Paradorn Srichaphan Blogs From Indianapolis
by ATP Staff|
Saturday, July 22 2006
Check out this shirt! It was in my player gift bag when I arrived in Los Angeles. It's a tank top for women - 'Perky in Pink' - so I'll hang onto it and give it to a friend, I guess. But rumor has it that Dmitry Tursunov tried it on. I have to say I can believe that. Along with being one of the nicest guys on the tour he's also one of the funniest, so he'd be just the one to make a joke with the shirt.
Danai and I both woke at 5 this morning in Indianapolis and everything went to plan. The taxi was there at 6 and we had a quick trip to the airport for our 8 o'clock flight. It's around 6.30 in the morning and there are thousands of people at the airport. It's amazing.
Like normal I carry my racquets on the plane with me - I want to make sure they don't break those. Nothing really special happened on the plane and I slept for most of the four-hour flight to Los Angeles. I wanted to sleep so I had energy to practice in the afternoon. There was no-one beside me in the next seat so that helped me sleep even better.
About 15 minutes before we were due to land I woke up and looked out the window. I don't know why, but whenever I fly I look out the window looking for tennis courts. I always seem to see them when we come in to land, especially in the US. Today I saw courts as soon as I looked out the window.
We got to LA and everything was perfect. All the bags showed up and the tournament transportation was there waiting for me and Danai - we phoned ahead so they knew what time we were coming in. We got to the hotel around 10 but were told that we couldn't check in until 12. We asked if they could make it quicker but they said the rooms weren't ready. So we killed time in the hotel lobby by hooking into the wireless internet. We chatted to friends and surfed the internet.
We left the hotel around 1.30 and before our 3 o'clock practice we planned to use the washing machines on site to do a lot of our dirty laundry from Indianapolis that had been piling up. By the time Saturday comes around things are pretty sweaty and dirty! The machines were free. Just one problem: no washing powder. So I took the shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom and poured them into the washing machine and crossed my fingers. The result? Everything came out clean... and my clothes have never smelled better!
Tonight I spent some time on Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, just walking around. It's been a great first day and I've been trying to refresh myself before the tournament starts on Monday. We'll definitely get some Thai food tonight.
Because this is my last blog I wanted to say thank you again to my good friend Eric Taino for taking good care of me in New York when I first arrived in the US. He picked me up from my hotel each day and took me to practice at Flushing Meadows and he took me a lot to get Thai food. And also I want to thank Dante, my Filipino friend. He's another guy who would pick me up for dinner and he kept me company when I was in New York. I am traveling alone on this trip so it's important to have some friends around.
So that's all for now. This has been Paradorn on tour in the US. I would love to talk to you again soon.
Friday, July 21 2006
Well, unfortunately I'm out of the tournament today and have my cell phone alarm set for 5am to catch and early flight to Los Angeles in the morning. The US Open Series keeps moving on! Danai and I will be leaving the hotel around 6 to catch an 8am flight, so unfortunately that means a taxi because it's too early for the tournament's transportation, which we understand.
Today Robby Ginepri was too good for me - he didn't give me a chance to get back into the match. All credit to him for the win. But I went one round further this year and had two good wins so that gives me some confidence for the rest of the US Open Series.
After the match I got some precautionary treatment on my shoulder and wrist, but that didn't affect my game today. I came back to the hotel and watched a little MTV - it's more entertaining than the news. I heard Tiger Woods was leading the British Open. I'm not following it closely but I'm interested in how Tiger goes. Unfortunately I have never met him.
I also got on the internet in my room to check the news in the Thai newspapers and to speak with some friends back home. I use Skype and Messenger. I'd like to tell you we were discussing something really interesting but the conversation went something like this: "Is it hot there in Indy?" "Wow, it's really hot. Just like home. I can't believe it!" Then they say "I can't wait to see you back home. We're missing you here." "I've got another seven weeks here. After that we can hang out."
I also went swimming in the hotel pool and relaxed in the hot tub. Tonight Danai and I had dinner at the Japanese restaurant Mikado. It was my second time there this week. When I'm on the road I always go to Asian restaurants: Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Then we had a nice walk around the city and the mall. It was the first time this week I've really had a chance to take a relaxing walk. We stopped at a coffee shop and I had a latte.
When I left the site earlier in the day I said goodbye to the tournament staff, including Steve. We will stay in touch via email and who knows, I may even invite him to Thailand.
