.)

Okay, take care all. Look for another post tomorrow as I’ll keep blogging through Sunday.

Max

 
Tuesday, June 20, 2006  
 
Here I am once again. Hello.

Wow, a wonderful life... To wake up and see your loved ones near you and to go to the best job in the world is a real treat. Plus, after you finish you have world-class physio and massage therapists work on you as if you are a king of Africa.

Even though the night was not the smoothest one, it's all fine. Melanie decides to have a sip of milk around 4.30 am and loudly lets us both know what she is after. Luckily my wife is still breast feeding our little angel and for that reason without any commotion the high pitch noise that Melasha was producing was quickly extinguished.

If fact it's been relatively easy to travel and be on the road with the baby. Before we had her we were a bit worried of how we'll manage everything on the road with the little one, but so far it’s been nothing but a true pleasure and joy to deal with all the little problems that come along. Some fellow players who have a couple kids, though, say, ‘Wait till you get the second, then the road experience becomes a different one.’ I guess in that case we'll just wait and see.

Maybe it’s just that Melanie is so confident in my ability, but she very rarely stays awake during my matches. Ksusha most of the time is by my court with Melanie during my matches, rocking her to sleep. And I tell you, to see that during the heat of a battle like it was today - I won 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 against Alex Bogdanovic - is something really incredible. Makes me appreciate the moment I am in so much. Well, it seems like Melanie is getting all the coverage today, but how couldn't she???

One really funny thing had been happening several times over the last couple of days with her learning to speak and today was a "classic" one: With the support of the national football team in the World Cup so many cars in England ride with their flags attached. So, to get Melanie's attention from time to time we point our finger and say FLAG, FLAG, FLAG, so she looks and she quickly forgets whatever the problem was. Today at some point of the match when I lost a quick exchange at the net naturally the crowd started applauding my opponent (keep in mind that he is a Brit) and right after everyone stopped, and we were setting up for the next point I hear Melanie say F..K, F..K, F..K. Can you imagine?!!!!

I of course kept my composure and stayed focused but I could just feel my wife turn red and get so embarrassed... Of course very few realized that our dear Melanie was pointing the finger across the court where some kids had little English flags in their hands in support of Alex. Well, I give that story as a highlight of my day.

I hope that you tune in tomorrow and share my day with me again.

Thank you, Max


Monday, June 19 2006  
 
Welcome back,

It's been an unusually free day for me here today. The fact that Jonas and I have decided to not play doubles this week to preserve some physical and mental energy for the upcoming Grand Slam makes the week wide open for just training and singles matches.

I was not on the schedule for today in singles so I just had one good workout on court with some post practice ritual in the gym. I always like to keep myself in tone and limber and therefore over the years I have developed a series of light weight exercises, some active isometric stretching and some elements from yoga that work best for me.

It's a pretty gloomy day here in Nottingham with a forecast for some rain tomorrow. Having said that I catch myself on a thought of how grass court tennis is so dependant on the weather. One drop of rain and we are off the court in a hurry. What an unfortunate turnaround, some 100 plus years ago the game originated on this wonderful surface and now we are down to only five weeks of play on it. That’s unfortunate for me as I simply just love the way it smells!

Okay my friends, I'll try to attend one of the restaurants for dinner before it closes and I’m left again eating a midnight sub sandwich.

Have a great day at work everyone or enjoy your vacation to the fullest if you are during one.

I shall see you back tomorrow.

Thank you, Max


Sunday, June 18 2006   
 
Hello everyone,

It's great to take part in this wonderful project where I'll share my day-to-day life with all of you for the next week.

I'll start by confirming our disappointing result today in London at the Queen's Club. In the final Jonas and I went down to Kevin and Paul in the deciding match tie-break 10-8 having led a few times early on. However, as I always like to put things in perspective, it's not a bad result after all...I had a good match practice week in singles as well as in doubles. Jonas and I have taken the lead in the Stanford Doubles Race and we will do our best to maintain this leadership.

In the meantime, I am having a bit of a six-inch turkey breast Subway sandwich as this ended up being the only option for food at this time of night after our arrival to the town of Nottingham. The upside to this is that I and part of my family (wife Ksusha and daughter Melanie) who are joining me on this trip is already in Nottingham and don't have to hustle through busy London morning traffic to come here tomorrow.

Our ride from London today was really easy. Splitting the price of a car with Jonas, riding together to the discussions of our tennis game, life in general and the harsh world of business was a worthy time spent. About 2 hours from our hotel in London to our Nottingham "home".

0:14 my Nike watch shows and it's time for me to prepare my on-court bag for tomorrow as I like to do it the night before, brush my teeth, get in the shower and have a good night's sleep

Good day or night to all of you. Thanks for checking in with me.

Till tomorrow, Max

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