Just a quick summary of the past week — the ITF Individual World Championships.
Many of the team players remained in Umag to play in the Individuals, while others went home. In addition, many non-team players from around the world entered. It makes for a long stay away from home, but it’s another week of great competition and great camaraderie.
Competitively, the week was surprisingly successful. I entered 3 events: 70s singles, women’s doubles (with Sue Kimball) and mixed doubles (with Jerry Thomas). In singles, I made it to the semifinals, then lost to the person who won the title. The road to the semi’s was challenging as I was playing higher seeds along the way. We were unseeded in doubles and mixed doubles.
In the women’s doubles, Sue and I beat (I say that loosely, because it was a very close match) the top seeds in the semi’s. We split sets, then the third set was a super tie breaker which we won 10-8 — whew, a barn burner. We went on to upset the #2 seed in the final in straight sets. So, a gold medal for us!
In mixed doubles, Jerry and I would have played the #4 seeds along the way, but they withdrew due to injury. We played two matches early in the week, then finished up Friday and Saturday. We played the #3 seeds in the final (#1 and #2 seeds had been upset) and won in straight sets, but we had to come back from behind in the second to avoid the 10-point tie-breaker. Both of my partners played fantastically, were very supportive, and we had fun! We enjoyed the competition, then enjoyed receiving our medals at the closing ceremony.
Even though this week was an Individual Championship, I know there is really no such thing as an individual award. There is always a support team who helps a recipient achieve whatever the goal may be. So, I say thank you to my support team — family, friends, doubles partners, team members, practice partners, coaches, prayer partners…… These medals are yours as well!
I went for a long walk this afternoon along the Adriatic Sea on my last day here. It was a gorgeous day and I tried to wrap my mind around this whole fabulous two-week experience. It’s very hard to do and even harder to put in words. This kind of experience is much bigger than tennis and winning (both things I like a lot!). At this event, I’ve been with people from all over the world — all of us over 65 up to high 80s. You would be amazed to see these people on the court! Off the court, we are all friends, no matter where we are from. We realize we are blessed to have this opportunity to compete, but more blessed with the health we enjoy. A common wish among us is for peace, joy and kindness throughout the world.
Again, many thanks for your support.
Day 8 Great Britain Wins Althea Gibson Cup
I know you’ve been dying to know who really won the Althea Gibson Cup, which was completed today, so I thought I’d let you know.
Long story short, Great Britain beat The Netherlands 2-1 in a very exciting match. They split the singles, both matches going to 3 sets. I saw most of both singles matches — great play by both teams. Great Britain won the doubles in 3 sets, winning the third set 6-0. The gold medal team is the team that beat us on the first day and we lost to them by a similar score. Even though that doesn’t make us co-silver medalists, we still were competitive with the champs! All the teams were quite competitive — everyone fighting hard all week. Great fun!
Many of you have responded so nicely to my “reports” and I have not responded back individually, but your comments have been shared with the team and have been very much appreciated. We all are thankful for your support.
The World Team Championships are now complete and the World Individual Championships started today. I am also participating in the Individuals, so will be in Umag for another week — then on to another tourney in the states the following week. Thanks for the kind travel thoughts you’ve already sent.
Day 6: USA Beats Austria 3/0 to Finish 7th
Well, the weather cleared and we were able to start the morning completing matches which were on the courts when the bottom fell out yesterday — amazingly, starting close to on time. Even though it was clear, we experienced gale-force winds — so the conditions were very tough for everyone. The wind is a tremendous equalizer! I was able to complete my match without losing another game, so my final score was 7-6,6-2. Cathie and Sue played the doubles and won handily. They were leading 6-1, 5-0, deuce and the rains reappeared! This caused a two-hour delay to complete the match! When play resumed, they took care of business and won the second set 6-1. It was nice to end the tournament with the win over Austria, and we come home 7th in our division. We’ve had a wonderful time, played hard, made new friends, met up with old friends and we all are very thankful for our health and realize what a blessing it is to participate in this fantastic event.
The Althea Gibson Cup winner will not be decided until tomorrow morning as The Netherlands take on the Brits for the Cup. This should be a very exciting match. A little consolation for us is that the team (GB) who beat us in round robin play in a close tie has made it to the finals. Germany bested South Africa for the bronze.
We attended the awards ceremony this evening and the USA fared very well. On the women’s side, our 65s placed 3rd and our 75s and 80s team won gold! On the men’s side, the 65s placed 3rd and the 80s won. It’s a proud moment for all of us when they play our national anthem at this international — tonight we heard and sang it three times!
Thanks so much for being part of our team! We appreciate your support and riding along with us. All the best to each of you.
2016 USA Althea Gibson Cup Team: Cathie Anderson, Sue Kimball, Betty Wachob and Brenda
The pictures: 1. With friends from Sweden and Finland; 2. The calm Adriatic was churning today
Friday Day 5: USA Leads Austria 1/0 Before Overnight Rain Delay
We have unfinished business on Friday!
We’ve had great weather until today. The rains came about 12:30 and halted play for everyone. Very few ties were completed — none at our venue. We are playing Austria and Betty handled the windy conditions beautifully, and beat her opponent 6-1, 6-1. The score in my match is 7-6, 3-2 — we are scheduled to finish at 9 AM tomorrow.
