Tuesday, January 13, 2009 – Melbourne

My dear fans,

Welcome to my first blog of 2009! I’m writing to you from Melbourne, Australia, where it’s really warm, especially compared to Hong Kong, which is where I just came from. I played an exhibition there last week and it was quite cold. As you may have heard I got pretty sick there. I felt weak, had a fever and just didn’t have a lot of energy. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to play some of my matches. It was really disappointing because I went there hoping to get some good matches in before the Australian Open.

I think I met my biggest fan ever when I was in Hong Kong, which made me feel a little better about the whole situation. There was a girl there who came to see me play, and told me it was a dream come true to do so. She knows so much about me, she even knows things about me I don’t know! Haha. She made a book with lots of pictures in there, even baby pictures I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was amazing. I’m so happy to have such supportive fans out there, all over the world. They support me no matter how I’m playing, and it’s a great feeling. They give me the energy to continue getting stronger. I appreciate it so much!

I got to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon. I saw the doctor and got some medicine, which really helped. I tried to train on Monday but it was just terrible. I still had no energy and felt really bad on the court. I went back to the doctor and got more medicine. I’m off the antibiotics now, and today I’m feeling a lot better. I’m still stuffed up and coughing a little bit, but compared to how I was before, I’m really happy! In practice today I was at least able to hit balls and move around more. Before, my legs were wobbly and I felt like the racquet weighed 10 kilos in my hand! I’m just happy to be back on the court again and trying to get my rhythm back as quickly as possible, because there’s only five or six days before the tournament begins. I need to be as fit and healthy as I can for it.

One thing that’s different this year is my physique. I worked harder than ever in the off-season and feel so much stronger now. My body has changed – I have more muscles and I feel fitter. It’s new for me to feel like this, and it might take me a bit of time to adjust to it, but I’m hoping it will help me this year.

My mom has actually been more sick than I was. I think we had the same thing, but she had it much worse. I’m not sure why, it could be because I’m younger and can fight these things off more quickly. She couldn’t get out of bed for three days! She’s getting better now though, and hopefully she can come out and watch me practice tomorrow. My dad is here with us, as is my coach. It’s nice to have them all as a little team here with me.

Some people have been wondering what clothes I’ll be wearing this year because in Hong Kong last week I was wearing clothes with my initials, JJ on them. Those were my own clothes, though. I can’t tell you all what I’ll be wearing in Australia, because I haven’t signed any contracts yet. I can’t say anything until it’s made official. I hope you all like it though! Also, my contract with Prince has expired, so I will be changing racquets soon, but not yet. It takes time to get used to a new racquet, and it’s probably not the best thing to do right before a Grand Slam. I haven’t decided what racquet I’ll be changing to, but hopefully quite soon. I’ll tell you all when I know!

I’ll be writing a newspaper column during the Australian Open, for The Age. It’ll be every second day, after each of my matches. They’re paying me for it, but all of the money I make will go to UNICEF. If you can, please read it! Hopefully you’ll all enjoy it.

Today is really hot here. It’s 37 degrees! It has been tough getting better from the sickness the last few days, but now I’m going to have to get used to this too! I’m really looking forward to playing my first tournament of the year. I’m hoping for the best.

Thanks for all of your support and I’ll write to you again soon!

JJ

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