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  • Americans Strike Gold in Turkey

    Scott Works Wins First World Individual Titles in Turkey

    Scott Works (San Antonio), Tina Karwasky (Glendale, CA) Susan Wright (Grand Junction, CO), Danny Waldman (Washington, DC), Diane Barker (Daniel Island, SC), Mark Vines (VA) and Wesley Cash (TN) won ITF World Individual Titles in Turkey March 24-31.

    Works teamed up with a German player whom he’d never met before and won the 45 men’s doubles. He was the only American younger than 55 to win a world title this year. His wife, Shelly, won the 45 consolation singles and was a member of the USA Margaret Court Cup team which finsished sixth.

    Barker won her second straight 55s title with ease (and third straight overall), never dropping more than three games a match. She beat Karwasksy in the semis and Ros Balodis from Australia in the final. Karwasky and Wright, seeded #1, edged #3 seeded Carolyn Nichols (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) and Pat Purcell (St. Louis, MO) in a match tiebreak for the gold. Nichols and Karwasky were a bronze medalists in singles. Barker, Wright, Karwasky and Purcell comprised the USA Maureen Connolly Cup team which won the Cup the previous week.

    Waldman won the 55 singles as the 8th seed, beating world #1 Paul French in the quarters in three sets and winning the semis and final in straight sets. Waldman didn’t play the team event the previous week. Cash/Vines, who won the 55 doubles “gold slam” in 2012, added the 55 world doubles title to their impressive resume. Cash had extensive knee surgery a few years back and wasn’t sure if he’d ever again be able to compete at this level, so was delighted with the win. They beat Mike Tammen (Portland, OR) and Waldman in the final. Cash/Vines were members of the silver medalist USA Austria Cup team the previous week and Tammen was a member of the Fred Perry Cup team (men’s 50) which finished 7th.

    Patricia Zerdan, was the35 singles finalist (she beat the #2 seed in three sets to reach the final). In the final she lost to the top seed 75 in the third, a great effort in her first ever ITF World singles final.

    Other USA players who medaled in Turkey: Mary Dailey (Delray Beach, FL)/Ken White (Elma, NY), silver, 50 mixed (in the semis they were down 9-5 in the deciding match tiebreak and held off 5 match points to advance to the final); White, 50 doubles (bronze), Dailey, 45 doubles (bronze), Ross Duncan (CA), men’s 35 doubles (bronze), and Duncan/Carolina Blouin (GA), 35 mixed (bronze).


  • Into the Doubles Final for Mike and Danny Waldman

    The day started with a good omen. During Danny’s singles match vs. Carlos, I excused myself to visit the WC. On my way, I happened across a turtle! For those of you closest to us, you may recall that our Nikki collected turtles. We lost her 9 years ago today. I do not believe this is a coincidence.

    Danny later beat Carlos in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. He left the courts for his afternoon swim, lunch and getting ready for doubles. Mike went to go stretch and apply all his usual goop to his tender spots. Meanwhile, the other semi-final doubles match, comprised of #2 seeds Americans Mark Vines & Wesley Cash vs. Ross Persons (our friend from Mexico City, NZ and San Diego team events) paired with #5 seed, Peter Hampton of New Zealand. Mark & Wesley were victorious in this match up, winning in straight sets 3 & 3.

    Danny and Mike’s doubles match vs. #3 seeded Australian team, Andrew Rae and Gary Thoroughgood was a very well fought match on both sides. Of course, at this stage of the tournament, you rarely come across a match that is not a battle. The set scores do not reflect the quality of their long, intense baseline rallies that took all players to every corner of the court, as well as the lightning fast net battles that kept you on the edge of your seat. The Americans prevail in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

    When I asked Mike his thoughts on the match, he said, “my partner returned unbelievably well,” and, “we got a couple lucky volleys,” followed by, “we capitalized on our opportunities.” Nicely said. On to the finals vs. Mark & Wes. All American Final! USA cannot go wrong tomorrow.

