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  • Santiago Champion

    Santiago, Chile

    The final day was a big letdown. I got to the club early for my 10:30 match (8:30) to warm up because there was only one warm up court after 8:30 and I hadn’t reserved it. I warmed up, then went to check in…and saw I had won by walkover (no one told me). Apparently Fritteli had a pain in her shoulder and decided she wasn’t fit to play today, though I saw her practicing a lot yesterday.

    So I practiced some with Shirley Friedl and Marc Pepin and a little more later with Shirley, and waited for the awards ceremony. I also watched some of the women’s 35 final, which was very interesting in a crash waiting to happen way. Rous Lorca is a club member or local anyway. She moved well and hit deep topspin strokes, never came voluntarily to the net and wasn’t able to flatten out the ball to finish a point but had a nice dropshot at times and a good slice and 2 handed on the backhand side. She pummeled her opponent’s backhand. Loreto Painmill, her opponent had a more well rounded game but by the time I started watching, deep in the second set (about 2.5 hours into the match), Loreto was cramping after points frequently. Loreto would grind, then play a short point (which was frequently successful). Rous won the first set 75 and then 76 (7). Loreto had at least one set point, and I think she was way up in the breaker. But Rous just kept grinding…oh, and she only served underhanded, a big topspin underhanded serve, which wasn’t too attackable. Anyway, it passed a lot of time.

    Around 1:30 they started putting out some food, small sandwiches, and a big paella was being prepared, and was ready around 2pm. There was also an open bar and champagne. Then there was a pretty long awards ceremony, with trophies for first and second and for the singles winners, a bottle of wine and a box of knives (for the women) and a big knife, for the men, and quite nice knives.

    I found new areas of the club today I hadn’t seen…the gym, racquetball courts and some other racquet sports court which used a small ball and tennis racquets and playing off the wall. I watched a lesson but don’t know exactly what they were doing.

    And that’s a wrap on the tennis portion of this trip. I have a hike in the Andes tomorrow and am off to very southern Chile on Monday where instead of 90 it’s going to be in the 50s and windy.


  • Last Practice Day, Santiago

    Santiago, Chile

    Today was a pretty mellow day. I practiced with Andrew M and Marc P in the morning, ran a few errands…got a little currency, hit the Unimarc supermarket, and did some tennis writing.

    Tomorrow I play the final around 10:30 and there’s a paella party after, which is fun.

    I heard rumors of protestors marching in this area, but didn’t see any. However, walking back from the club I saw two policemen who were standing at the rear of the car with the trunk opened. One of them bashed his head on the trunk lid, which doesn’t bode well for their ability to protect citizens.

    A couple more photos from the club. You can see how near the tall buildings are to the club. The jacaranda trees are in full bloom.

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    First Practice in Santiago

    Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Practice Day 3, Monday, Santiago

    Santiago Tuesday: Last Practice Day

    Wednesday: Singles & Laundry Successes

    Santiago Tennis: Into the Final


  • Santiago Tennis: Into the Final

    Santiago, Chile

    It was another beautiful day in Santiago, perfect for playing tennis. I played Graciela Donoso early and won 60 62. Afterwards I watched some tennis and warmed up my opponent from yesterday for her mixed doubles match. There is a kiosk here for tennis clothes and now I have a new Chilean skirt at a very reasonable price, a good souvenir.

    The score cards here are interesting…the cards swivel so the score is always showing who is ahead correctly, and instead of having a marker showing which player won the first set, in the middle are numbers I-V, indicating which set is being played, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

    Today the club was making good use of their multipurpose covered area. Tennis was being taught on one court; girls were doing gymnastics in the middle and basketball practices were on the front court, with music (for the gymnastics), shouts and whistles (basketball).

    I walked back to the club after dinner and matches were running about an hour late, with the lights coming on as the sun was setting.

    Potted plants on walls is a very Spanish way of displaying flowers…I found a couple of walls of potted geraniums today. The flowers and trees in general are very pretty here.

    I have a day off tomorrow since the other round robin group didn’t start till Wednesday. We could have played the final tomorrow…the #2 seed won both her matches so has won her group, but they have an awards ceremony on Saturday and play most finals then.


  • Wednesday: Singles & Laundry Successes

    Santiago, Chile

    Today I played my first match, against Austria’s Shirley Friedl. She is a nice lefty player, but I played pretty well and the altitude helped my high balls jump a bit and I won 60 60. It’s always an enjoyable, fair match. We played on Court 1 and again, the courts this year are playing much much better than five years ago. I don’t know what they’ve done but kudos to the grounds people for making them so nice to play on.

    After the match (and a short massage, $8 for 15 minutes and the guys working in the massage area are good and seem to be pretty knowledgeable physical therapy.

