Sam Groth and Nicole Gibbs are giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the world of professional tennis all year long in My Tennis Life. To read more updates from Sam and Nicole, go to tennischannel.com.


Reporting from Seoul, South Korea this week where I will be playing my first of four or five events in Asia this fall. Honestly, ending up at this event was unintentional. Originally, I was scheduled to play Tampico this week, then make my way over to Asia ahead of Beijing. However, I forgot to withdraw my name from the tournament in Seoul, and thus had a duplicate entry.

Since the WTA rules dictate that you cannot play the lower level tournament in this scenario, Mexico was out. My coach and I strongly considered the idea of pulling out of both events and starting my Asia swing in Wuhan, but a last minute move into the main draw convinced us that starting in Seoul was the right decision.

Gonna miss my spot ????. Wheels up to Seoul in my epic new #nbcyphers ????????????

A post shared by Nicole Gibbs (@gibbsyyyy) on

With the hectic schedule mishap, I did not get much forward notice for my departure for Asia. In fact, we decided to make the trip to Seoul the morning that I left. That meant that Thursday was a hectic day of practice, errands, packing and praying that I didn’t leave anything behind in the shuffle. Because I would be landing Saturday morning and could be playing as soon as Monday, economy was not really an option, so I splurged on a business ticket. Despite the frantic lead up to the flight and an irritating run-in with TSA at the Los Angeles airport (WARNING: DO NOT PACK PEANUT BUTTER IN YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE), the travel itself was as easy as it gets. I slept about 8 hours of the direct 13 hour flight, and arrived feeling fresh and ready to go.

Having arrived at 6 a.m. local time, my most important objective of the day was to avoid napping at all costs. I was lucky in that I had a late afternoon practice to keep me awake during the window of time I would most likely want to sleep. I made it until 8:30 p.m., and slept until 6:30 a.m. the next day. Not to brag, but last night I also slept from 9:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.; I’ve gotten pretty good at this jet lag thing.

Because of the last minute nature of the decision to compete here, I’ve decided to frame this week as preparation for the rest of my month in Asia. I have been feeling good in practice—not necessarily always hitting the ball perfectly, but having a consistent understanding of my goals and what I want to accomplish each point. I’m hoping to play and compete well here, but this week is ultimately preparation for the bigger events just around the corner. Wish me luck and I’ll check in again soon.