Sticking To The Same System
Rhonda Rajsich isn't doing anything differently. After her win over Paola Longoria in Stockton, her thoughts were still focused on putting in the same type of hard work.
Rhonda doesn't feel as though she had done anything differently in Stockton, even though there was a ton of history there. The last time they had met in the 209 was over two years ago. And it was also the last time Rhonda had scored a victory over Longoria. In between, she had lost 22 consecutive matches to Paola. Whether she feels it or not, it's definitely a monkey off her back...a confirmation for her process. "I am not doing anything differently...Just still working hard at executing, fine tuning and developing the same system I have been training for years, far before the last two. I don't feel any different after winning. Still have to come home and keep working at it." says Rajsich.
She went on and offered up, "And to answer the next question, (she knows me so well,) NO, I don't think she played poorly or did anything differently in her game either. We both fought hard and she still played excellent. It's not the first time we've battled close, I just got to be the windshield instead of the bug for a change. But she still played great and I am still working hard and I will continue to do so."
Wanting to know if she was doing anything differently was sparked by sudden news that Rhonda had beaten Paola a second time in a row at an event in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. For most people, it was a surprise that they were even playing there, even for those of us who work hard to follow what's happening in the sport. The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour had the info/article of Rhonda's win posted on their related social feeds. It was an IRT satellite event operated outside of the LPRT, and it's not hard to speculate that Longoria's participation (as the 3 other women,) was facilitated to considerably enhanced the event in Mexico media-wise.
I pushed another question on Rhonda... whether she felt Paola "change" with pressure after having lost to her the previous time before they met in Mexico. She responded as such, "I don't know that I'd call it a "change", but I felt like she played with something to prove in Mexico... for me it didn't matter, there was nothing at stake except putting on a good show, and I viewed it as a paid vacation. But it's in my nature to compete. I got killed the first game and was down 7-0 in the second. Next thing I know I'm down 10-5. I blink and I won 12-10. Don't Ask me how..."
For Paola, there could understandably be pressure to re-assert her position. Though she is a long way from conceding her world #1 spot. As long as she has that, she'll manage to keep getting tweets asking her for autograph opportunities. It's not hard to speculate she may have felt an added pressure playing in Mexico. It's going to be really interesting to watch how things play out in her namesake Grand Slam next month.
For Rhonda however, she's still in her same place, but maybe with a bit more confidence in her work ethic. She'll still have to contend with an aggressive Maria Jose Vargas at some point to grab more victories. Though Rajsich has lost in recent meetings, they've been really close matches and momentum seems to be in Rhonda's box. But her immediate goal is to focus on coming out on top of the next chart, which just happens to be in Mexico...which will lead to a good chance of taking back the #2 spot. To finish off her last quote, "...but I feel good about my training and I feel good about what I still have to learn and that's exciting."