The airport in Amsterdam was exactly what I expected, – classic colors, odd white toilets, and lots of lights. The customs officers didn’t even glance my way as I walked through, and immigration officer simply smiled at me and stamped my passport with a “enjoy your stay in Netherlands,” Her smile matched her accent – long and carefully pronounced.
The lady who helped with my train ticket walked me through the changes and how the train worked. And while the different sized euro bills make a mash of your wallet most things worked smoothly.
The things I didn’t expect were the lush jungle like farmland filled with little sheep, the way people wear winter parkas on summer like days through the sunshine, or how no one is ever remotely on time. The last one surprised me the most.
The little tiny roads, and electric super slim semi trucks fit right in with the little electric cars and tiny fences and quaint little houses. The tall talkative people that can swap between more languages than I can count in brought up self made memories of every spy book I have read.
I didn’t spend much time in Amsterdam as the tournament was in Almere. Almere, an Uber driver told me, is only 40 years old. The whole city, from the land it was built on is new. “Here in Holland we even build our own land,” he told me.
The Venue for the BWF Yonex Dutch Open was beautiful. 4 courts in a wonderful stadium. The shuttles were a little slow, but nothing aggressive. White seating meant it was hard to see when there weren’t many fans.
In the same building but across the hallway was another gym with 16 practice courts. An amazing set-up which allowed us to practice twice a day on the lead up to the tournament as well as every morning before matches began.
I played against a player from India with the trickiest hands I have faced. A few things became really clear watching the video of myself losing – I need more speed, and more attack. While I rallied well with, and the game had its ups and downs, and there were definitely some tactical errors on my part, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was that when I built myself the chance in the rally I wasn’t speeding up enough to take advantage of it. There were other technical and tactical things of course, which will be added to my training. But thats a whole other story!
In doubles we won our first match against a Netherland and Irish pair, and then lost out to a faster paced Malaysian pair.
The Dutch Open moved my ranking up to 267 in the world.
I am currently in Czech Republic for the BWF Li-Ning Czech International Series. I play my first doubles at 9am local time on Thursday, and then my singles at 1:40pm.
Thank you everyone for your support!
If you would like to help me on my journey financially you can contact me about sponsorship opportunities or donate through this LINK.