Hello from Dubai! I came here straight from Rotterdam on Friday morning, going from Amsterdam to Munich and Munich to Dubai. It's not as long, but it's six hours and six hours during the night is quite tough. I was trying to sleep in the flight a little bit, but the first day was very tough because I was sleeping only three or four hours. But I tried a little bit to practice and get used to these conditions since I came from Europe where it is really cold.
I met with my parents on Saturday, who arrived to be here with me and to have some holidays because in the Czech Republic it was cold and they had some snow coming. For them I think it's a fantastic week. They did the same thing last year. They really liked the place and everything, and they like to see tennis. They want to go somewhere with me and see some matches, so they're going to be staying here with me all the week. I'll be here until Saturday for sure, and then I'll be going to the States, to Indian Wells, and that's the long trip! If it's just straight from Dubai to Europe it's okay, but when it's more than 12 hours it's going to be tough.
On Saturday, I did the draw ceremony for the first time at a tournament and it was something special. I expected I would be somewhere in the office and just take numbers and they'd do the draw. I didn't think it'd be so huge with a press conference where they'd ask you something, and so many people like the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates. It was very nice.
Before the draw, we were talking who was going to play Marcos because he was one of the guys who is not seeded, so he could play Roger or play Rafael. It turned out that his was the last number to stay in the trophy from where we were taking the numbers, which meant that he would play Rafael. We were talking how once here Federer and Safin played in the first round the year Safin won the Australian Open. They are very interesting matches, and it's just good for the tournament.
Today, I had my first match. I just came to the club in the morning to have some warm-up, then just ate quick lunch to be ready for my match. Somebody said you're just playing with a wild card, and it's somebody who is not traveling to many tournaments. And then you come to court and he's playing really well, last year he played a great match with Roger, so it was very tough. Also, when you come from the tournament indoor, that's something tough. But I'm very happy that I made it.
My parents and I want to go back for dinner tonight to a really nice place close to the Burj Al Arab, the Madinat resort, where you sit in some small boat and they take you to some restaurant. We went to a Japanese restaurant on Saturday, and today we are going for steak. Because I'm not going to play tomorrow, it's my day off, then we have some more time to spend. When you're traveling, there's some traffic, so it'll be good not to spend all night in the car!
I was told that there is some tradition that player who does the blog wins, like Tommy Haas did last week from Memphis, so if it's tradition, it's going to be great for me especially when I'm right now in Dubai and the draw is so tough. If it's tradition and if it works, I'm going to be very happy. But, I need to have a great week.
We changed the plan
for the dinner last night, but we still had a nice evening yesterday.
My parents and I went to the Emirates Towers where we found a beautiful
restaurant for sushi. We went there with Petr Pala, and he's spent some
more time than me here in Dubai so he took us to the really nice bar on
the 51st floor in the building. It was with a beautiful view for the
whole city and everything, so it was really nice.
With the Czech guys on the tour, we are getting close every single week because it's many of the doubles guys and the singles guys, and we're spending so much time. Especially for the dinners and everything, we're going often together.
Today was good, just with one practice around lunchtime. I hit one-and-a-half to two hours with Petr, who is my doubles partner, and I had one interesting conversation with Jacco Eltingh from the Player Board. We were talking about some new rules and new schedule and I got a lot of new information.
Now I'm enjoying this nice evening at the Player Party for the tournament. I'm already here for the third time and every year it's better and better. This year for the first time, I was riding on the big camel, so it was really interesting. It is always interesting if you can do something for the first time.
My parents are with me here tonight, and they were here last year for the party too. My mother was for the first time also on the camel. This is fantastic for them, and for me, too, because we're from a small city. I've already spent so much time on the tour, but for them it's so much experience, so much new things to do. That's nice for them. Maybe they want to go on some tour, like go to the desert, so that's going to be also something interesting. I've never been there, so if I can maybe if I'm going to be out of the tournament, then maybe I can spend some time there. But I'm on the blog and last week Tommy won the tournament, so I'm trying to keep this going!
Tomorrow is going to be a long day because I'm going to play singles 4 o'clock in the afternoon, take some rest, and then I'm going to play doubles. So I'm going to play pretty long, but that's our life.
