Jan. 8, 2018
MELBOURNE, Australia – The Gopher Men’s Tennis team is spending 11 days in Australia this month. During their stay, members of the team will be writing blog updates to keep fans posted on the team’s activities throughout the trip. Today, freshman Vlad Lobak details his exciting third day of the trip.
Monday marked the third day of our unforgettable trip. Today, we woke up ready to go earlier than ever. Our practice session started at 7 a.m so that meant we were in the lobby to walk to Melbourne Park at 6:30 sharp.
We were excited when we arrived since it was our last day that we were able to train at the Australian Open courts, but after 30 minutes of hitting, it suddenly started to rain. At first, this was quite disappointing. Luckily for us, head coach Geoff Young was on top of it and had indoor courts reserved at the beautiful Australian National Tennis Center. Within minutes, we were back on the court. Our morning practice was complete at 9 a.m. and all of the guys were released to do whatever we wanted until afternoon practice.
As I was heading towards the exit with Jackson Allen, Rafael Nadal suddenly appeared out of nowhere! I gathered up the nerve to ask him to take a picture with me. He was super nice about it and said “Of course.” All my teammates were jealous. It was the best selfie of my life!
After that, we went to survey the territory further, and we saw all kinds of players and their coaches. It was a great learning experience to watch how the best professionals in the world practice. After watching players practice on the outer courts, I wanted to see what was going on inside Rod Laver arena. When I arrived, I saw Nadal training with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I watched for a while but got pretty hungry so I headed back to the apartment for some lunch.
At 12:30, and it was time to leave for the second practice session. We drove to the same facility as the yesterday afternoon. We spent the practice honing our skills and coming together like a team. After we were done hitting, we played some soccer for conditioning. My team, which featured Marino Alpeza, Stefan Milicevic, Jackson Allen, Eli Ogilvy, and Josip Krstanovic, defeated Felix Corwin, Matic Spec, Justyn Levin, Kaleb Dobbs, Jesse Sprinkel, and Coach Young by a score of 4-2. Once the game was over we headed back for a much needed shower.
The evening was pretty relaxed as we were all tired. Justyn’s parents set us up with tickets to the top floor of the highest building in all of downtown Melbourne. We saw some amazing views and took some cool photos. Afterwards, we went our separate ways to find some food we liked. Each day spent here gives us a lot of positive emotions, and by watching top players, it motivates us to become better. I can’t wait for more throughout the remainder of the trip.
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