I almost forgot how competitive small tournaments are. And how hard I have to work to win them. And because I was sick most of the last year, unable to play at my best, my ranking has dropped and that forced me to play qualifying.
Surprisingly I was not the only former top 100 player to play these events. Many other girls close to my age were forced to start their year grinding in qualifying of small events. Girls like Catalina Castano former top 40 player, Olivia Sanchez, Mariana Lucic, Mashona Washington, Eva Birnerova and even Nicole Vaidisova (main draw) who was top 10 player two years ago! And I am not talking about junior players who are just starting out on tour. Needless to say that it's tough. Not only you have to be in great psychical and mental shape but you also have to be well off financially to travel to all these events, because there is no money in these tournaments unless you win the whole thing. And most of the time you spend more money then you earn.
And of course there are tennis parents. Lots of them! They are even more competitive then their kids. They yell, they scream, they walk around like crazy people talking to themselves when their child is playing. There are constant "come on's and lets go, you can do it and take your time." Then they look at the coaches, who are as nervous as they are and ask "Why is she doing that? How is it possible?" It's a never ending circus which I can't bear to watch. But I am right there in the middle of it. So I tell myself- get your mind together, get as many points as possible and lets get out of these small events to more "civilized" tournaments, where will also be parents, coaches and agents but it won't be so openly dramatic as at the small events.