Wednesday, 27 April 2011
A Day in the Life
Haven't posted all week so thought I'd pick an interesting day to tell you about in full detail. It's one of the busiest weeks of the calendar with 5 tournaments on, so should be plenty of variety to get stuck into and give an insight into a fairly typical day on the ladders.
Got up and started to prepare for the day's work. Always begins with a good breakfast with some whole grain fibre for the mind and a cup of ginseng tea as a healthier (and much more successful) energy boost than caffeine.
Games don't start till 11am today, which gives me time to go out for a walk. I like to do this most days, as it not only gets me some fresh air and exercise to help loosen me up for trading but on busy days like today, it can often be the only chance I get to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Start preparing myself for trading. This sometimes involves a self-hypnosis session which can last anywhere between 15 mins and an hour but I decide I don't require one today. I usually have one when I'm not feeling so good, maybe a little tired or de-motivated or even anxious. Today however, I feel good and so get straight to deciding on my goals for the day. As always, they are never monetary. I always set myself something to achieve each day and this is usually based on my performance over recent days. I had noted that over the past few days, I had begun to jump into games too quickly. I'd also started to get a little pent up with frustration and had boiled over a few times. These were old traits coming back to haunt me and I wanted to work on nipping them in the bud today. So my goal was to do nothing at all during the first 2 games of every match I was watching, just to get me used to being more patient. I also wanted to try re-setting my emotional state before each match i.e. getting rid of any negative feelings and being totally neutral, not carrying over any baggage. I also wanted to make sure I was still continually talking through each game, which is something I'd also neglected recently.
Last but by no mean least, I get a glass of water and a banana at the ready for sustenance and hydration!
Lots to choose from kicking-off at 11 but decided I'd go with Baghdatis v Dimitrov first. No particular reason other than it was on Bet365 and I was a bit fed up with watching WTA this week. There have been a lot of awful matches, at least, most of the ones I've been involved with have been! I normally choose WTA over ATP but was interested in seeing this young Bulgarian again. Many of his shots are scarily similar to Roger Federer's, especially the drop-shot and the back-hand, which are identical. He even dressed like the great man today! But it was Baghdatis who started better, getting the only break of the first set. I missed the huge market movement and so there wasn't much I could do except lay Baggy and hope for a break-back. He was too low for my liking considering how poor his form has been. I remember at the start of the year, everyone fancied the new slim-line Baggy to make waves but he seems to have gone backwards. Maybe he should bring back the gut? He certainly lived up to that promise at the start of this match though and I couldn't see any way that Dimitrov would pull this one back. His return game was atrocious and Baghdatis was playing his very best tennis. I decided to cut my losses and red-out.
Move onto the WTA Barcelona, where Alex Dulgheru played local Spaniard Cabeza-Candella. Thought Alex was a bit short but I don't place any bets pre-match. Would've collected if I had done, as the local girl zoomed into an early break. I waited for Dulgheru to show signs of life and then got on her but she failed to carry the momentum for long. For some reason, she looked terrific on serve, being aggressive and winning points easily but as soon as she was receiving she'd go overly-cautious, moon-balling and dropping the ball in short and centre-court, which was easy for Cabeza to mop up. I had to work to keep my frustration in check, as she threw away break-points. These games can be a nightmare to trade, where break-points are easily made but then just as easily thrown away with some ludicrous play. I'd been having this problem all week with the WTA, so I got out and moved on, as I didn't trust either of them.
Over to Munich for a game I was really looking forward to watching - Youhzny v Petschner. Two flamboyant, technically brilliant players but capable of moments of complete madness. I like trading on them though as they are easy to read - when they are off, they go completely, ridiculously off but when they are on it, you sure know about it! Petschner was on fire for the first set, so was a no-brainer to go with him at the right point. He broke Youhzny and then held serve. I didn't trust him to continue in that vein though. Some of his play was extraordinary but he did indeed get broken on his next service game. Thankfully, I was out already.
Had a dabble on the Serbian Open, where Berrer faced Montanes. Michael Berrer is one of my fave players to back on serve, as when he is on form, he rarely ever gets broken. Once he'd broken Montanes, I was on the German for a pretty straight-forward trade. Was keeping an eye on the scoreboard showing the Estoril WTA, as there were several matches on at once but none of them took my fancy. Noticed that Baghdatis had somehow dropped set 2 (throwing away match point) and decided to get the stream back up. He was now clearly flagging, whilst Dimitrov was Federer-esque, a complete turn-around from set 1. It was an easy decision to get on Dimitrov and I managed to clear all my red. I only wish I'd stayed in for the whole set for a big win but didn't want to risk going back into the red, especially with the big swings that are prevalent in the final set - I very rarely trade it. Bit gutted I didn't stick with my initial lay of Baggy earlier in the day but I went with my gut at the time. Baghdatis had 3 break points to go a set and a break up and squandered them all. He was not the same after that but I'd already gotten out, thinking he was bound to convert one. He still had match point later on though, so if I'd stayed in, I was only one point away from losing my whole liability anyway. You can't predict these things and have to stick with your plan and play it safe. It's swings and roundabouts with these things and I don't let it affect me these days.