    After lunch I decided to see if the app I downloaded to pay for the laundry machine worked. What one does is open the app, give it access to your camera and then point it at the QR code on the machine you want to use. The laundry is in the basement, but there was some cell service there (this wouldn’t work without it), but it was slow. It took a few minutes but I managed to get both machines working, so I will have no more issues with a lack of coins for the machines.

    While I was waiting for my laundry to finish, I went to the Unimarc for some food and sunscreen. The packaging all has warnings (not the carrots I bought of course)…the chocolate says high in calories, saturated fat and sugar. As a result it’s quite good.

    I think I figured out why the stores were all closed early yesterday…buses stopped running at 5pm, and the metro shortened its hours, and there were more demonstrations at the Plaza Italia, and also in other cities in Chile. But there’s not much in the English language newspapers I can find. In Las Condes today, it was business as usual, and calm. But downtown, in the center, it’s a different environment.

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    First Practice in Santiago

    Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Practice Day 3, Monday, Santiago

    Santiago Tuesday: Last Practice Day


  • Santiago Tuesday: Last Practice Day

    Santiago, Chile

    What a match between Thiem and Djokovic! Incredible offense and defense. Pleasure to watch both players compete (thanks to atptennistv app…worth it).

    Onto info from Chile. I scouted tomorrow’s opponent (she won pretty handily), had a light practice in the morning and then watched some of the tennis, chatted with players, before heading back to my apartment. The street market by the subway was open, so I picked up some strawberries and blueberries, which are mostly missing from the grocery store. They smell good!

    Later on I walked over to the club to try and find a warm up for tomorrow. I play at 10:30 against Shirley Friedl from Austria, who won the ITF Grade A in Brazil last week. I did find a warm up partner, and stayed to watch the first match on TV of Thiem/Djokovic before heading back and watched the third set on a tablet.

    I saw a lineup of Lime scooters by the bus stop. I haven’t seen any Lime bikes…the scooters look like fun and I’ve seen a lot of people on various scooters, but I don’t think the time to learn to ride one is during a tournament (it was perhaps 40 years ago instead). There are docked city bikes somewhere but they aren’t so convenient.

    In the afternoon the stores in the subway, even the OK store (which is like a 7-11, but owned by unimarc, a big supermarket chain) were all closed early. I haven’t figured out why but the produce market was still going strong.

    The jacaranda trees continue to bloom and are very pretty. In the evening there were a lot of players watching matches; matches go on into the night with some starting around 7:30pm. It’s a really nice environment at the club, quite a yin and yang between the city life with it’s hustle and bustle and skyscrapers and the oasis around Estadio Espanol.

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    First Practice in Santiago

    Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Practice Day 3, Monday, Santiago


  • Practice Day 3, Monday, Santiago

    Santiago, Chile

    The tournament started today in Santiago, but the women don’t begin play till tomorrow. I play I presume on Wednesday. There are three players in my round robin group A and three in group B. The other two players are playing tomorrow morning. I play them the next two days.

    I was able to practice a decent amount today though always with three to four players on the court. I hit with Andrew Moraghan from GBR and an Italian, Marco Catelli, (I’m pretty sure…). Andrew and I hit a second time on Court 11 which was a mess of bad bounces, likely because it was a practice court all day and there hadn’t been an opportunity to groom and water it much. But the bounces were interesting, most creating no bounce situations but a few bouncing sideways.

    Where there was an empty garden yesterday, today there was a beehive of activity, with a trainer/masseuse, mobile pro shop (they even had Volkl racquets and bags!), a sitting area sponsored by what appeared to be a travel or tourism site promoting Chilean tourism (it’s really a very long and skinny country), and a display of old racquets for sale.

    I paid my entry fee, and got my player badge, which will be useful as it has a barcode to get into the park, and read the security recommendation, the last sentence of which is “They should avoid going out at night, especially alone.” Yet 7:30 matches are scheduled. So I didn’t sign up for mixed. It was played under the less than luminous lights five years ago.

    The weather today was great, cooler, only around 80, and cool by the time I left around 7:30 or so. I went by the grocery to get a chicken and a drink and the line for quick checkout was about 20-30 people, but moved very quickly and took only about 5 minutes.

    The jacaranda trees are almost in full bloom now, with the heat of the past three days and are very striking. The plants growing here are very similar to those grown in California.

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    First Practice in Santiago

    Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile


  • Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Santiago, Chile

    It was another warm (90ish) late spring day in Santiago. I practiced twice today, with a pro at the club and then with a Canadian I ran into. He’d come from Brazil where he said the courts were soft & wet and there was no altitude and seemed surprised by how differently the courts played (keep in mind it’s his 4th time here..). Today the courts were drier and were playing pretty fast.

    As was true yesterday, the restaurants were busy in the afternoon, and again there were basketball and volleyball games going on, though today the basketball game was being played by men, not boys.

