I just came back from two days in Arizona for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships. I was there to play in a couple of tennis exhibitions during the Men's Senior tournament in Surprise, AZ. We played at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex. You cannot believe what an amazing facility this is and it is all part of the City of Surprise Parks and Recreation department. I wish they had something like this in Miami!
I flew in Friday and went to the tennis complex for a Q&A session with John McEnroe and then a sponsor meet and greet with Michael Chang. It was a great group of people gathered at this appearance, and you could really tell they were all tennis players themselves. They asked a lot of great tennis questions! I was actually happy to get in and get settled a day early because I knew I had a full day of tennis on Saturday.
First up on Saturday was my mixed doubles match with Jeff Tarango against Ashley Harkleroad and Wayne Ferreira. Both guys are still in great shape, and it was good to see them as they are both retired so I haven't seen them in ages! The weather was perfect and I had an amazing time playing with Jeff. He was the perfect partner and we won the match 8-6! I felt really good on the court, my movement and hands felt great, and most importantly I was healthy. I felt like I could have played all day!
Right after the match I made a very special appearance to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to visit some of the patients and participate in their annual Wii Tennis Tournament. This was the highlight of my trip, not only did I meet some amazing people and learn all about the hospital, I got to play Wii Tennis for the first time. I have to say it is not as easy as it looks but once I got the hang of it I was hooked and didn't want to stop playing! Now I understand why my little brother loves to play golf and tennis on Wii. He always talks about it and now I finally get it! It’s actually a great work-out if you move your feet and try to simulate being on court. To top off this incredible visit, my doubles partner, Sarah and I won the tournament! Her little son was rooting us on and we took pictures after the tourney and let him hold up the trophy. I give all of these families so much credit, they are all so optimistic and strong in the midst of such unfortunate circumstances. I know they will all make it thru their cancer stronger and healthier than ever. These types of visits really put life in perspective...
After my visit it was back to the courts for my second match of the day. This time Jeff and I played against Ashley and Aaron Krickstein. Being on court in the evening was even more fun than earlier in the day. The tennis venue was packed, and the fans were really enjoying the quality of play and great points, we really fed off of their great energy! Jeff and I pulled off another win, so I ended the evening undefeated, which felt great!
My first time playing in Surprise was beyond fun! I really enjoyed my time there and we are already talking about my return next year, so I can't wait!