The grass court season is heading into full flow, as I finalise my preparations for the Aegon Classic this coming week in Birmingham.
However, if the latest weather forecasts are to be believed, a tournament full of disruptions is on the cards. Heavy rain showers interspersed with even heavier rain showers appear to be the predominant feature of the week, which doesn't offer cause for much optimism.
I've competed in Birmingham for the past few years now and The Edgbaston Priory Club is a fantastic venue in fine weather. However, the thought of almost 100 players along with their coaches, trainers, parents and any other members of players' ever expanding entourages packed like sardines inside the clubhouse does not fill me with joy. I have a feeling that the Apple Mac entertainment system in my hotel room will be put to good use this week.
Last week, I competed in my first grass court tournament of the year at the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham. I lost to fellow Brit, Naomi Cavaday, in the second round. Admittedly, I didn't have my best tournament, but Naomi played a good match and fully deserved to win. If you don't serve and return well on grass, the chances are you'll find yourself in trouble pretty quickly, which explains what happened to me. On the positive side, I'm pleased to have got two matches on grass under my belt, which can only help to make me feel more confident in my upcoming matches on the surface.
I've had a nagging foot injury for the last week or so, which has settled well for the most part, but still decides to misbehave on the odd occasion. It's been a challenge for me trying to exercise some self-restraint in order not to put too much pressure on my foot. Reining myself in is not my strong point, particularly when I don't feel like I've trained enough...I'm still learning the concept that rest is the best solution sometimes!
I've just finished my final assignment for the Social Sciences course I'm doing with the Open University. It possibly wasn't the best idea to write it whilst watching the launch show of “Big Brother” as it was barely legible when I re-read it the following day – the BB lingo didn't seem to fit too well into academic literature! My brain cells don't know what hit them, but at least they can now enjoy a break, before my next course begins towards the end of the year and I continue to work my way towards a Business Studies degree.
I wouldn't say I'm particularly passionate about studying business, but I would just like to be able to understand it. Right now, when I look at the business pages of the paper, it would make no difference what symbols were used or if they were written in English, Chinese or Ancient Greek! I ought to be good at the accountancy modules as Maths was by far my strongest subject at school, but I'm most looking forward to studying the marketing aspect of business. Tennis has always been my biggest priority, but I think it's healthy to pursue other activities as well. There can be a lot of dead time at tournaments, so it's an ideal opportunity to keep my brain ticking and broaden my knowledge.
I haven't really thought about what I want to do when I stop playing tennis. At the moment, I'm quite happy doing what I'm doing, but I know I can't play tennis professionally for ever. I would quite like to stay involved in tennis, as it's had such a big impact on my life. However, working in the media is an idea that appeals to me.
I have been drawn to play fellow Brit, Melanie South in the first round of the Aegon Classic, which is quite ironic as we know each other so well and often train together. In fact, we're only separated by one day in age, with me being the elder (and the wiser, as I like to joke!). It's never easy to play against somebody you're so familiar with, but it's the same for both players and it definitely doesn't affect your desire to win!
Hopefully, the rain clouds will eventually subside and allow the tournament to get under way.
Katie O'Brien is part of Team AEGON, the elite squad of British tennis players.