The 24-year-old Peter Bothwell is the top-ranked Northern Ireland player, although he is yet to break into the top-400. During the season, the Belfast native works at the SotoTennis Academy in Spain, playing mostly on the Futures Tour and struggling to break even at the end of the year, like all the other lower-ranked competitors.
Due to a coronavirus, the entire tennis season has been halted at least until the second part of July, with realistic chances for a break to last even longer. Like the entire Tour, Bothwell has been forced to sit at home in Northern Ireland and wait for some positive news about the restart, hoping to get back on the court as soon as possible.
Taking online classes set by his Academy, Peter has been working on the tactical aspects of his game, trying to find the right patterns in certain points and improve his shots in the pivotal moments, an area where Roger, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are so good at.
Mentioning the world's leading players, Bothwell said to the News Letter that they win around 55% of the points in the match, staying focused in those that matter the most and drawing all their victories from that segment of the game.
"Tour got delayed back another month or two and I think it will probably be longer because travel is going to be so tough," Bothwell said to News Letter. "You can't do an international circuit straight after the return.
The academy where I'm based in Spain has set up an online classroom and we have daily tasks to do. I'm working a lot on the tactical and mental side of the game, going through patterns of play, things I feel I could add to my game, looking at different plays at different times in a match.
There has been a lot of that and also understanding my sport better. I've been looking at a lot of stats, which I think is important to see what other guys are doing and to learn from them and implement it into your own game.
Tennis really is such a mental sport towards the top of the game. Guys from the top can mentally tolerate losing points better than anyone. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal win only about 55 percent of their career points, so they have to tolerate losing as well and they do a great job with that.
I've been doing a few things on the mental side, like working on routines. Playing in Futures, I don't make money anyway but now I'm not getting any cash at all; that's difficult. It's tough because this is the time of year where all the tournaments are outside on slow hard courts, which suits my game the best; we could be possibly missing that part of the season depending on when we go back.
My ranking has slipped a little bit and I would love to get up around top-500 as soon as possible in singles and then take it from there. The doubles ranking has been so good that I want to flow with it, but trying to get into the top-400 or top-350 would be the goal."