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Xavier Malisse Blogs From Indian Wells

Xavier MalisseATPWarming up again with the soccer ball

Tuesday, March 14, 2006   
 
This week there's been some discussion in the locker room about the NCAA basketball brackets. You hear the American guys talking about it but it's all a bit of a mystery to the Europeans. My interest is somewhere in the middle because I'm a native Belgian who lives in Florida.

I've been watching the lead-up games like the Pac-10. I'm more into the NBA but I'll take an interest in college hoops when March Madness comes around. Xavier is in there so I have to stick with them. I filled out a bracket the last couple of years here in Indian Wells but I never followed up to check my progress. So while I'll be watching the games I won't be filling out a bracket this year.

I knew I was sixth on tonight against Grosjean, so that gave us plenty of time during the day to do a little shopping - we bought some comedy CDs: Blue Collar TV (that's a show on Comedy Central), Ron White and Dave Chapelle. I like stand-up comedy. I also enjoy Seinfeld, Friends and King of Queens.

I talked to a friend in Belgium via MSN Messenger today. We just had a few laughs. I also talked on the phone to a friend in Atlanta who always comes to a few tournaments. We were just trying to arrange the dates he would come and get the hotel reservations set. My brother is also coming over from Belgium so we talked about his flights.

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Monday, March 13, 2006   
 
I'm someone who likes to sleep in in the morning, so these 10 o'clock matches are tough for me. I got up around 7.15 and at 7.45 I met with Kristof Vliegen - who also had a 10 o'clock match - and our coaches for breakfast. Kristof and I like to stay relaxed so we didn't talk too much about tennis. In fact we were all still trying to wake up, so there was less conversation than normal. I had some Rice Krispies, a croissant and two pastries, a strawberry yogurt and grapefruit juice. I didn't eat again before the match. I have a hard time eating in the morning because I don't normally wake up before 9.30 or 10.

We were done by about 8.15 and then drove from The Esmeralda to the site. It's just a five minute ride. At 8.40 we broke out the soccer ball and used that to warm up with on the grass field at the site. Kristof is really bad at it but at least it was a good warm up. We kicked it around for 15-20 minutes to really get the feet moving. I was expecting there would be some dew on the ground and it may be dangerous, but the conditions were great.

The setting with the snow-capped mountains in the background is so spectacular. There's a lot of snow on the peaks at the moment. It's a beautiful setting. I live in Florida so I don't get to see one mountain.

I dropped in six or seven racquets to be restrung the night before the match. Normally I would string them on the day of the match but with temperature having been cooler than normal here you don't lose much tension overnight. Now that it's heating up I'll probably go back to stringing the same day. Here I'm stringing at 31 kilos because the balls fly a little more.

I played very well to beat Stepanek today. I saw his serve really well and went up 5-0 in 10-15 minutes. I also won the second set 6-1 but that was a closer set.

Playing so early leaves a lot of time to do something else with the day. I'll get a little stretch in to keep the legs feeling good and Kristof and I will play nine or 12 holes of golf. Kristof has just started. He's been hitting on the driving range but when we played the other day that was his first time on a course. I've got to say it wasn't too pretty. Everyone on the course was in danger. I've been playing six or seven years and have a handicap of around eight to 10, so I've been trying to give him a few pointers. He has a good swing; he's just lacks a bit of direction at this stage.

I have a day off tomorrow and will add to the blog, so please check back.

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