Had my eye on Radwanska v Larsson in Estoril, as I felt there'd be fluctuations aplenty. Nothing solid quite materialised though and without a stream, I wasn't confident in getting involved. Felt myself getting irritable after a slow start to the day and knew it was time for a lunch break.
During my break I keep a record of all my trades on paper as I go along. I always record what I actually made and what I SHOULD have made if I'd followed my strategy properly. This aids me to keep track of where I'm going wrong, so I can rectify it in future. It also spurs me on, as usually, if I have made a mistake, I can see what should have happened, which usually would have been profit. So I not only focus on the negative but also the positives.
I also do my stretch routines for my body and eyes, which really make a huge difference to my overall comfort levels. If I get time, I try to get any chores out the way and go for a run or lift some weights. In the past I've not taken proper breaks and it has affected my trading, so I always make sure I eat, exercise and clear the mind properly these days.
Back to Belgrade and the return of Fernando Gonzalez continues. He did remarkably well yesterday considering how long he's been out but I didn't expect him to prove much trouble for Feliciano Lopez, who has been playing well of late. I was wrong though and he put up a strong opposition in a serve dominated match. Was more like a hard-court game than clay and so was difficult for me to trade. I backed both on serve a couple of times and was successful. But I got greedy in this game and kept a back bet up on Lopez into set 2, something I don't normally do. He didn't forge ahead as I'd hoped and Gonzo looked dangerous so got out for minor losses. This game summed up why I don't normally choose ATP over WTA. Hardly any breaks and quite one-dimensional for the most part. Rewards for backing on serve were very small too.
Back to the ladies and the lovely Gisela Dulko v Lucie 'The Monster' Hradecka. Her nickname was inspired by one of the best quotes I've ever seen on the Betfair forum (which I now never frequent and don't miss one bit!), where someone wrote: 'Hradecka looks like a monster - let's hope she plays like one too'. It tickled me for some reason! Today, she did play like a monster. After 2 games of her usual horrible double-faulting and massive over-hitting, she got her serve together and I always fancied her to break back against the weakling that is the luscious Gisela. I just love watching the Argentine because she's one of the most graceful, feminine players on the tour, with her huge, languid back-swings, loopy forehands and placid demeanour. Job-done in fairly quick-time - cheers monster!
Noticed that Youhzny v Petschner had been rain-delayed and so brought the stream back for a peek. The German was back to playing like he was a genius again and I could sense that he was safe to back on serve following a break. Topped up my green from earlier with little fuss. Again, could have carried him to the set but those 3rd set swings can eat you alive if you make just one error!
Tsonga v Cuevas in Estoril looked a mouth-watering proposition. Cuevas has been brilliant all year on the slower surfaces and today was no exception. Tsonga just wasn't at the races and does struggle with his movement and serve-domination on the red-dirt. In form Cuevas v out of sorts Tsonga on clay = easy money. I could've carried this one on for longer into set 2, such was the Uruguayan's dominance but after doing just that with Lopez earlier and losing my profit, I decided to wrap things up on a good note.
I much prefer to get out as early as possible and move on to another game, rather that stay in and build up more profit. This works two ways. Firstly, I won't be frustrated at losing that green, which could potentially see me start chasing. Worse still, you can end up losing AND missing out on other games that were on but have now finished. Secondly, it gives me the variety I need with my trading. Sticking with one game for hours bores me. I'd much rather re-charge my batteries, have a quick break and move onto a new, fresh challenge. The more games I watch, the more info I have on players and this can make me money on future matches. I'm not one for researching stats as I find that once a game gets underway, they can often just go out the window anyway. I only care about current form - who they have been playing and HOW they've been playing. Stats don't always tell you that. So watching games is 90% of my research.
Had a watch of Razzano v Rybarikova but my dinner needed attending to just as it was getting underway. Besides, it had that commentator I hate on it, the one who is clearly dyslexic and can't get the letters in order or pronounce correctly anyone's name. I have to mute when he's on as he truly pisses me off. Time to end the day's trading and prepare for El Classico Champions league Semi Final - no betting of course!! Not before going over my goals though. I felt I achieved them all today. At times I was frustrated by the WTA muggery on the clay but I'm getting used to it now! Just need to be more picky with my entry points and more patient, which I was today. My only disappointment was perhaps being a little too cautious at some points, where I could've stayed in for a game or two more. But it's easy to say that in hind-sight. A goal I'd set myself for this week was to concentrate on containing losses rather than gaining profit, so I certainly achieved that today. Overall, a good day and I'm now considering upping my stakes a little. Am I ready for that added pressure? Something to ponder tonight...........