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  • Successful Saturday in Bordeaux

    Saturday I played the 60 final in Bordeaux against Hildegarde Bruggaber from Austria. We played in the semis in Austria last month, so I knew her game pretty well. It was quite windy, overcast and mild for our “not before 11:30” match, which actually began around noon. I played well and won 60 60. My reward? A magnum of wine from the Bordeaux area. Hopefully it won’t break in my suitcase going home.

    Erin played Chris French, the 2014 ITF World Champion. The first set was nip and tuck, with plenty of long games and great rallies using the whole court and more. Chris’ most impressive shot was a high loopy forehand which bounced over Erin’s head. Erin is 6’ tall and said that had never happened to her before! (The courts are bounce I must say…I bounced five balls over my opponent’s head in warm up on Thursday, unintentionally…though she was under 5” tall). Each ran down drop shots the other thought was a clear winner. Chris though won more of the big points and wore Erin down mentally, winning 63 60. Erin with Chris and with TD Shirley Friedl.

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    Erin and I played a Dutch pair in the 50 doubles, Frannie Van Opstal and Annemiek  Wissink. Wissinck won the 50 doubles final easily a bit earlier and both players were tough and a good team. Erin and Annemiek are shown below.

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    King Van Nostrand of the USA easily won the men’s 80s to absolutely no one’s surprise.

    After the finals we tried to get a ride with the shuttle but it left without us (we were standing there)…it was pretty funny…Erin’s bag and daughter were on the bus too! Then I chose an Uber to take us back…and typed in the right street address…but wrong city. Erin sorted it out though and our uber driver was quite nice and took us to our correct address without any problem. We went out to dinner later with Chris and Paul French, who each won singles & mixed. We packed up and got ready to leave in the morning and then were off to the giant sand dune of Pilat near Arcachon on the Atlantic, then Poirtres, Blois, Chambourd, Chartres and even Paris…but that’s for the next blog.


    Draws: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

  • Playing into the Night Again!

    It was a beautiful day in Bordeaux. We took the bus to the club midday and began a day of waiting to play. I was a “2nd match after a not before 11:30 match” and the fourth match on Court 1. The matches went fast…one was Heide Orth’s match and one was King Van Nostrand’s, both of whom were efficient. I got on before 1pm against Dagmar Anwar. Dagmar is pretty short, maybe around 5” tall and in warm up the ball was hopping over her head a lot (I blame the wind).We had some good points but I won 61 61. I play Hildegarde Bruggaber from Austria  in the final on Saturday. It’s been hard to get a match rhythm here…I played Tuesday then Thursday and next Saturday, and there are no practice courts (well there is one indoor court but it’s pretty dark, slippery and hard). After my match the 50s doubles draw was posted and Erin and I found out we had a doubles match today, the last match of the day as it turned out. We started the match, on an unlit court at 8:15pm and managed to finish it before it got dark. We play the semis tomorrow against the top seeds late in the day again. I even hit an ace, my third on this trip. The other two were in Barcelona and were slow wide serves that bounced twice before our opponent could make contact, but today I hit a kick serve that bounced over our opponent’s head! Erin said it hit the line…Erin also hit an ace, a wide slider which was pretty impressive. The doubles match had a lot of kooky points which left us laughing. We finished the match just before the sun set, after 9pm.

    We all hit the sandwich shop before we played. It’s just down the street from the club and has great French baguette sandwiches and pastries…the baguettes here are terrific and cheap! The food at the club is good too.

    Erin played well in singles and won her match to advance to the semis against the #2 seed. The consensus is that Erin will win this match and I think that’s a correct prognosis.

    King Van Nostrand, pictured below  is in the 80s singles final. Also pictured, an old house in a block of newer buildings and a view from the gym of the courts.

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    Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

    Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

  • Bordeaux Was Sizzling Today!

    Today I played my first round match and our apartment adventures continued.

    My match was not before 5pm, but due to temps in the high 90s my 5pm match was pushed back to 5:45. I played Sue Winters of Great Britain. I played a decent first set but Sue played better in the second, but I managed to win 60 63. It was pretty hot on the court and dusty, but cooler weather is coming tomorrow. In fact I think I see it coming, it’s getting really windy outside and seems to be raining. The rest of the week the weather is supposed to be nice, in the 80s, and 70s. The heat is bearable on the court but waiting to play is not so nice, because there is no air conditioning in the clubhouse or the nearby patisserie, only in the grocery store (but it doesn’t have seating). Waiting in 90+ degree heat is draining. (Spoiled American alert). They needed to water the courts a lot today but it was hard to keep the dust down in the heat. One thing about the French courts that is different is that the lines are painted, not a tape that’s nailed to the court. And here there are just brooms to sweep the lines…who knew floor sweeping skills would come in handy in sport?


    The apartment adventures…well today Erin, Hannah and I all hit early since Erin and Hannah wanted to go to the beach which is an hour by train from Bordeaux (and the train station is probably 15+ minutes away by bus). We hit at 7:30 then got back around 9am to the apartment…and the handle to turn the door was broken. We could work the key ok, but not open the door. I sent Hannah and Erin off with a credit card and euros and waiting impatiently for a solution. The owner finally sent his friend over and he managed to get the door open,  but there’s just a pin to keep the handle in place…it’s going to break again. The owner, who we think is a guy in his late 20s, is very defensive…default responses are  “this has never happened before” and “it’s your fault”.