Check back tomorrow as I'll be making one more post. I'll let you know how my travel day to Los Angeles goes.
See you very soon,
Thursday, July 20 2006
It's good to make friends with the local people! I hadn't been able to find a Thai restaurant since I arrived here in Indianapolis but Steve, one of the tournament's security guards who works in the player lounge, came to my rescue tonight. I've met Steve all four times I have been to Indianapolis and he also met my dad two years ago. He's a teacher but does the tournament security part time. I guess he would be over 40 but younger than 55; It's hard to be sure of his age.
I've been talking to Steve every day and had lunch with him twice. I think he knew I was looking for some Thai food for dinner and he said he would take me to a Thai restaurant. So tonight Steve, I, Danai and his coach Jan went to to a Thai restaurant that I guess was 20-25 minutes out of town.
At dinner Steve asked me about my dad. "I came alone this year," I told him. We also talked about the food and he wanted to know if the food was like home cooking. "It's really close," I said. It was a very good restaurant. But every restaurant cooks its food a little differently, even if they have the same menu.
I ordered everything medium spicy and one spicy dish that I kept away from Steve until the end of the meal. I waited till he was almost full and then I let him try it. "Water, I need some water," he cried out after taking a bite. "That's why I kept it away from you till the end of the meal. I didn't want to mess up your whole dinner." The spicy dish was Thai chicken salad, which back home is called Labb Gai.
I asked Steve if he had a chance to watch any of my matches, but he has to stay in the player lounge and says that he only gets to see the matches on TV. Anyway, thanks for a good night, Steve. It was a nice way to celebrate my win against Paul Goldstein after saving three match points late in the third set. I also saved three match points when I last played Paul in Washington last year. But my mind didn't flash back to Washington when I was down match point today. I didn't expect to get out of this one.
It was a tough day as I got out of bed at 7.30 and headed straight for the gym. I was going to hit at 10 with Danai but it rained. We got on the court for a 15-minute warm-up around 11 but it was around 3 before the match finally started. We had been scheduled first on at 12.30. The match went for almost 2 1/2 hours so it was around 5.30 or 6 when I was finally done for the day.
I must say sorry to any of my friends who may have tried to leave a message on my American cell phone. My voice mail is always full. When I go back home to Thailand I just leave my American cell phone on the top of my desk and when I come back to the States the voice message is always full and I never delete it. So you have to keep calling back or send me a text message!
Tomorrow I play second on against Robby Ginepri, who beat me here last year in the third round on his way to the title. Hopefully I can stop him this time.
See you very soon,
Wednesday, July 19 2006
For many years one of the nice perks about playing the RCA Championships has been the great gift bags we are given when we arrive. Indianapolis has had a reputation for many years among the players of having one of the best 'goodie bags' on tour. It obviously helps when RCA, one of the biggest electronic brands, is the sponsor of the tournament! This year was no exception, with an MP3 player being the highlight. I also particularly liked one of the two shirts in the bag that had the words 'I am Indy' on it. The first thing I thought of was the big car race that is here. I'd love to go and see that one day.
Tonight I watched my Davis Cup team mate Danai Udomchoke play James Blake in the night match. Danai gave James a good fight but James is a very tough player. I'm first match on tomorrow but I didn't mind being out and I know Danai likes to know that I'm in the stands watching. It didn't turn out to be too late a night. I went into the locker room after the match to talk with Danai and then waited for 10 or 15 minutes and we caught a car back to the hotel.
Right now I have my cell phone set for 8am so I can be ready in time for a 10am warm-up with Danai in the morning. I don't use wake-up calls in the hotel - can't run the risk of getting the times mixed up with the front desk! - and trying to figure out how 30 different alarm clocks work in any given year is taking a risk too. So I rely on my cell phone and if it doesn't wake me up then I've only got myself to blame. The only time it didn't work for me was when I forgot that I had put the phone on silent. It rang, but of course I didn't hear it. But fortunately all I missed was practice, not a match. I travel with two cell phones: I have a Thai number and I also have a US number, which is more convenient for my friends in the States to call me on.
Waking up at 8 for a warm-up at 10 and a match at 12.30 seems early but I always like to exercise for about 25 minutes as soon as I wake up.
As you may have seen in the results I had a good win today against Wayne Arthurs, who served 27 aces. I played for two hours and 15 minutes in the heat but it didn't really bother me. But it was important to get hydrated... I didn't drink anything extra last night but today I had quite a bit of water to drink before the match and Gatorade, provided by the tournament.
