What a long 6 months this has been. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster but I’m grateful and excited to be able to play once again! As some of you may or may not know, I’ve been out from competition since late April due to a shoulder injury. It started ironically in March during a tournament in which I played some of my best tennis and reached my first ever Challenger final in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. During that week I had felt some pain in my right shoulder though nothing out of the ordinary, thinking it was just mild tendonitis.
I took it easy the following training week and arrived in Brazil looking forward to playing a few more tournaments on clay and hoping to peak at the French Open the following month. It was during this trip where my injury got progressively worse. With each tournament I played, the pain continued to get more and more unbearable. I was seeing the physio everyday and was repeatedly told that it was just tendonitis, ice and rest should fix it. Knowing that the French Open loomed around the corner, I decided to cut my Brazil trip short and go back home so I could properly rest and recover in time.
However, as the start of the Open approached I realized that my shoulder was not getting any better and I needed to see a doctor ASAP. After the MRI results came in I knew that my tournament plans needed revision. I was told that I had multiple ganglion cysts and a slight labral tear, surgery might be required. Realizing that my hopes of playing the French Open and Wimbledon were not going to be fulfilled was pretty devastating news. However, thanks to the constant support of my family and friends, I was able to maintain the right perception and stay postive throughout the ordeal.
After discussing with many surgeons and weighing the benefits of surgery and other treatments, I decided to undergo an aspiration. The doctor basically stuck a needle in my shoulder and was guided by an x-ray in which he was able to locate each cyst and drain all the excess fluid. It was the least invasive and quickest way to fix my problem. With this procedure, I just needed to take some more time to rest and let the the tear heal as well as do some therapy to strengthen the shoulder before I could start hitting again.
As you can imagine, I had a lot of free time on my hands throughout all of this. Being at home for 6 months with no traveling was somewhat of a shock to my system, having become so used to traveling for the last couple years on tour. This did give me a lot of time to hang out with old friends and also just do a lot of thinking about life. It’s amazing how fast paced things are while traveling every week and when you just sit back and take it all in, things definitely do get put into perspective. I was able to look back on how I’ve grown as a tennis player as well as a person in the last couple years playing on tour. I’ve been able to do something extremely unique that not many people get the opportunity to do in pursuing my dream of playing professionally.
Although it definitely has had its ups and downs, I would never trade what I’ve been able to do and experience in the last couple years, for anything. Being able to reflect on life and live somewhat as a “normal” person for a few months gave me a fresh outlook and re-ignited the passion within me to continue pursuing my dream. As soon as I got the ok to start hitting again, I tried to get as much as I could out of every training session. The last couple months, I’ve slowly been finding my game again and really can’t wait to compete. My first tournament back will be later this month in Seoul, Korea where I’ll be competing in a $50,000 Challenger. I’m eager to get back onto the right road on my journey, by learning from this brief detour I was forced to take.