    Tomorrow I play Dagmar Anwar from Germany. She’s a good, steady player. We play not before 2:30, but realistically, since it’s the 5th match and matches start at 9am, I think it will later, maybe 3 or 4 if I’m lucky.

    Erin and Hannah had their own adventure…they went to the beach in Arcachon, but not before the two of them managed to lose each other at the train station…well Erin lost sight of Hannah who was racing to buy train tickets…and then each was trying to locate the other..long story short they missed the train, but got the second one and got to the beach which they enjoyed. They nearly missed the train back, not having checked the bus schedule to the train station…but a grand prix wanna be taxi driver got them to the train on time and back to Bordeaux.

    I just got an email that I don’t play tomorrow after all because one quarterfinal match was halted by a big thunder and lightning storm. So we are going to pick up a rental car tomorrow…another adventure awaits.


    Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

    Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

  • Bordeaux: Hot, Dusty Daytime Practicing on the Red Clay

    Today Erin Boynton and I had our first practice in Bordeaux, though it was not easy! First we (and by “we” I mean “I” since Erin would sensibly have been fine with Uber) decided to buy bus tickets for the week so we could easily go back and forth to the club. A bus ticket is about 10 euros for a week and includes bus, tram and a boat;  an Uber ride 6-10+ euros each way. We found a newstand that sold weekly tickets and that was the easy part…then we had to find the bus. We finally retraced our steps back to the apartment (Erin’s idea) and found tbe bus station. But I thought the direction the bus was going was wrong so we waited for another bus about 15 minutes. Then we tried to get off at the correct stop but the bus didn’t stop there. We later found out that due to road construction or something the bus wasn’t stopping there till the end of August. So we actually got off a stop early but found the club anyway. By this time it was 11:30. So we signed up for practice courts and went to get food and towels since there are no towels provided at the club. I gave Erin a tour of the store complete with one of the wine section and foreign food section (Erin is holding maple syrup). I don’t know bus routes but I do know store layouts!


    We were assigned a court and got on 5 minutes late for our 30 minute session due to a lesson (though actually we waited for court 14, and were supposed to be on 16…it was that kind of a day). We got bumped 20 minutes later by a kids’ camp. Oh…and the court was an indoor hard court covered with a slight bit of red clay, enough to be slippery. And it was really dry. So we went to court 16 and got bumped again this time after 5 minutes. Finally we were able to hit outdoors on clay since no one seemed to want to hit in the temperatures which were approaching the upper 90s by 2:30. We had an uninterrupted hit. The courts here are drier, not as heavy and very high bouncing. My shoes were caked with red dust by the time we finished. One unusual thing here is that all the chair umpires are young, junior tennis players in general, and they call all the lines! They do a pretty good job of it too. ITF White Badges in training.


    When we finished, all the courts were open as the referee paused play due to the heat. It only resumed after 5pm, when it was still very hot but the sun wasn’t beating down as much.

    We are staying in an apartment which is adequate but not as described. One problem was that we had only one set of keys. Hannah, Erin’s daughter talked to the owner and he said we could have the other set of keys, if we could break into the mailbox. Erin and Hannah managed to do that, using Erin’s surgical skills…so one problem solved.

    The bus back to the apartment is down till the end of August so we all walked back, about 20 minutes for Hannah and Erin who are in the 6 foot tall range…and about 35 minutes for me since my legs are short and I couldn’t help but stop to take some photos of the interesting old buildings along the way.

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    Tomorrow I am the last match on Court 9, not before 5pm…and if there’s a heat delay it could be later. So I still have a Barcelona schedule unfortunately. All the more time to eat baguettes and cheese.

    Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

    Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

  • Barcelona Champion: Tennis All Night

    Yesterday I won the 60 singles in Barcelona, beating the British Clay Court champion, Kim Reed,  62 61 in the final. I played very consistently, but the match was closer than the score, we had some long games and long rallies. We started early for Barcelona, at 5pm and finished just before 7pm. Our doubles was scheduled for 6:30pm but three of the four participants were still playing at 6:30. Erin lost a tough two-setter to Beatrix Mezger Reboul 75 64 and Kerry Ballard fell to Carmen Perera. We started about 8pm against Leanne Swaysland and Kerry and finished just before  11pm, losing 57 75 10-8. It was just a few points that separated us and was a good match.


    We finally got back to the hotel around midnight and packed up for the tirp to Bordeaux today.

    Other winners included Heide Orth, W75, King Van Nostrand, M80 and in mixed, MJ Pachl won the 55s.

    Today Erin, Hannah and I went to Casa Battlo, created by Gaudi around the turn of the last century. It has a water/ocean based theme on the inside and is creative, livable and pretty.

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    After that visit we walked through the Gothic quarter before heading back to the hotel.

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    We flew to Bordeaux and then had a long wait in line when we got off the airplane, as there was a passport check, even though we were flying from a Schengen country, probably due to the terrorism lately in France. We found our apartment, then wandered around Bordeaux and had dinner in the square by the church. Now we have to get used to getting up early and playing tennis before dusk!

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    Photos from Barcelona: https://photos.app.goo.gl/alD0rfmCbTXULVv63

    Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

    Draws: Barcelona: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100038580

    Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294