Wednesday April 12, 2023, Alassio, Italy
I am in Alassio for another ITF tournament..which started Saturday for some divisions. My division begins today, but I have a bye and play tomorrow.
Yesterday was a travel day:
- Beausoleil to Monaco via taxi (too much luggage for a bus)
- Monaco to Ventimiglia via train #1..which I barely was able to squeeze onto, especially with all my luggage, but somehow I did
- Ventimiglia to Alassio via train #2 which was much easier to board
- A short walk (just across the street) to the apartment I booked for this week, where I dropped my bags
I of course had too much luggage and the train stations in Ventimiglia and Alassio had no elevators..but people helped me, without my asking, up and down the steps, which was really nice. I must be old.
Once in Alassio, and free of most of my luggage, other than a racquet backpack, I set off to find the Hanbury Club. It turned out to be just up the street, about a 5-7 minute walk. The clubhouse is a step back in time, full of memorabilia, resembling a museum as much as a small restaurant. I saw some players I knew, Gail Benedetti and Reinhilde Adams and had lunch with them. Then I set off in search of a grocery store for water etc…found one that was a block long maze, but it did have water! And great strawberries (3 euros for a kilo, about $3.3 for over 2 pounds).
The club is small, only 7 courts (apparently there were a couple more, but they’ve been converted to Padel Courts.
After I returned to the club, I met up with Andrew Stanley and Chris French and we were able to get in a hit in Pinafore, where Andrew and Ann Stanley have an apartment for the year. We met up with Ann, and her doubles partner came by later and we played some doubles. It was nice to get a hit in after several days of just watching tennis.
Later in the day I was able to get into my apartment which is fine, and got ready to hit early today. I hit with Ellen Neumann and also a bit with Reinhilde at 7:30 am, the only time to get any warm up time here. The courts here have much less clay than in Turkey and so the play seems much livelier, and the balls fly a bit. I sent a racquet to get strung after hitting. After I walked into the clubhouse/restaurant where the tables were set for breakfast with croissants, fresh bread, butter & jam (with hot coffee to be added no doubt).
The scheduling here results in a lot of waiting around after the first or second time slot. Each court is assigned a list of matches, some with “not before” times…but “not before 5pm” can mean 7 or even 8pm. There are 338 players, players are allowed to play three events, and there are only the 7 courts. Matches finished after 9:30pm yesterday. Nonetheless, the tournament venue is quaint and the city of Alassio seems great, located right on the Mediterranean, on the Italian Riviera.
Today I went back to the store, this time with my rolling bag, to get water, drinks and produce…and fish. The store had a lot of kinds of pasta, the normal (for Europe) unrefrigerated eggs, lots of seafood, especially shellfish, and some nice berries and fresh greens. And of course fresh pizza bread (no cheese, only tomato sauce and olives).
That’s a wrap on Days 1 & 2 in Alassio…I will play tomorrow and probably go back to scout my potential opponent later today.