Although I didn't do it today, I often do quick meditation on changeovers during matches. The aim is to clear the mind and think about nothing. It may sound funny but thinking about nothing is really difficult and something that takes training. I've been doing it a while and it's still not easy. The changeover gives you 90 seconds or two minutes to try to clear the mind. So when I do meditate I concentrate on some very basic tasks that I'm doing, such as drinking water, toweling the sweat off my arms, that sort of stuff.
Anyway, it's time to switch my mind off for much longer now. I'm going to bed.
Thanks for reading today's post.
See you very soon,
Tuesday, July 18 2006
Last night I did make it to the movies with Danai Udomchoke, another Thai player who had a great win on Monday. I was looking for a comedy but had to settle for Superman, which was something to do. It was quite a long movie, but it was fine. It just meant that dinner was pretty late, around 11. We didn't find a Thai restaurant but I'm sure I'll make it to one before the tournament finishes. It was probably around 12 when I made it into bed.
First thing in the morning I called my parents back in Thailand. It's part of my routine to call them twice a day. With a 12 hour time difference it works best to call them first thing in the morning and just before I go to bed. You may think that I run out of things to say calling them so often but the calls are always really short, just one or two minutes. It's really just to hear their voices. I'll just say something like 'Hey dad, I am doing okay, I'm practicing twice today and it's a little hot here again.'
With my friends I communicate mainly through text messaging. Sometimes I wonder if they have too much time on their hands. One friend, who is a car lover, sent me a message saying that he was taking his car to get washed. Make sure you get it clean I wrote back. We were just making fun of each other. My friends will tell me what they did today and tell me what the weather us like, so I know everything that is going on through texting.
I had my first practice this morning with Gilles Muller at 10, which is a little early for me but I had a STARS activity at 11.45 downtown so I wanted to fit it in before that. Then I hit again at 3 with Danai. At the STARS activity I played some tennis with kids, signed some autographs and the tournament gave away some tickets. You know you're reaching out to new fans when people come up for an autograph and say, 'What is your name, where do you come from and when do you play?'
Tomorrow I play my first match against Wayne Arthurs. I've only ever played him once, and that was five or six years ago at a Challenger. Then there are other guys I seem to play a lot - like James Blake.
Today was another good day for me - I can't complain. The most important thing is that I enjoyed that day and didn't have to be too serious because I didn't have a match. But my mind is now ready for my first match tomorrow.
See you very soon,
Monday, July 17 2006
I arrived into Indianapolis Saturday and it's hot and humid. I feel at home because conditions are very similar to Bangkok at the moment, so I can't complain.
Before arriving here I spent three or four days in New York practicing with Eric Taino at Flushing Meadows. He's one of my best friends and he lives in New Jersey. I stayed at a hotel close to the Tennis Center so he'd pick me up on the way to the courts. But I tried not to focus too much on tennis. With the long US Open Series leading up to the US Open I didn't want to be too focused on tennis during those days - I wanted to keep my mind fresh.
So on the Friday and Saturday I headed into Manhattan to enjoy the city. I went to the meat packers district, where there are a lot of restaurants. My Filipino friends took me to one of the Thai restaurants and it's always nice to eat Thai food when I am on the road. Another evening I also went up to Times Square and I finally figured it out - it's always busy there! In the past I've been to Times Square during the US Open and I thought it must be a busy time of the year. But we were there at 9 or 10 at night and it was still packed with people.
Before coming to the States I had two weeks at home in Thailand after Wimbledon. Before that I had been in Europe for more than three months so I really enjoyed my break. I spent most of the time seeing family and friends and trying to enjoy a 'normal' life like going to the beach, which is a two-hour drive from Bangkok. I especially loved being back around all the Thai food. I went out to dinner with friends a lot. But of course I had to keep practicing, too.
Today was a game day. Unfortunately Gilles Muller and I lost our doubles to Huss and Phillips. I finished early and was back in my room by around 4.30 and with no match tomorrow I'll probably go out for dinner and see a movie - during tournaments I enjoy to watch comedies, something not too serious. Last night I went to a Japanese restaurant; I always prefer to go Asian as I prefer rice to spaghetti, but I'll eat spaghetti if that's what's on offer.
This is my fourth year here so I know my way around the city pretty well. The hotel is downtown and you can walk everywhere. For the first time this year I'm traveling alone this week. My brother Thanakorn will join me later in the swing at New Haven.
Talk to you tomorrow,