Day 7: Evening event pics plus Friday match – USA vs. Great Britain

The evening dinner was a very nice event, and it’s always fun to see how nice all our friends clean up. Our boys looked very dapper in their sports coats, the whole group looked very elegant. The pictures are a bit grainy, as I opted to leave the big camera at home and just relied on my trusty iPhone. Some of them turned out a bit dark. Sorry about that.

You can see that teammate Ken White enjoys his desserts, and lucky for him there are many options to choose from here. Both Megan and I are sporting scarves we purchased at the local bazaar. They are beautifully made, and definitely made our outfits for the evening. I was surprised that the shopkeeper that we purchased them from was a woman. I’ve read that this is very unusual for Turkey. Anyway, back to tennis!

Tom started us off right today against GB with his usual enthusiasm and his discriminating hard, lefty forehand. He had his opponent on the run from the start. Tom forced an early break, got on top and stayed there. He kept the pressure on, and while there were many interesting and varied points, he was able to dominate this match from early on.

His opponent, Neale Graham, was serving 2-5 and had begun making a bit more errors than earlier in the match. He pulled out some amazing shots to be sure, but then would miss some easy ones, much to his chagrin. He chastised himself, “Oh my word!” after missing one such shot. I noted that the commentary and on court demeanor was far different than the previous day’s match with the Italians. His final service game of the first set was broken. Tom takes the first set, 6-2.

The second set was very similar to the first, in play, some dramatic points involving the tape, (note the photo below with Neale’s expression after the net God granted him that point). There were a couple of double faults in the second set that caused Tom’s opponent to speak to himself again…mentioning being on some other planet or such…that was toward the very end of the match. I have to say, it is refreshing to see such a charming player, with a good sense of humor and cheerful disposition, despite the match not going his way. Good show, chap!

On to the next singles match… Mike takes on Chris Hearn. Upon chasing a tennis ball that went into another court during the warm up, Chris leapt over the waist high fence, effortlessly, with very springy, fresh legs. An uncommon display in senior tennis. A slight chill went up my spine.

On the surface, watching Chris’s game, it was nearly a mirror image of Mike’s game. Serve and volley, angle put-aways, backhand slice approach, get to the net whenever possible, drop shot/lob combos, down the line passing shot winners, chase down everything and move your opponent around. It really was like watching Mike in a British man’s body with his tongue sticking out. I swear if they had added the rule that you had to play with your mouth fully closed, Mike would have beat him. Ha.

Seriously, though, Mike summed it up when I commented on the comparison in their strategy and style of play…he said, “Yeah, but Chris brought his “A” game and I brought my “B” game. This guy was super consistent, and hit more amazing shots than I have seen in awhile. I heard more than one person refer to this match as Chris playing “lights out tennis.” Unbelievable. And AGAIN it comes down to the doubles!!!

Ken and Mike are up for the doubles…the weather had been getting colder and sprinkly for the past couple of hours, and when the wind hit, I knew that the rain was inevitable. The guys were out there warming up, (picture attached…can you see all the raindrops on their warm up suits?!) it was already coming down steadily, but they were all waiting for the “official word.” (see picture) Crazy. It was seriously pouring before the official came out to tell them matches were suspended. As it turned out, they were suspended from 1:30p to 5pm and now the sun has returned to the scene. Happily.

Doubles with Ken and Mike vs. Neale and Chris (both singles players from earlier today) was a frustrating banter of holds and breaks…very challenging conditions from the cold, then the setting sun and lack of lights on the court with shadows everywhere. Made calling shots very difficult. The first set was very close, but we lost to the Brits 7-5. We then would be asked to wait for an open court that had lighting to complete the match. The temperature continued to drop, and despite having 5 layers on, I was still quite chilled. People walking around were wearing down jackets, knit caps and mittens, I kid you not. This was not your typical day of tennis.

We didn’t wait long, and, ironically, out of the 30+ courts, we were back on the court where we lost to Italy the previous day. Not a good sign. Our guys had opportunities, but the Brits were making some unbelievable shots, making painting the lines seem like an ordinary, every day event. Another challenge was losing the ball in the lights. There were many many many lobs, so this definitely changed the game quite a bit from earlier in the day. The Brits ended up getting the final break to take the match and the day’s event, 7-5, 7-5; 2-1. Sigh. In trying to figure out how to end this blog, I asked Mike if there was anything he wanted to say about his match, and he said that it was very frustrating. So there you have it.  Now onto Australia for 7th place.

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