I just finished my second week of training down here and the past 5 days just flew by. When I first came down to Florida, my fitness coach “Caco” told me that my body will take two weeks to get used to the hot conditions and physically demanding schedule, so I’m happy to be past that point. Now, supposedly, my body is used to my new lifestyle, and I’m already feeling like a beast. My coach at Bates always said to move like my teammate Q, who’s almost a foot shorter than me, and I finally feel like I’m moving like a small dude.
OK THIS IS ACTUALLY REALLY EXCITING: I got to hit with Jessica Pegula, a professional tennis player who has been close to No. 100 on the WTA Tour. I not only met her, but her two coaches: Jimmy Arias and Jesse Levine. Jimmy Arias was at his peak just before I was born, but he’s an absolute legend. He was 5 in the world and got to the semifinals of the US Open. And don’t sleep on Jesse Levine, a former pro who go to top 200 in the world. Not to mention my coach has a great resume too, so I was a bit out-classed, but I had an incredible time hitting with Jessica. She is very good. Very fast and flat strokes and dangerous from behind the court. It was the first time playing with someone that really pushed me in practice since starting with Horacio, and she really forced me to play my best tennis, so I learned a lot. If I did not get my whole body weight behind the ball, I was punished. Eventually, we started to play with serves which is when I started to feel more comfortable. I was hitting second serves and she doesn’t see heavy kick serves on the women’s tour that much, so the big man was happy to play some shorter points. By the way, this whole time, I’m exhausted. It was very very hot, and this was the first time I had ever trained with a true professional. I probably asked for more water breaks than her coaches were used to, but it’s okay because they made fun of me for it. After 2.5 hours of practice in the sun, I was contemplating how to tell Horacio that I really wanted to cancel the afternoon hit and fitness, but either the lord answered my prayers or Horacio could see I was lacking oxygen, because he told me it was siesta time and I didn’t even need to ask. (Thats a big win for Ben “Non-Confrontational” Rosen)
I’ve made some social progress this week in terms of interacting with some humans. I’ve been hanging with my good high school friend David and it’s been nice not to be by myself all the time. And my dad visited for two days and it was nice to be with him and use him for his jacuzzi. He took Horacio and me (look at that grammar god damn) out to dinner and we absolutely DESTROYED some steaks. Horacio had me over for some pasta the past couple days, which I appreciated. It was incredible.
I’m starting to finalize my tournament schedule. It’s looking like I’m going to play a future in Iowa in two weeks, and then play a few more in Illinois after that. Thinking about going also to Italy for a few weeks in September and then Tunisia.
I attached some photos from the week, and I hope you get some sick sadistic pleasure watching me die in the footwork drill (i honestly think I’m laughing the whole time).