    Bill, our teammate and his partner lost their doubles, as did our other teammate, Ken White. Ken and his mixed doubles partner, Mary Dailey, of the US women’s team, are in the finals tomorrow vs. Chris Hearn (GB) remember him from the team event? Grrr. & Brenda Foster (AUS). Go USA!

    It is sad to see all the players departing…some didn’t stay for the individuals, but more players also arrived at that time, so it was still bustling with activity, lots of different languages occurring simultaneously, and many new friends to make. Each meal we took in brought a new friend with it. Now the busses that depart are taking all our new and old friends home as we get down to the nitty gritty. Finals tomorrow. Wish our team luck! Quote from Mark Vines at breakfast…”it’s gonna be a dogfight out there.” doub les blog doub les blog-001 IMG_0093doub les blog-002 doub les blog-003


  • Easter Sunday, Istanbul, Tokapi Palace, Bosphorus and Sea Gulls

    Sunday Susan Wright, Vicki Buholz and I continued our adventure in Istanbul. After breakfast at our hotel (the buffet included olives, lunch meats, cheeses and boiled eggs and for Susan and Vicki, good coffee) we headed out to see Tokapi Palace. We walked out of our hotel and towards the Blue Mosque. There are tulips everywhere right now in Istanbul. It’s the national flower and there were red, white and yellow tulips planted tightly together, rising up through pansies and primroses and the effect is eye catching. Of course we also had to take quite a few photos on the way to the Palace! It was Easter Sunday and a gorgeous day, mid 70s, the nicest day of the nearly three weeks we were in Turkey…that was great…the enormous crowds were not so great. I’ve never seen so many people in Istanbul and the ones that weren’t in line to see the Hagia Sophia were apparently already inside Tokapi Palace. The ticket line wasn’t long but the queues to see the museum were. However, the Palace is situated by the Bosphorus, Sea of Marma and the Golden Horn, has gorgeous views of Istanbul and the water and the views on such a sunny day were perfect. It was interesting to feel how cool (temperature wise)the old Ottoman style buildings were, they are octagonal with super thick walls, double stained glass windows and tiled from floor to wall to ceiling. All the tile work is beautiful. A few hundred photos and a trip to the museum shop later we were off for lunch and a boat ride on the Bosphorous.

    We had lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant where we sat on low benches and ate traditional turkish bread cooked on a large flat round surface and filled with cheese, meat or vegetables. It tasted like a cross between a quesadilla and a crepe. It was a fun respite from the crowds, since we were there after 3pm.

    Next stop was the Bosphorus. It was jam packed even to ask questions at the information booth and so we took a flier on going with someone hawking 90 minute Bosphorus tours. Vicki and Susan were a little worried, but went gamely along. We had a 5 minute van ride to the boat…which was small but still seated about 50 people. It seemed tiny compared to some of the huge ships in the busy Straight, and we were rocked by waves at times, but it all worked out fine. We saw some palaces along the way from the water, a lot of ferries, tour boats, and freighters. After we got back, we went (along with everyone who wasn’t still at the Tokapi Palace, Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia) through a passage way densely populated with shops hawking their wares (including mechanical flying birds) to the Spice Market. There Susan was taking a photo when a seagull tagged her (and my vest which she was wearing). I was buying some pistachios at the stall next door and heard this cry and didn’t connect them till I saw her. Fortunately, Vicki had some cleaning wipes and got the damage out of her hair and sweater (the vest will need more attention). Susan was a good sport and we continued on, but the market was closing.

