We are staying at Happy and Maggie Bhalla’s house. Happy is the head coach at the Wholistic Tennis Academy at Long Island , New York where I have been training for the last three summers. This is a beautiful area in this part of the country and also known as The Hamptons.
Happy used to be Vishaal’s coach in his playing days, and Vishaal now assists him in his Academy in the summers. He is here from June till August when he heads back to India to pick up his coaching assignment at DLTA.
It rained a couple of times during the start of the week so it’s been kinda cold here. And for us Indians who have been coming from 45C of Delhi, suddenly being plonked into a place where the temperature is 20C and feels lower, it takes some getting used to.
The training conditions are different here. I train on clay courts and I have to run much longer during points and slide around a bit. These extra exertions, it appears have led to I a blister on my foot. I literally have to have a shower on one foot, because whenever water hits my foot it hurts. It hurts when I play but I just tape it up and go for it. I don’t even know what I did to get a blister. It’s right on the arch of my foot and the funny thing is that when I place my foot squarely on the ground the blister part doesn’t touch the ground. Oh well. Life of a tennis player !!
This week was pretty tiring, but it was also more about just getting used to the place and the weather conditions and the nine and a half hour time difference. I met most of my friends from last year here. Zac, Del, Nisha, Kevin and Raj. Nisha and Raj are actually an Indian family who live in the Hamptons. According to their mom, their dad wanted to name their daughter Shakira! But she adamantly refused to have a daughter called Shakira so they named their daughter Nisha and the dad named their dog Shakira, so everyone was happy!
Well that’s it. I survived the first week here. Hope I survive the next few! I am planning to work on a few things this summer to make me more competitive on the clay court circuit. Because after the month of training here, I intend to play 3 back to back clay court tournaments in Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. It’s a different kind of tennis with these big European girls, who hit with much topspin and the points are long.
Bye Now. I might visit the Big Apple during one of my breaks (aah ! so few !! ). Will send an update.