Adam Determined to Bounce Back

By RJ Mitchell

ADAM HALL is determined that his partnership with Alex Dunn will rediscover their best form in time for next month’s European Championships.

The Scottish No.1 Men’s Doubles pairing are seeded No.3 at the Madrid Spain Masters this week where they have been handed a tricky first round draw against Japanese qualifiers Keiichiro Matsui and Katsuki Tamate later today.

The Scots are also seeded (No.5) for April’s European Championships in Saarbrucken where they are in the same quarter as top seeds and World Championship runners-up Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

With both Adam and Alex not having had their troubles to seek in terms of injury the hunt for top form continues as Adam shared: “I’ve been fine since my wrist injection but Alex has been struggling with his back issues although he seems fine this week.

“We have been playing together for seven years and there has maybe been one percent of that time where we have both been in peak condition, so this year has just been a continuation of that.

“But the bottom line is that we are professional athletes and you are never going into a year expecting to feel fully fit all the time, so you have to find a way to work round the niggles and I think every person on the World Tour will have to deal with that.

“That said it doesn’t make it any less frustrating but it goes with the territory.”

The Luck of the Draw:

When it comes to today’s meeting with Matsui and Tamate, Adam is anticipating a challenging match: “We’d love to have the draw that goes with being No.3 seeds but we didn’t quite get that. So we may have qualifiers but they are Japanese and that means a tough match in prospect and we had some work to do to get analysis of them done.”

When it came to the European Championships Adam was philosophical about his partnership’s prospects and he said: “Again, it’s not a particularly great draw as if we make the quarters it’s the toughest one we could have landed.

“So it will be a real challenge to get past Kim (Astrup) and Anders (Rasmussen), they are four in the world right now and it will take something special for us to medal this time.

“But the last two Europeans we have had quite favourable draws and we’ve cashed in on that so if we want a medal this time we will have to really work for it and we look forward to that challenge.”

Just Why The Great Danes Are Top Dogs:

Adam’s analysis of why Astrup and Rasmussen are such an excellent partnership is fascinating and he shared: “So they just complement each other really well. Kim is one of the best net court players in the world and Anders is a really solid back court player and when they are in that formation they are very tough to get on top of.

“Also they are typical Danes with their serve and return and first four shots game excellent. Also Kim has a really tricky spin serve which is very tough for us to win points off so they get a lot of cheap points just on his serve.

“Basically they have really found a style that works for them and if we want to win a European medal this time round it will be done the hard way – but that would make it even sweeter.”

With Adam and Alex sitting 26th in the ‘Race For Paris’ Olympic qualification battle, trailing England’s 18th situated Ben Lane and Sean Vendy by 10,000 points, the Scots hopes of an appearance at the Olympics are looking increasingly forlorn with just over a month left.

Reflecting on this Adam admitted: “Realistically we aren’t focusing on Paris, even if we won Spain and the Europeans we would struggle to catch them so we are just concentrating on Spain this week and finding our best form for the Europeans.”

Summer Off Season:

Taking an overview of the current campaign and projecting forward Adam admitted there is work to be done this summer and he said: “For me personally it’s been a really tough year with all the tournaments we have been doing so on the run up to the Olympics if we haven’t made it hopefully we can get a nice solid training block in.

“We need to work on a couple of things that we haven’t been able to get the training time done on as we have just been playing tournaments.

“So we need a good summer of training to help us to go deeper into tournaments and challenge rather than winning one match and losing the next.

“It’s nothing in particular, the way I look at it is that we can do 95% of things well but there are a few things we could do five per cent better and that will make the difference between losing or winning 21-19 in the third.

“Basically we have reached that stage in our career where we can challenge the top guys but not quite beat them.”

Mixing It Up:

ADAM is also in Mixed Doubles action with Julie MacPherson this week the US duo of Vinson Chiu and Jennie Gai while they also have an interesting draw at the Europeans.

Considering this Adam said: “Julie and I are playing mixed this week and then at the Europeans we have the Mairs (Jenny and Gregory) from England which is a tough draw but we have never played them before and Julie and I are good friends with them off the court.

“I’ve also coached them a bit off court at a few tournaments so hopefully I can make that knowledge count.”