    We decided to walk back to the hotel but on the way stopped first to try out the corn on the cob that was hawked everywhere, along with roasted chestnuts. Susan wisely, as it turned out, selected boiled corn; Vicki and I tried the roasted corn, which was interesting…very chewy, but perhaps not as sweet. Next stop was to buy some Turkish delight and baklava. We got a little farther and saw one of the many carts selling cups of fresh squeezed orange, pomegranate or grapefruit juice for either 1 lira (55 cents for orange or grapefruit) or 3 lira ($1.65, for pomegranate). One man was hawking the juice and taking the money, the other squeezing the fruit by hand and his arms looked very strong. The juice was very good. We were then going to head straight back to the hotel as we had to get up at 3am…but one more stop for shopping for Turkish souvenirs and Vicki and Susan bargained for plates and lamps.

    One interesting word in Turkish is “USTA” which means: “n. master, expert, old hand, workman, craftsman, adept, artist, connoisseur, constructor, dab, dabster, hand, journeyman, proficient, shark, whizz”, so you see it everywhere…there’s a chain of baklava stores called “Ali USTA”!

    We all arrived in good time at the airport early this morning, at 4am, and went our separate ways. I went into the Turkish Airlines lounge and it was amazing…you walk into a library with a pool table and there were different food areas…panini, eggs made to order, and everything literally from soup to nuts. It was a nice way to end my Istanbul stay.

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  • Day 9 Turkish Delight

    On our last day of Tennis against the host team, we switched up the lineup a little more with me playing number 1 singles and Carsten in the lineup in doubles.

    Dan opened played at number 2 singles and won convincingly 6-1, 6-0. He had been working on bringing back his two handed backhand and found his stroke today.

    I made my singles debut at number 1 singles and won 6-0, 6-3. My opponent had played college tennis in the US shortly after I had and we shared some nice stories after the match.

    Because we clinched the match and the courts were needed Carsten and Willie did not get to play their doubles but we won 2-0.

    Bittersweet ending for us as we were 1 win away (even just a couple more sets won…which could have happened) from playing for the top 4 places. We ended up with 3 wins and 2 losses, with our loses coming to Czeck Republic (#6) and Great Britain (#8). I went undefeated in Turkey but I would gladly trade that for team victories.

    After our match we watched Mario and the Men’s 45s barely go down against France.  Mario was down 6-0,  4-1 with things looking very bleak when he completely changed his game plan and rolled winning nine of the next ten games.  The Frenchman fought back, saved two match points and won the match 7-6 in the third set tiebreaker.  A great match and a terrific comeback showing a lot of heart but deflating nonetheless.  As with many of our matches the USA teams felt confident if the could just win one of the singles matches and get into the doubles that we would be able to bring home a victory.  Tarango’s match was not as close today and Men’s 45s Team USA ended with a Silver medal (again).  A great accomplishment but definitely short of the Gold this team was expecting.

    In the afternoon a couple of us went to a nearby town called Side where we walked the ruins and had a nice change of scenery, reminding us of the history that surrounded us.

    When we returned from our brief excursion, the officials were about to start the Medal Presentation. I wanted to make sure we were there present to see the Medals (namely the Gold) and to taste the defeat one more time. We could have been there. We expected to be there but we have more work to do.  If I get another chance to compete on this team for Team USA again we will be there.


  • Day 8 These Czechs Bounced

    As we have seen essentially every team in the tournament would be tough to defeat and we knew the same of the Czech Republic.  The 6 seeds who had a tough loss 2-1 in their bracket to had two top ranked players in the world in the 40s heading their team.

    Dan started off at number 2 singles against the top seeded player in the individual tournament that follows next week. although Dan is a serve and volleyer, he found his baseline game early and went up an early break 3-2, but the Czech was too tough and Dan lost the first set 6-4.

    In the second set trailing 1-5, love 40 (one point way from losing the match), Dan came back and pulled out the game…giving us all renewed hope as we have seen other Team USA’s believe in miracles! But not today on the red clay as the Czech prevailed 6-2.

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    Carsten’s opponent at number 1 singles was not your traditional clay courter. although clearly very comfortable on the slow surface he found every opportunity to come in and volley away winners. this looked to be a good match-up for Carsten who had game points in the first two service games but unfortunately his opponent was too tough and won the set 6-1. In the second set, down 2-0, Carsten broke back but that did not diffuse the Czech opponent as he also won the second set 6-1 with the last few games played in a consistent rainfall. Since the courts are clay they can absorb the water (and make the court even slower!) to a point to allow play to continue.