I will stay at the party just a little longer and then go back to the hotel. It's 9:30pm already, but with the time difference for this zone, I don't like it. From Europe it's just three hours. If it's five or six, then you are dead the first day, and the next day it is better and you are used to the time. With three hours, I cannot sleep in the night and then in the morning I will sleep till 11 o'clock. That's always a problem, here and in India. When I'd been last year in Mumbai, I just stayed on European time. I went to sleep 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, wake up 12 and my matches start at 5. So it was like a normal day in Europe. But I still did well - I made the final - so maybe I should keep doing this!
I had two matches today. One I lost, one I won, so this day was fifty-fifty, it can be better but still it can be worse. If I could choose, for me maybe it would've been better to win the singles one, but Mikhail was too good today. He was playing with a lot of confidence from the last week when he won the tournament.
Of course after the match I was sad and thinking what I should do better, but for me, it always takes like half an hour and then everything is fine. We also had one match before our doubles, so I stayed in the players lounge and watched some news from what's going on in my country. I try to follow the news a lot so I can know all the things what are happening in the time when I'm not at home.
Yesterday was also the last day with the trades between the hockey teams, so I checked what happened there, and none of my friends were traded, just the guys from Canada and other countries. For tennis you know you're traveling every single week, going to another city, another place, but your base is still the one place. But for ice hockey, you're staying in one team for one, two, five, ten years and then one day they're going to say, "see you and you're going to the other part of the States." You can play in New York and the next day they want you in Los Angeles. They have to be used to this situation, but it could be strange.
When we went to the court for the doubles, I was talking with one of my friends here and was asking if we're going to lose, what am I going to do with my day off. I really like cart racing, so I asked where is some race track, and he said there is a fantastic one half an hour away from here. He said I could call him and he would arrange it, so I said fine, that's great. I told him that we had tough opponents (Martin Damm and Leander Paes) who also won last week. But we just went to the court and won, so all the plans are different now! I played with Petr once before and we lost so easy, and today it was completely different and also really great. The blog streak is still alive. Even if it's for doubles, it still counts!
On Monday, I played doubles with one of the ball kids and we also won. It was good, and they gave us an award, it's not a poster, but like a picture on the wall but bigger and has something inside Arabian-style. It's pretty nice. It's something special that shows you've been in Dubai and these are the special things we did. We also got a gift package when we arrived with a small shisha in the framed box, so I already have two of these! Some people have tried shisha and somebody said try, but I have never even tried smoking. I don't like the smell. It's not for me!
I just saw the schedule and we're going to play 4 o'clock tomorrow, so it won't be so tough or strict for the schedule. So maybe in the morning, I'll go to look at the shops, maybe buy some new games for the PlayStation.
Because I was sleeping long, there was no time for breakfast because everything was closed so I just came to the site. I went to the gym, had lunch, and went to the warm-up before our match. We started 4 o'clock our match, and it was my last this week, but what can I do. That's the sport. We have to just be ready for the next matches, next week in the season. Now it's like better part of the day for me. Petr made reservations for good restaurant in Jumeirah Beach so we're going to see how is going to be the evening there and I hope I'm going to enjoy it.
I'm going to leave Sunday morning because I'm going to go straight from here to Munich, and then Munich to Los Angeles. In Munich, I'm going to meet with my coach. Also, Lucie, my girlfriend, we're going to meet in the plane on the way to Los Angeles. So we're going to be a big party and we're going to take the car in Los Angeles and ride to Palm Springs.
Lucie and I text message, make phone calls, and now all the time use Skype. It's very good. You can spend so much time on that. That's only way how we can talk and communicate when we're not together. We go to some tournaments together during the season, like Indian Wells, Miami, then all four Grand Slams. We try before some big tournaments like the US Open to go one more week before. So, I think anyway it can be better, it can be worse. But if it's like this, I'm happy with that.
