It may be the week of October 23rd, but the tennis season is still not over. While the “minor” league events will continue into December(!!), even the last two major WTA events of the year are unfolding this week and next. When you recall that the first tournament on the WTA calendar each year starts around January 3rd, you will quickly realize that the tennis offseason is a bit of a mythical creature. With about two months on average between the final tournament of one year and the first of the next, players are lucky to get more than two solid weeks to rest and vacation after a strenuous 10 month season. Then, it’s back to work with a new year and challenge in mind.
Despite not being involved in the final WTA events of the year (reserved for the world’s top 25 or so), I am still grinding it out on court as well. There are three 80k’s in the US in these next three weeks, and I intend to play whatever combination of them is necessary to reach my end of year goals. While I would like to end the year back in the world’s top 100, first and foremost on my list of priorities is to position myself for direct entrance into the Australian Open. At 106, I am right around the cutoff, but a few more spots would leave me much more comfortable over my short offseason.
I arrived in Macon, Georgia on Sunday and have been training the last few days in preparation for my first round match on Wednesday. The draw here is pretty absurdly stacked—with most every American player outside of the top 100 competing here. In part, this is because of the Australian Open WC Challenge. The USTA offers series of three or more events in which the top American point collector receives a wild card into the upcoming slam. In this case, the player who accumulates the most points in two out of three 80ks in Macon, Tyler, and Waco will receive direct entry into the Australian Open, even if their ranking does not make the cut.
I expect extremely tough matches every day in the coming weeks, but I am excited to continue pursuing my goals. There’s no better way to accelerate your growth as a player than to be consistently challenged by tough opponents, so I will make the most of each and every challenge that comes my way. Regardless of result these next few weeks, I’m proud of my persistence in the face of adversity this year, and am excited for what next year will bring.
About My Tennis Life Series:
In February of 2017, Tennis Channel launched its first multi-platform content series My Tennis Life featuring two professional tennis players, Nicole Gibbs (USA) and Sam Groth (Australia), as they traverse the globe in search of valuable ATP and WTA points. The series gives you a behind-the-scenes look of the professional tour. Tennis fans across the globe will witness Sam and Nicole’s efforts to break through respectively on the ATP and WTA Tours, and the challenges they face while trying to improve their game and career earnings.