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    Down 2-0 with now heavier rains the tournament officials called our match and the doubles featuring Willie and me were not played.

    After a few hour rain delay, they resumed the matches in afternoon. We watched Team USA 45s  Men win a tight one against Italy in the semis. Tied 1-1 going into the doubles, we had a small group fighting the wind and cold temperatures late into the night cheering home our team to victory! Tarango and Tabares won a tight one in three sets. To the finals!

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  • Day 7 Day of Rest and Cheering

    Still disappointed with our three way tie, we used the off day to support the other Team USA matches. The Men’s 45s defeated The Netherlands but the Men’s 50s had a tough loss against Italy.

     

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    Later in the evening we had formal Team USA pictures and a formal dinner.  We were also preparing for our match tomorrow against The Czech Republic.

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  • Neel’s Blog Day 6

     

    Day 6 No Tea Party

    Still basking in the joy of the night before and our exciting win against Romania, we knew we would have our hands full with a very good Great Britain Team.  Great Britain also had a nail biter with Romania, however they lost 2-1. With a victory, we would finish our bracket undefeated and move into the semifinals. With a loss, we would be in a three way tie with Great Britain and Romania which would then be decided by various mathematical tie breakers. We were in control of our own destiny and had to win. 

    As had been common with Willie’s other matches to date, he found himself in long points and long games. Down 4-5 with the Brit serving, Willie broke back and held his own serve to take a 6-5 lead. The tenacious Brit looked a bit shaken at 30-30 but he came up with two good points and they were into a first set tiebreaker that unfortunately went to Great Britain.   Slightly deflated, Willie went down an early break in the second set but surged back to even the score and had break chances at 4-4 and 5-5. In fact the Brit hit a ball that appeared to be out on break point at 5-5 (later verified by the roaming umpire to be out) but not clearly seeing the ball or the mark and showing the good sportsmanship of Team USA Willie called the ball good. Unfortunately the Brit played a great game at 5-6 and finished off the match. 7-6 (3), 7-5 Great Britain.

    Carsten next took the court against Great Britain’s number 1 player. Having initially felt a little tired from 5 hours of play the night before (understandably!) he was moving well and feeling relatively good. Carsten gave it a valiant effort, especially given the time on court the night before. Unfortunately Great Britain’s player, who is a top seed in the individual tournament following the team event, had too many answers looking very comfortable on the clay court winning the match 6-3, 6-1.

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    Dan and I played the doubles match against Great Britain’s number one player and third player. We started off quickly and held on strong winning the match 6-3, 6-4.

    We had lost the team match 2-1 and with Romania’s win over Ireland were now in a three way tie for our bracket. The first tie breaker is the number of individual matches won (singles and doubles)…we had each won 6 matches. Next is the percentage of sets won…we barely lost out to Great Britain (13 of 19) and Romania (14 of 22) as we had won 13 of 21.  It was incredibly disappointing to be so close to the semifinals and playing for the Championship but to narrowly miss out. We have an off day tomorrow before we continue on Friday.

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  • Day 10 and 11 and A Jog on the Beach

