I left Düsseldorf Monday afternoon for Barcelona. I took Norwegian Airlines and it was fine full of vacation goers and families. We left a little late but arrived on time and my luggage arrived as well. As you can see, there are not one but 2 languages to consider here, Catalan (at the top, a blend of French and Spanish) and Spanish. L;;

It’s hot in Barcelona! In the high 80s and humid. It’s a much more casual atmosphere than Düsseldorf or Essen.

There are a lot of differences between this tournament and Essen. Both are played on red clay but the clay here in Barcelona is harder and higher bouncing. The Club is huge and has soccer fields, Polo Fields (it is the Real Club de Polo after all), a pool and extensive lockers, and Padel (a paddle sport played in a cage on a carpet with sand) courts. Here the lines are painted onto the courts and the bounce when the ball hits the line isn’t as variable as in Essen where there were nailed on lines, but the ball skids when it hits the line, the difference between hitting a slow clay court and a fast hard court. . The balls are quite different. We used the Dunlop Fort Germany in Essen, which is a heavy ball. Here they are using a Wilson US Open heavy duty (hard court) ball which feels quite light in comparison, plus it’s warmer. The style of play of the Spanish is different too, much more topspin, and fewer continental grips observed.

I played yesterday. The tournament begins at 6pm every day (5pm on the final day) and the last matches are scheduled for 10:30pm. I played at 6pm against a Spanish player who was very fast but not very experienced. She came from Padel and ran for everything but couldn’t finish a point very well and I won 60 60 in just over an hour. I am playing doubles here because the draw is small..8 in singles and 4 doubles teams, spread out over 5 days. However, we did have to play doubles Tuesday night at 10:30! That was pretty weird and I was pretty sleepy. Kerry Ballard (Australia 65s) and I won 61 60 against my singles opponent and her friend. It was fun, they tried hard and Kerry played great.

This club is enormous with tons of courts, soccer fields, a polo field, swimming pools, restaurants and more. At night the tournament really wakes up. There are food trucks and kiosks and lots of people sitting around chatting and waiting to play.

The “no coaching” rule doesn’t seem to apply to this tournament. My opponent was talking to her friends constantly during our match in rapid Catalan.

Word of the day: Confitura (jam)

It is good to understand how to keep score in the language of whichever country one is playing. I can do this in Spanish, French and German but spelling it…next blog.

Draws are here. My draws are below. To give you a feel of the timing of this event, it’s 11:12 pm here and the order of play for tomorrow is not posted yet!

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