Yesterday I flew from Barcelona to Bordeaux (travel tip: take the train!) along with several other players from Barcelona, mostly Aussies. The flight was fine and the tournament director, Bruno Renoult and another person from the tournament were there to meet us and take us to our hotel which was really nice. It was warm but pleasant and very sunny. After consulting my new friend Google Maps to see what was open on a Sunday afternoon, I walked to a small grocery store for a few things (I love the Tomme cheese and the carrot salad in France…and the baguettes are good too of course!).
After my quick shopping trip I headed into the old city center which is really nice. There are trams going all over the city, though I mostly walked for a couple of hours, looking at the old buildings and churches. I popped into a sporting goods store and found that the brands of tennis balls on offer were quite different from those in the USA…priced differently too. It’s really a beautiful old city and after the tournament (and after it cools down later in the week from the 100s early this week) I hope to explore more.
Today one of the Aussies, Peter, gave us a ride to the courts (with the help of Google Maps offline, thank you). The Villa Primrose Club is old, very French and really nice. The organizers, Bruno and Shirley Friedl, do a great job from what I can see. There’s a trainer, one practice court (clay but indoors) and a nice restaurant on site. There’s also shuttle bus from the hotel to the courts and the public bus which goes 3-4 times an hour between a stop just outside the club to a stop near the hotel.
I hit with Shirley for about half an hour, enough to totally encase my shoes and socks in red clay and to get a feel for the courts which are different from Barcelona, drier and higher bouncing. The draw here is larger in my division and stronger I think and hopefully Kerry Ballard and I will get a doubles match in this week!
There was a minute of silence today in all of France to honor and remember the victims in Nice. It really puts tennis matches into perspective.
I play my first match tomorrow probably around 2 or 3pm (and it’s supposed to be around 103 tomorrow!) so I’m planning on drinking lots of water and staying in the shade (there’s no air conditioning at the club).