Tomorrow it's going to be definitely one day off because I'm little bit feeling not too well "something from air conditioning" so I'm going to be resting. But Petr just told me to say that my schedule for tomorrow is you're going to start on the skis, then you're going to go to the water park, and then you finish the day on the kart racing. I don't know it's going to be so busy how he said, but I think one from these three options is going to be there for sure! I would say it's going to be the kart racing. It's always fun, and everywhere I have a chance, then I'm trying to go. When I saw the racing here, it looked pretty nice. Everywhere in Europe it's just indoors so it's small, but here it's outdoor and nice race track, so I hope also I'm going to take some pictures from there.
That's really good with Petr because he can organize for me all the schedule. It's good he's now on just the doubles, but he's traveling with us for the Davis Cup team, and he's doing all the stuff around the team, if we need arranged around the practice and all the things. So now we are taking him back on the tour and we're just asking please just make the reservations for the restaurant, and you know, I would like to go there, please can you arrange it for me. And he says, "No, this is not Davis Cup. Now it's all your way, and if it's going to be Davis Cup I'm going to be doing it for you, but not now." But he always wants to make sure that we can go places and it's going to work and everything.
I usually don't have so much time to go out when I'm on the road, but it depends. Last year, I'd been in Rome and we went to the Coliseum and all those places. So, sometimes it's good and sometimes when you lose, then you want to go as soon as possible home and then there's no time to see anything. Here in Dubai there's so many things to see and so many things to do. I always like to coming back here.
I'll post one more entry since I'll have more pictures and more interesting things that aren't just tennis. For sure we're going to something from those activities. I have to fight for the kart racing, that's for sure, and then if Petr wants to go the aqua park, that's no problem!
I promised pictures from our day, but my mom has the camera right now and she is still shopping so I will update the blog with my photos later!
Last night at Jumeirah Beach was fantastic. We were sitting on the restaurant that was part of the Jumeirah Beach hotel complex with all the pools. On the right was the huge Burj Al Arab hotel, so it was a beautiful view and nice weather not so cold, not so windy. There was some Thai and Malaysian buffet, so it was something different. Then we finished again with Petr in the bar. It was in the Jumeirah on the top floor, where there is small balcony with a couple of tables. We were just sitting there with a view of the entire city.
Today I was a little tired because at 10 o'clock we went to the Emirates Mall to see the ski, but it's not for me because I'm still not feeling well for skiing. To go there was too cold, and I didn't feel enough ready for it. But we went around shopping and we took the lunch there. For the afternoon, Petr's friend who's living here took us to the Dubai Autodrome which is about 15 minutes from the Emirates centre. We just came there and it was quite busy so we had to wait a little bit. There are two courses: one is for normal, big cars, and one is for kart racing. So we went to see what was going on on the big one. There was some races on the motorbikes, so we just watched this and it was pretty exciting. Then we set the time for our racing. We went for 15 minutes, had off 15-20 minutes, and then went once more for 15 minutes.
I was first time on the kart which is under open sky because in Europe most of these circuits is in big garage which is indoor. This was something absolutely different. It was pretty nice. I like it, so I can enjoy it a lot. First time it was getting used to it and our time laps were getting better and better. There were about 20 people on the track at the same time, so we could be racing and you had some people passing, so it was pretty exciting. It was quite big, it's 1.3 km long, so we just don't go around or something. You have some opponents, people in front of you, some people behind you. It's pretty good. We didn't race against each other, so if somebody made mistake, we just waited for the other from us. Then for the times, in the first 15 minutes I was the best. In the second 15, Petr was the best. It was quite good also with the weather because it was not so hot.
And also, it was the first time I went and I see just the desert with nothing around. It's a little bit from the city, but just from the city where it's not the buildings. That's really nice. Something different.
Now I'm trying to get the plane for tomorrow morning. I want to try and go home for one more day, then take the flight Sunday to Los Angeles. If it's going to be available, then I'm going to go tomorrow morning around 9 o'clock. Some of the flights are busy and full, but maybe I'm going to get my place. Still I have to pack all my stuff, and that's the worse thing from the traveling for me. But, it's every week the same so I'm getting used to it.
So we have last night here and I think Petr organized some dinner at the Creek, which is not so far from here, and it's like nice place "something around the water" so we're going to see some new place again.
Thanks for reading my blog this week, and follow more of the tennis. If there's more fans, it's just even better for the sport.
COURTESY ATP SITE