Saturday 21 June
It is really nice to win the final of the Rosmalen tournament in Holland, although the circumstances surrounding the victory are obviously not the best. My fellow Belgian Justine Henin- Hardenne's decision to retire after falling on her left wrist is sad for her, but at least she does not seem to have hurt herself too badly. Straight after the match, I fly out to London. I want to settle into the house I've rented with my boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt and focus on Wimbledon as quickly as possible.
I love Wimbledon anyway, but the fact that you can live in a house during the tournament makes these two weeks even better. There's nothing quite like waking up in a home rather than a hotel. Here, you can do your own cooking and laundry, and hang out when you want - that is so much more relaxing. Mind you, our house is not exactly a quiet place at the moment, as it's packed full with my family and Lleyton's family, our coaches, physios, and also some friends. In the afternoon, I pop down to get a little practice in with Lleyton's physical trainer Roger Rasheed.
Well, it's not exactly the start I was expecting. First, Lleyton gets knocked out by a qualifier and then I win my opening match against Rossana Neffa-De los Rios 6-0 6-0. It's tough in situations like that because you feel bad for your boyfriend yet have to remain focused on your own progress. When I get home, Lleyton is obviously disappointed, but we both know that it's just one match. I know what it feels like to lose in early rounds, too, so I just give him a little space. Come the evening, the whole house decides to eat out at the Octagon House. After dinner, we go out to play some backyard cricket. As you can imagine, there's a bit of competition involved.
In the morning, I travel into London to visit some sick kids at the Great Ormond Street hospital. It's on days like these that you realise what is most important in life. It certainly puts your silly worries about tennis into context. Tennis is an important part of my life, but health is key. I practise at 1pm and then go home to have a massage. A quick bowl of pasta is followed by an early night.
Everyone expects me to waltz past Virginie Razzano in the second round, but I know how tricky she can be. She took me really close in the Hopman Cup at the beginning of the year. Her form can be a little up and down, but she can have great purple patches, so I am delighted to win through 6-1 6-3. An extra treat was being moved from Court Two to Centre Court. It's my favourite sporting arena in the world and I always get a real buzz playing there. In the evening, the whole gang return to the Octagon House for dinner followed by a major table-tennis competition. We play in teams, with Lleyton "captaining" one side and me the other. Our friends aren't great with a racket or bat, you see. Oh, just for the record, my team won.
I have the morning off, so pop out to Wimbledon Village to buy myself a cup of coffee and some magazines. People sometimes come up to me but I really don't mind that - it's all part of the charm of this event. I play my first round of doubles with Ai Sugiyama and we beat Catherine Barclay and Rachel McQuillan 6-3 6-1. Some top players don't like the doubles, but I love it because it's good practice for the singles, and is also really good fun. Ai and I laugh and joke around on the court, which takes the pressure off a lot. Later on, after supper, I find a cat outside the house. She is really sweet, so I take her in and give her some food and drink. It's lovely to be able to play around with her in the garden for the evening, but don't worry, I let her go before nightfall.
Today's 6-1 6-2 win in the third round of the singles against Samantha Reeves is particularly sweet because it means I will be here for the second week. The players always say that the key is making it to the weekend, and it's true. Suddenly, you can feel yourself relax. It makes you redouble your focus, too, because you know that the opposition from now on will be really tough, but this is what being a tennis pro is all about and I'm so pleased to be staying in London a little longer.
I'm actually really happy to have had a second-round doubles match today. Resting is all well and good, but three days off would be too long. This way, I get to loosen up the limbs, but also do extra homework on my next singles opponent... Ai. It will be weird to play against her, but we'll still be friends whatever the result on Monday. After my doubles, the entire household head into town for a spot of dinner and a musical. It's a fantastic release ahead of the really serious stuff next week, although we're saving up some of our party energy. Hopefully it might come in handy next Saturday night... after the singles' final.Reuse content