The USA is the defending champion in the Connolly Cup team. Since we are back with mostly the same team, (Tina, Sherri and I were on the team last year and Mary Ginnard was a team member in 2007-9). Great Britain finished third last year and is seeded second. France finished fourth in 2010 and is seeded third. The fourth seed is Australia, who was not represented in 2010.
We are in a round robin group of three teams and we play tomorrow against the Netherlands. Netherlands finished second last year and was not seeded, since they lost their top two players, but they still have a very strong #1 player, a tough hard hitting lefty. I have played her once in singles, last year, in Mexico on red clay at 6000 feet. The conditions are quite different here, fast hard courts, fast balls but sea level. The third team in our group is Turkey. We play Turkey on Tuesday and will have Wednesday off.
We practice at 8:45 for 30 minutes, then Tina will start at #2 singles at 10am sharp. I follow immediately after she plays. Doubles will begin no more than 30 minutes after the #1 singles finishes. We play on the same court all day. We are allowed to have one teammate sit on the court during matches, and talk to the player on changeovers, which is different from a regular tournament.
The USA Women’s 50s are also seeded #1, followed by Australia, which is quite tough with both Roz Balodis, a former world champion and Kerrie Douglas, who beat Roz on hard courts in Australia last year. Great Britain may have had a good argument for the #2 seed, but their #2 player, Chris French was taken ill and is not coming. Their #3 player, Sue Bartlett, lives in Tennessee and plays intersectionals for the Southern Section, so it seems odd to see her with a British jacket.
The USA Men’s 55 are seeded second behind a very strong Australian team, led by Busby (the 2010 European 50s champion!).
All the American teams play tomorrow and Tuesday.
This afternoon we had the opening ceremonies. The players marched in with one player holding their country’s flag, then some local children entertained us with singing and dancing. It was low key and really nice.
Today the announcement was made that the World Championships for seniors in 2012 will be in San Diego, California, the 6-19 of February, at various clubs in the area.