Any way you book it, it takes a long time to reach Europe from California. I had smooth flights but a pretty long layover in Madrid, left at 8am PDT time and arrived at hotel at 5pm CET…the next day. The airport in Madrid was interesting though, many shops and some cafes, and the time went quickly. Ham and cheese baguette or omelet (torta) baguette seem popular. I slept through the flight to Barcelona, but the music playing in the airport there definitely woke me up. The airport (BCN) is gleaming and was busy and full of shoppers or at least people window shopping.
Today I didn’t arrive till about 5pm to my hotel, and made my way to the Real Club de Polo (I actually thought we were playing at the Real Tennis Club…but they aren’t terribly far apart). I met up with Heide Orth, who as it turns out speaks pretty good Spanish, though when she started translating it to German for me we had a laugh…the Spanish was easier to understand for me. This tournament is not a USTA tournament. No one was at the site when we arrived, around 7:30pm but it was Sunday. And no one knew anything about reserving courts either. So we will try tomorrow.
The scheduling is really different. No matches begin before 6pm and there are up to four rounds per court, meaning some matches don’t begin till 10:30pm! Being on California time may come in handy. The late start is supposedly because of the heat but there wasn’t any heat tonight, it was balmy but definitely not hot. I don’t play tomorrow night. The top seed pulled out about a week ago, though I only noticed Friday night, so I am the top seed and Christian Derykre from Belgium is the #2 seed.
I walked around the RC de Polo. There are a lot of courts..maybe 30-40 or so, red clay and a lot of artificial grass and hard small courts, like pickleball or paddleball courts. The tennis courts are facing different directions, some north/south and some east/west. A lot of them had signs that said “silence” in Spanish and Catalan, a dialect.
There was also a huge polo field (naturally), a soccer field and a track, perhaps a practice field of sorts, and an area that looked like it was going to be set up as the tournament office area, lots of tents and so on.