Catching up with Ed Corrie (part 1 of 2)
July 16, 2012
I managed to pick up the doubles title but just fell short in the singles final. Although I would have loved to pick up my first Futures singles title, this was the best week that I have had as a professional, having come through a tough draw to reach the final and win the doubles as well.
The weather here in Britain has taken it to a new level this summer. With the wettest June on record and I am sure we are on our way to the wettest July, playing consistently on the grass has been impossible. Last week in Manchester we were playing through the rain on an Astroturf, artificial clay court which was an experience to remember! This week we all headed up north to Ilkley, which is a really nice, classically English town in the moors of Yorkshire. Although the weather was not looking good, we were comforted by the fact that they have a first class indoor facility on-site that they would use to get the tournament played.
As predicted, the relentless rain continued so I played my first two rounds indoors. I had a tough draw considering I was seeded No. 8 in the tournament. I managed to beat my doubles partner, Lewis Burton, in the first round and then came through a tricky three-setter in the second round against another Brit, Marcus Willis. On Wednesday afternoon the weather dramatically improved and stayed dry all through Thursday, so we were able to play the quarterfinals of the singles and semis of the doubles outside on the grass. The courts were obviously a little soft and the slice backhands were out in full force. I played really well and tough under pressure all day to pick up another singles win and a doubles win. In singles, I beat Daniel Evans who has represented Great Britain in the Davis Cup on several occasions.
After the rain came back Thursday night we were back inside for the rest of the tournament. In the semis of the singles, I had to play Albano Olivetti from France who is currently ranked 292 in the world. He is about 6-7 and has what is widely regarded as one of the best serves in the world. I knew I was going to have to take care of my own serve and then take any half-chances that I could.
I came out of the blocks fast and capitalize on the fact that his first serve was not yet finding its mark. I broke him twice in the first set to take it, 6-2. In the second set he found his rhythm and the aces started pouring down, making it difficult to break him again. He also managed to break me mid-way through the set, when for the only time in the match my first serve percentage dropped significantly. After that, although we both put pressure on each other’s service games, we managed to hold onto our serves for the rest of the match. So, it went to a third set tie-break.
After two winning second-serve returns and some solid points behind my serve, I raced out to a 5-0 lead. But after two bombs and an outrageous forehand pass from him, I was serving at 5-3, back under pressure. Having watched him bang 26 aces by me (my brother/coach Tom does the stats for all my matches), I managed to return the favor one last time, sliding an ace out wide to put me up 6-3. After another missed first serve I knew one more clean return could do it and I managed to middle a backhand return which caused him to miss his volley. That was a big win for me and put me in my first singles final of the year to go with our doubles final place.
In the final, I came up against Josh Goodall, the No. 1 seed of the event, two-time defending champ in Ilkley, and the No. 4 player in Britain. A tough opponent no doubt, but having pushed him to three sets earlier in the grass court season, I liked my chances. We both started the match playing at the top of our games and the standard of tennis was very high. Having saved a couple of break points early in the match, at four games-all I created my first real opportunity, getting him to 0-40 on his serve. He then reeled off a series of unreturnable serves and forehand winners to get out of that game and lifted his level to break me in the next game. Disappointingly, in the middle of the second set I lost my focus for the first time all week and he pounced on that to run away with the set, 6-1. After a great week on the singles court, Josh showed me how players of his quality can find another gear under severe pressure, and that motivates me to get back out on the practice court to enable me to take that chance next time.
After a 20-minute break to grab some food and grab a quick shower, I was back out there on the doubles court with Lewis Burton. Lewis had been patiently waiting since Thursday for the final and was clearly raring to go as we both started quickly. It was the best performance we put together all week, and we did not let our energy drop for a moment, taking the title 6-1, 6-1 against two young Australians, Harris/Wittington. It was a great way to cap off my best week so far!