    After leaving the club, I walked back to my apartment, stopping along the way to buy water. In front of the big OK store, there are always many motorbikes with cases on the back for deliveries and their owners just hanging out waiting for a delivery. The streets were quiet today, but it’s Sunday.

    I decided to do laundry. The laundry is in the parking garage. There was no signage, so I asked and finally found it. I was hoping there would be a coin machine there (it takes 1300 Chilean or just under $2 a load, only 500 and 100 coins). There was not, and the person at the desk had no change. Since all the washers were full, I took the laundry back upstairs and went down to search for change and to figure out how to add money to my Chilean SIM card. At my third stop, the OK store (very similar to a 7-11), I found someone who knew what I was talking about regarding the SIM card. So now my phone works, though I’m not sure how much data I purchased! But they had no change. I only needed about 400 so I went to the grocery store and got an item I wanted and which would give me that amount of change, and successfully figured out the laundry instructions…you’ll be glad to know I now have clean, albeit wet laundry (not enough coins for the dryer!). Next time it will be easier.

    The difficulty for me has been that very few people I’ve run into speak English and my Spanish is pretty rudimentary. But now my phone works (google translate is my friend). I am really wishing I’d paid more attention in Spanish class!

    The tournament begins tomorrow but I think I won’t play till Tuesday or Wednesday…I’m in a round robin of three people and the other two seem to be playing Tuesday. My first round match is likely to be a good one.

    Tomorrow I am going to try and find some practice and watch a bit of tennis.

    First Practice in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)


  • First Practice in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile

    The tournament I am playing next week is called the Alfredo Trullenque, an ITF Grade A. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s being played at Estadio Espanol, a club built along Spanish lines,with many interior courtyards, lovely gardens and many clay courts along with pools (indoor and out), soccer fields, a covered multipurpose area (tennis, and today basketball and volleyball games were going on) and more.

    There are many dining areas, formal and informal, indoors and out and all were being used today.

    I hit for a while with one of the pros at the club, and then hit some serves and ran some sprints afterwards. It was warm but there was a nice breeze and it’s very dry. There’s a bit of altitude, not much though, somewhere around 710 meters or about 2300 feet. So the ball carries some but not excessively. The court I hit on today was much better than any I remember from five years ago, there weren’t any more bad bounces than are usual for a red clay court.

    The draw is now published. There are six players in the draw, so we have two round robin groups of three players. There are two seeds, one for each group, but it doesn’t mean much…one of the players in my group just beat the second seed in Brazil 62 61 today.

    Here’s a link to the draws and results.


  • Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    Santiago, Chile

    I’m on the bottom half of the world now, in the Las Condes part of Santiago.

    The flight from Houston was delayed…not because the plane was late (it arrived around 5am; our flight was scheduled for about 10PM), but because no one brought it to the gate in time and when it arrived…it hadn’t been cleaned after the flight from Australia! It makes me wonder what the plane was doing…did it have an invisibility cloak? Did it decide to make a quick trip to Florida or Cancun? Anyway, we only arrived a bit late though it was a loooong walk from the plane to passport control. (Hint…there are about 10 restrooms along the way, so if there’s a wait at the first, keep walking). There were a lot of signs advertising this climate conference which has now been moved out of Chile due to the riots in late October.

    I had a taxi waiting, which I was happy about since several people approached me who weren’t official taxi drivers. There’s been a lot of vandalism here and rioting but honestly, we went through a lot of tunnels and I kept falling asleep, so didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary on the drive from the airport, but it was midday, not when the unrest has been occurring.

    I was able to enter my apartment and after putting my bags away, went to the bank (where there was an armed guard who was quite alert, by the door), and managed to get some Chilean pesos out of a machine which had instructions only in Spanish. Then I went to get a SIM card for my phone, in the subway area. It was humming, full of open shops in the middle and both sides of the passage. Then I went to the grocery store. The grocery seemed pretty normal. But there was a guard at the entry, and the entryway windows were covered with plywood. There was a very large area for avocados, another for citrus, and juice oranges, but overall the produce section was small. The refrigerated beverage section was huge and I even found bags of ice. Cookies seem very popular, chocolate bars less so.

    After I put my stuff away I decided to try and find the tennis club. Google took me to the parking garage. Instead walking a bit farther the same direction (which would have led me to the entrance), I walked around the opposite way which was over a mile, but I know now how to get to the club tomorrow for practice. (Turn right by the McDonalds).

    There were a lot of boarded up stores along Apoquindo Ave. but overall everything seemed here like business as usual. The area around the club had some really nice houses. A lot of them were in the half-timbered style of Normandy, and all had high fences with spikes on top. The club had a double fence.

    The weather here was nice today, warm but not humid and overcast so it didn’t feel very warm.

    Buenas noches.