A big breakthrough (4.0 vs 4.5)!
I'm 6 months in to my comeback..I'm a 4.0 with a goal of improving to 4.5.
Well, I put it all together yesterday, playing a very solid 4.5 who has beaten me handidly the last 5 times we've played.
We split sets (I had a set point in the first, and won the 2nd) and were halfway through the 3rd when our court time ran out, but more importantly, I played fantastic, hitting winners, playing defensive when needed, but staying aggressive. My opponent was amazed at my improvement.
The breakthrough? Fitness and footwork. I worked hard on building stamina by playing pickup basketball of all things. I was gasping for air and cramping playing basketball because its such an intense workout, but I started getting my wind after playing a few times. Playing yesterday, it all paid off...my only strategy was to get to every ball and run, run run. And my stamina was there like it never had been before.
My fitness also helped me improve my footwork to get to shots earlier and hit them better. I was hitting shots on the run i never hit before.
He would hit his severe angles, and I would get to them. He'd try drop shots, I would reach them. Lobs and I would run back and get them. I no longer admired my shots but assumed they would be coming back hard and at an angle.
If I could have nailed more first serves and cut down on the double faults (through in about 10) I would have won going away. Have I reached 4.5 level? No, but I feel a lot more confident, and fitness was the key to hit the shots I'm capable of. A great feeling.