Hi everyone, Sasha and I are in kalamazoo for the boys under 18 national championships. For those who don’t know Sasha flew home on Satueday for a day to be god father to his nephew. He and I met up in Chicago on Monday morning. We drove to the Notre Dame campus which is on the way to Kalamazoo to practice with one of Sasha’s future team mates Alex Lawson. During a drill we were doing on court, Sasha rolled over his ankle badly. It immediately swelled to double size. It was pretty obvious that there was nothing broken, but this was definitely a bad sprain. We reached out to the Notre Dame coaches and they recommended and facilitated our going to McDonald Physical Therapy in South Bend. Pam Redfern and her assistant Kendra Taghon were amazing as was the rest of the staff there.
http://www.mcdonaldpt.com/pam-redfern.html. They assessed Sasha’s injury and immediately initiated aggressive therapy. We drove back to Kalamazoo on Tuesday with no hope of playing tennis for at least a few weeks. On Wednesday morning the swelling had gone down considerably. We went off to McDonald Physical Therapy again and Pam was as surprised as we were how much better things were. They again treated Sasha’s ankle with massage, laser, and electronic stimulation in addition to assessing what percentage of normal the ankle was at this point. Collectively we decided to play on Thursday assuming things continued to improve. Sasha and I went to the Notre Dame campus and spent a couple of hours on the court. He was stiff and of course a bit unbalanced, but we decided we would play Sasha’s first scheduled match on Thursday morning and see how it went. Because of the new USTA format for this tournament, Sasha had to qualify. Since we have not played USTA tournaments over the last year and have concentrated on ITFs, his USTA ranking is non-existent. So he was scheduled to play at 10am. We did a long stretch and an extended warm up. Everything looked good. He went on close to on time and won 6-1, 6-2. We had a few hours off and had to play a second round in the afternoon. In a longer match in which Sasha did not play his best, he nevertheless pulled out a straight set victory 6-4, 7-6 (1). While he didn’t play his best in the match he did end very strong. The last game and a half and the tie break showed the brand of tennis that Sasha is capable of playing and should play all the time. So we went back to our apartment (which by the way is 5 minutes walk from the courts at Stowe Stadium) had a nice dinner with Oliver Sec and his mom and went to bed early as Sasha’s final qualifying match was scheduled at 8am on Stowe Stadium courts. We warmed up on the Stowe courts and went on at 8am. Sasha played the best he has played in the last several months and won 6-2, 6-1. Qualified!!
We have the rest of today off as well as tomorrow off and he will play his first round match on Sunday. The main draw will be out tonight.
We both want to thank the folks at McDonald Physical Therapy, especially Pam and the coaches at Notre Dame for their great support. Without them and Sasha’s grit and determination, we would be resting and recuperating in California. I’ll post a stream with some pictures in a few minutes and will update the blog with the draw later today.

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