    On Tuesday I beat the # 22 seed from Canada 62 75 . Yesterday I lost in the round of 16 to the 8th seeded player from Great Britain. I was really disappointed after my loss since I felt I had a decent chance to win this match. I started quickly with a 3-0 lead and then my opponent came back to 3-3 and we then held serve to 6-6 . The tie breaker was close , but I made three silly mistakes to lose the breaker 7-5. I also double faulted at 4-4 in the breaker – I could not believe I could double fault at that moment. I would have felt a little better about it if I had at least tried for an ace or hit a hard first serve, but I missed two second serves in a row to double fault. I then hit a really good backhand passing shot at 4-5 to even the score . I then made two easy forehand errors to lose the breaker . Again I can not understand how I could miss either forehand – it is my best shot and I still missed it on the two most important points of the match. Sometimes nothing makes sense on the court and this was one of those moments. The second set was 6-2 – the score was really much closer but he had all the momentum, and I just could not turn things around in the match. So I ended my tennis singles tourney in Turkey with a loss . My partner Bob Exel and I have now won three doubles matches including beating the 5th seed today and are now in the quarter finals.
    The best quoted of the day came from of my doubles partner after I hit an easy set up shot for our opponent to put away – Bob smiled at me and said softly ” You know we are on the same team.”

    I took a run today after my doubles match on the Mediterranean Sea beach in front of my hotel. Although I was happy my doubles partner and I won our match , I was still feeling a little down from losing my singles match from the day before . Running for me is a great way to resolve any possible things that might be bugging me and it is great way to stay in shape and relax after working . My theory about running is the following : At some point during a run when you start getting tired , your brain goes into survival mode. It is at this moment that all unresolved issues are quickly solved and 100% of your energy and focus is to just survive the run! I would suggest to anyone to run or workout each day. You will feel better and you will be able to solve all your problems. Another interesting point about running – most doctors will tell you that if you exercise or run an hour day you will live at least 5 years longer . The funny part of this advise is if you add up all the hours you run to gain these years – you will have spent about 10 years exercising for the 5 years you gained.


  • End of The Road For Singles for Mike in Turkey

    Today’s singles match vs. Carlos Behar was again played on center court. What luck! Carlos was able to get an early break, which set the tone for the first set. Mike was always battling from behind. Even when he broke back with a top spin lob winner to get back on serve, Mike’s service holds were a bit tougher games than Carlos’s.

    This Colombian player, a seasoned representative for his country’s team has a solid game with lots of weapons. He got Mike with several drop shots, and with Mike serving at 3-4, he got broke again. Darn it! Carlos serving for the set at 5-3, Mike had a break chance that didn’t work out, and Carlos takes the set 6-3.

    Second set started off again with Mike getting broken early…his first service game, in fact. This is followed by Carlos holding, and Mike holding. Carlos serves at 2-1 and this game changes things dramatically for the set. Carlos missed some critical serves, even double faulting once. He misses a drop shot at 30-30 for a break chance, this one doesn’t work out either, deuce. Carlos hits a down the line passing shot, Ad-in. Mike hits a blistering cross court passing shot winner, DEUCE. Now, for the point of the day…Carlos drop shots Mike, who runs for it, followed by the lob, Mike gets to it and throws up a monster sky lob, Carlos drops him again, Mike dashes back to the net for the short ball, and reataliates with a drop shot of his own, catching Carlos spectating at the baseline. WINNER. And now we are back on serve. This game definitely takes Carlos out his rhythm and he doesn’t hold serve the rest of this set. Mike wins 6-2 for the split. Onto the third set.

    I’m thinking after that last momentum shift that Mike has the edge going into the third…that being said, I know he is tired and sore from all the matches he has subjected his 55 year old body to these past weeks. There has been a lot of icing, a lot of Sombra, Valtoran, and ibuprofen. Fingers crossed!

    Mike starts the 3rd set by getting broken again. I’m thinking, well, this happened in the last set, and he turned it around…it will happen again. I am especially encouraged when Carlos begins talking to himself in Spanish after missing returns into the net. He is making a few more mistakes and missing a lot of first serves. There are many aspects of their games that are similar, back hand volley cross court from beyond the service line, back hand slice approach shots, lobs and drop shots. Yep…that’s Mike’s game for sure.