They have a couple of indoor courts here and USA 65s men’s team played their #1 singles tonight. It was great fun to watch Dave fighting toe-to-toe with Spain’s Jorge Camina, a perennial World Champion. Dave lost 7-5, 6-2, but played great. Tomorrow’s doubles will decide which team advances to the final.
Today we did a lot of waiting for the rain to stop. We’re hoping the weather forecast is wrong and tomorrow is a nice day.
Thanks for pulling for us!
Attached is a picture of us with Austria.
Thursday, Day 4: #1 Seeded France Beats USA 2/1
I wish I could report to you a more winning story for the day, but I can’t. France, the top seed in our division lost on Monday — that was a big upset! After round robin play, France, USA, Austria and Australia ended up 2nd in their respective RR’s, so today started a playoff among these teams. By the luck of our draw, we got to play France. Betty and I were very competitive in our singles matches, but both of us lost in straight sets to two very good players. We knew them from years past and knew we had our work cut out for us. Sue and Cathie played the doubles and won in straight sets, so we lost the tie 2-1. We will play Austria tomorrow for a 7th place finish. The medal round will begin tomorrow with South Africa vs. Great Britain (3/4) and Germany (2) vs. Netherlands (3/4). The matches will be hotly contested, as a number of the players have very high world rankings.
Since we had the day off yesterday, we played “tourist” for the afternoon, visiting Parin and Portoroz, Slovenia, two beautiful seaside villages not very far away from Umag. It was a beautiful day and so much fun with the team and Pam!
Four of USA’s 8 teams will be contending for medals! Go USA!
The pics: USA/ France; Seaside in Parin
As always, thanks for your support.
Tuesday, Day 2: USA Beats Canada 3/0
oday was a good day at the “office”. We won all 3 matches against Canada today. Again, the matches were well-played. Cathie played at #2, winning 6-4, 6-3. Eileen is a tough competitor with some very unusual strokes — I was told she has a lot of experience playing squash. She was very steady, played the mid-court very well, and surprised Cathie on some occasions with her shot-making. However, Cathie kept the pressure on with her steady, smart play and pulled away in the end. I played Mary Ann, their captain. She has fabulous technique, can make a ton of winners. Luckily for me, she made a few errors and gave me the opportunity to win 6-3, 6-1. Betty and Sue played the doubles against Anne and Jillian. They had some very nice points, but Betty and Sue were just too strong for the Canadian pair today — coming out on top 6-1, 6-0. The Canadian team is very nice and lots of fun to be with!
We returned to the hotel and decided to just hang out at the beach, as it was a beautiful day. The water of the Adriatic is crystal clear and the shoreline is very rocky. Everyone wears water shoes. So it’s very different from the beaches most Americans visit — it’s gorgeous. The pictures are of the view from my room and Sue and Betty carefully wading out for a dip at the beach near the front of our hotel. The beach pic makes it look like few people are around, which is not true. Many others are off to the left in chairs parked on rock ledges or sitting on their towels. Even though high season is over, the area is still buzzing with people.
We have no match tomorrow, will practice in the morning and are going on a short tour in the afternoon. The tournament banquet is tomorrow night.
Until next time ……
Monday Day 1: Night, USA Falls to GBR 2/1
It’s been a busy, long day in Umag for all of the players, but I think we were on the court the longest. The day started with the opening ceremony, then everyone departed for their respective venues for first day of play. Play started at noon and we finished at 7. The final outcome was not what we wanted, but we played hard against a strong team from Great Britain.
Betty started us off well with a win over GB’s #2, winning 7-6, 6-3. It was a fantastic match, with both players playing superb tactical tennis. Betty had lost to her opponent in straight sets the last time she played her — making it a real “sweet” win. We are so proud of her. Then I faced GB’s #1 player, a player I had beaten in two close sets the last time we played. She was definitely the better player today — my hat’s off to her — as she beat me 6-4, 6-2. To win the tie, we needed to take the doubles. Betty and I played the same two players and lost in 3 sets — 6-1,5-7,6-1. The first set wasn’t as close as 6-1 — they were steamrolling. All the games in the 3rd set were close, but we just weren’t able to get the last point but once! Surprisingly, France, #1 seed, was upset today by South Africa.
Twelve countries are represented in the Gibson Cup. We are divided into 4 round robins. The winners of the RR’s will move out into a semifinal bracket. The second place teams will for play for positions 5 – 8. If we can beat Canada tomorrow, we’ll be playing in the 5-8 bracket.
All said and done, we fought valiantly, but just couldn’t pull it off.
I’m attaching a photo of all of the USA teams that are competing this week. There are 113 teams from all over the world here in Umag. It’s amazing.
The second picture was taken tonight at our tennis venue when we completed our match — a beautiful sunset over the Adriatic Sea — quite a setting.
As always, thanks for your support.
Monday: Day 1: Morning
Just a quickie to let you know we have made it safely to Umag — and as far as I know, everyone’s luggage also arrived!! All teams are busy practicing as the competition begins on Monday. We hope to soon be over jet lag. We as a team are already having a great time and the weather has been very nice.
Meet the 2016 USA Althea Gibson Cup Team:Left to right: Betty Wachob (Panama City, FL, Brenda Carter (Charleston, SC), Sue Kimball (Martha’s Vineyard, MA), Cathie Anderson (Delmar, CA).
We just had the opening ceremony and are soon off to our site to play our first round — against 4th seed Great Britain (we are unseeded). It will be a tough battle and we are excited!