Normally at this time of year I would be preparing the blog for the new season. Things are a little different this year because my brother and I are heading to Australia for the summer of tennis. We have been preparing this holiday for the past year and I cannot believe it’s almost here!
We are beginning our journey to Perth on New Year’s Day where we will start our tennis extravaganza at the Hopman Cup. We have bought a day and a night session including Switzerland vs. USA on the Thursday night. While most people will be there for Roger Federer, i’ll probably be more excited to watch Belinda Bencic! After a few days in Perth, we fly onto Sydney where we plan to explore the city and have one day at the Sydney International. Then the trip will take a detour from tennis as we are flying up to the Whitsunday Islands. Finally, we will finish our once-in-a-lifetime trip in Melbourne with four days at the Australian Open. It’s always been a dream of mine to visit the AO and I think this will be the highlight of the trip to complete my Career Slam!
I’ve been reflecting a lot during this off-season and wanted to share some of my feelings about the past year and the blog in general. Moo’s Tennis Blog has been a big part of my life since I started writing regularly in 2012 and I am so grateful for the opportunities. Without doubt my proudest achievement has been getting media accreditation for Eastbourne for the past two years – stressful, scary but ultimately rewarding!
2017 was definitely the most challenging year and maintaining the blog has become increasingly difficult against my full-time day job and general life. This sport is so full-on and i’ve stupidly tried to cover everything in the past which is not sustainable. I think that writing the blog non-stop for so many years has finally caught up with me and may explain why my motivation waned during 2017. The WTA’s lack of a streaming platform for seven months certainly didn’t help!
Having built the blog up from nothing to having a small dedicated band of followers, I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep it going. Sometimes too much. There were moments in 2017 where it was really getting to me and it did take away from the enjoyment of writing, the reason why I started in the first place. Eastbourne and Wimbledon were memorable, but I was shattered when I went back to work! By the end of the season, it was the first time where i’ve been excited for the off-season.
I am way past the glory days of 2014 when I was writing about women’s AND men’s tennis. I have absolutely no idea how I did it. Perhaps i’m getting old! I’ve never made any money from the site and that was never my intention when I started out, but there was a time when I became a bit too obsessed on the stats and visitor numbers, and simply getting previews out there to maintain numbers.
I’ve always enjoyed making predictions and they’ve been my biggest draw. However, it became more of a chore to me in 2017 to keep the predictions pages updated and I didn’t enjoy it as much, even when my predictions were sometimes respectable! Add to that, the unpredictability of women’s tennis – making predictions has become somewhat futile. My focus has slowly shifted away from previews/predictions to writing the Set Points posts in 2017. I wanted to try something different and I feel these types of posts, while not as popular, have more longevity on the site compared to previews that are useless once a match has finished.
I have really enjoyed the off-season and taking more time to relax and focus on my other hobby of baking. Normally I spend much of the off-season planning for the new tennis season but I haven’t done so this year. The only thing I have done is change the header of the site which desperately needed an upgrade! I’ve also stepped away from Twitter. I used to check it constantly and I don’t think it was good for me. I’ve made a real effort to cut back and not be so reliant on it. The amount of negativity upsets me so I think stepping back was the right move.
Not writing daily posts for the Australian summer of tennis is going to be weird. I think it comes at the right time and will give me an opportunity to ponder where I want to take the blog. I don’t know the next time, if ever again, when i’m going to have a whole month off work so i’m really trying to enjoy and savour this moment. I’m intending to blog about my experiences, both tennis and non-tennis, when I get back from Australia. These types of posts are my favourite to write and I plan to do something similar to what I did for New York and the US Open HERE.
This is also a good time to shout out for guest posts if any of you are visiting tournaments in 2018. I’m honoured to have worked with many of you to share a total of 17 awesome posts over the past two years – see the full list HERE. I hope these previous guest posts, and my upcoming posts from Australia, will give you the inspiration and motivation to want to contribute to Moo’s Tennis Blog for the upcoming year. For anyone interested, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can keep up with my travels in Australia on various social media platforms – i’ll put up more Aus stuff on Instagram and only tennis stuff on Twitter.
Twitter: James Peeling / @Moo_Tennis https://twitter.com/Moo_Tennis
Facebook: Moo’s Tennis Blog – https://www.facebook.com/MooTennis
Instagram: James Peeling / mootennis – https://www.instagram.com/mootennis
If any of you are attending the Hopman Cup, Sydney or the Australian Open then do please get in touch! It would be great to say hello :-).
This was a longg post but I really wanted to explain, for those that care, how I am feeling and the plans for the future. If you’ve got any comments about the coverage here then please do get in touch at MooTennisBlog@gmail.com or on social media. While I am generally planning to cut back on blogging in 2018 for my own sanity, I am not planning on hanging up my blogging boots just yet. I am so grateful for all the support over the years and all the comments, and while I may not be as active as before, I hope that you will stick with me. There may be the odd post in January but otherwise, i’ll hopefully be back to writing at the end of January.
Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!