    They get back on serve 2-2. Mike serving. Long rallies, you can see the increased determination in both players as they battle it out. 30-30, and the longest rally of the match, Mike just misses wide for a break chance. He saves it to make it deuce #1. Mike hits a shot that just clips the baseline and causes Carlos to ask his group if it was good. Si. Ad-In. Oh no…double fault! Deuce #2. Mike puts one away from the service line with an overhead winner. Ad In. Hits one into the net…shoot. Deuce #3. Drop shot winner, Ad In. Passing shot winner by Carlos, Deuce #4. Mike running for a drop shot, slips and doesn’t completely recover…gets the ball back, but barely as Carlos comes in to deflect the resulted weak shot to the open court, ad-out. Dang it Carlos gets the break, he shouts, Vamos!! His group cheers wildly.

    There are a couple more holds on each side, to bring it to Carlos serving for the match at 5-4. More of the same…cross court pass, drop shot, 40-30, match point. Sigh. Game set match for Carlos. What a great effort – but in the end it was not meant to be. Time to have lunch, shower and get ready for doubles. They meet the #1 seeds that are made up of each of their singles victories from yesterday. Should be a great match!

    Paul French, of Great Britain, is the #1 seed in both singles and doubles. Danny beat him in a tough 3 setter yesterday, and his doubles partner, Alan Rasmussen, of Denmark, is the 10th seed and lost to Mike yesterday. It would appear that those matches took their toll on either their mental game, their physical game, or more likely both. Neither player brought their precision game to the doubles that they displayed in the singles. They were making a lot of unforced errors, and when hitting long or wide, it was not by a small margin. The first set was completed in 30 minutes, with only one hold by Paul French. 6-1. USA.

    Second set was a bit closer, as they turned up the volume and began making fewer mistakes, they were able to hold 3 times and get a break on Danny’s serve. At 5-4, Danny serves for the match. He has some nerves as he lost his previous serve, and I’m sure yesterday’s singles, where he was serving for that match at 5-2 and got broke multiple times, bringing the match to 7-5 for his ultimate win, was still fresh as well. Anyway, back to the present match, Danny does not disappoint, he has a strong service game, setting up some great down the middle winners for Mike after the weak return of serve. 40-15, double match point. Misses one into the net. 40-30, long rally ensues…the last shot hit by Alan goes just wide. Game Set Match. Now here’s the funny part…Danny does not know it’s over. Later when we were chatting about the match, he told me that with so much tennis one can get not just physically fatigued, but mentally as well. He had lost track of the score, (which might have been a good thing!) and when he saw Mike’s outstretched hand, he thought, “is he congratulating me on holding serve?” but then he turned to see everyone coming to the net and he realized they had won the match. Go USA!

    Tomorrow Danny takes on Carlos, who beat Mike today, and they play the Australians, Gary Thoroughgood and Andrew Rae, the #3 seeds. Wish them luck!

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  • Wednesday in Turkey: Mike Moves into Quarters of singles

    Mike played a 6’3" powerhouse today. He was a hard hitter, and seeded 10th. Mike said going into the match that it would be "even steven." They put the match on center court, which was nice, as the viewing is not great on many of the courts, so it was fun to have stadium seating for this one. Mike wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about this development as I was. Ha.

    The first set was very tight, with an early break for Alan Rasmussen of Denmark. Mike was able to break back a couple games later and they both held the rest of the first set, bringing it to a tie-break. Mike was down 4-1 in the tiebreak and I started to get nervous. They had very long rallies from the baseline on a couple of critical tie-break points, but Mike got just one more shot back than his opponent and took the first set 7-6 (5).

    The second set was a bit easier than the first, as his opponent’s frustration at losing the first set seemed to get into his head and he began making more unforced errors than before. Second set lasted half as long as the first, and Mike advances, 7-6, 6-3. Tomorrow he takes on the #4 seed, and Colombian Team player, Carlos Behar.

    Dan Waldman, Mike’s doubles partner had a tough 3 setter against the #1 seed, Paul French of Great Britain. There were definitely momentum shifts, one more notable one when he was serving in the 3rd set for the match at 5-2. He got broke and ended up having to play several more games, but ultimately was victorious. 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

    The #2 seed, Mark Vines was defeated by an unseeded player from Spain, Javier Molina Ramos, 6-4, 6-2. Quite an upset!

