Let the Play (on the Clay) Begin in Houston

There are two big tennis tournaments going on in Houston this week (along with some final 4 thing for basketball). One is an ATP (men’s)  250 at River Oaks CC. The other is the USTA Category I National Clay Court Championships for women age 35/45/55/65/75/85/90. Just so no one is confused, the women’s tournament is being held on green clay (at the Houston Racquet Club) and is a gold ball event, while the men’s tournament is being held on red clay. I don’t think they get gold balls if they win!

Play began today in the 45/55/65 & 75 divisions. No seeds lost today in any division and most matches were short but there were a few 3+ hour 3 setters. One interesting match in the 75s featured Normal Veal and Julia Levering (the former USTA president). Norma whales on the ball but Julia is more mobile…Julia prevailed in three sets.

Oh…I played Teal Lang and won and play Althena Cajas tomorrow, a lefty who is good, and Susan Wright and I play doubles.

Since the tennis, though of a good level, lacked a lot of drama, this is a good time to write about what a great tournament this is. The players are treated so well and made to feel so welcome. The theme this year is “hats off to Houston”. Sue Bramlette, the tournament director is going to have a tough decision as to which hat to wear to the cocktail party tomorrow night or to the player dinner the next night because she wears a LOT of hats this week…player (seeded #1 in doubles and in the 5-8 in singles); tournament director; fundraiser; detail person…she does it all with her great committee including Judy Job and Cathy Lassiter. In addition to the two aforementioned parties, the tournament provides a hot breakfast daily, and lunch daily, a free masseuse and a free trainer; full use of the fabulous facility including the dining facility. The members make us feel welcome and it’s really the best senior tournament I’ve played. So my hat is off to Sue and the Houston Racquet Club members and staff.

Here’s a link to the results: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=171179

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