    Doubles went quickly. Mike and Danny played a solid match against their French and German opponents. Michel Galey and Florian Ebner. They only gave up one game to these lively players…which does not reflect the level of play they displayed. They were good all around clay courters with good footwork and teamwork. There were lots of long, interesting rallies that you thought should have been over but they got another shot back. They were also very nice off the court, as you’ll be able to tell by their photo. The court was not conducive for photographs during the match, due to the chain link fence.

    Tomorrow, Mike and Dan take on the doubles pairing that is comprised of both their singles matches today, also the #2 seed. Should be an exciting match!

    On a side note, I included a cute picture of a group of Turkish students, on a field trip, watching a match on center court later in the day. Take note of the boys in the front row…probably not going to grow up to be tennis players, just a hunch.

    Evening plans included the black and white gala, which we were previously unaware of, so it was white/black/gray for us. But basically a repeat of our team event where they dressed up all the chairs and tables in lots of white linen, gave out red carnations to the ladies (I later gave mine to an appreciative and adorable 2 year old girl…gosh I miss the kids at our school!!!) and served yummy cocktails made with lots of fresh fruit, which I again, felt obligated to eat. Kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit, apple…was really delicious. The desserts, again, were insane. For you foodies out there…I know you’re waiting for the food edition. I’ve got all the photos, just not where to start, exactly, as there are so many dishes! I’ll pare it down (no pun intended) in the next couple of days. Hope life is fantastic back home!

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  • Thursday: Successful Day on the Courts in Turkey

    Today I played the quarters of the singles against a South African player, Elna Botha. She was an all court player but not accustomed to red clay as they have none in So Africa. She lives in Johannesburg which is about 6000 feet above sea level, but played on the So African team last week so had a week to get used to conditions. I warmed up early with Vicki and then Susan and played at 11 and won 61 61. The courts were drier today and are getting harder each day with all the rolling the courts are getting each morning combined with all day play. Elna slipped and fell two or three times but didn’t hurt herself.

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    In doubles we played the Brazilian #2 seeds, Doris Mattar and Lucia Rusu. They played a typical South American style, one up, one back, hard ground strokes and one player at the net making frequent poaches from very close to the net. Pat and I played well and won 61 61. I set up Pat and she was dynamic at the net. Brenda Moore (Mike Tammen’s spouse) dropped by and took the action photos below.

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    After tennis I biked over to the little shopping arcade near Ali Bey and joined Susan and Tina there to look at necklaces. Susan found a shopkeeper who would make necklaces to order out of beads and crystals. My bike always attracts a lot of attention too!

    Other Americans had mixed results. Mike Tammen lost his singles in three sets to Behar, the #4 seed but Danny Waldman won again to reach the semis. Tammen and Waldman won their doubles though, easily, in the 55s. Ross Persons and also Mark Vines/Wes Cash also advanced in 55 men’s doubles. Ken White and Bill Moss won in 50 men’s doubles and Mary Dailey won in 45 doubles with a French player. Fran Chandler lost in singles to Ingrid from Austria, the #1 seed. Shelly Works won her consolation match and so did Max King. Mixed is going on now, Ken White is playing with Mary D and Patricia Zerdan is playing with Max. Carolina Blouin is playing mixed too with Ross Duncan. Scott Works, playing with a pickup partner who is German is in the doubles semis.

    Update: Dailey/White and Blouin/Duncan are into the 50 and 35 mxd semis respectively. Carolina and Ross beat the #1 seeds! Max and Patricia lost to the #2 seeds.

    In the 55s, Diane beat Betty Michel of France 60 64 and Tina won 5-0 retired (she’s lost only 2 games in 3 matches…but plays Diane tomorrow). Susan unfortunately met Ros Balodis, a 6 time world champion a round too early and lost in just under three hours 64 in the third. She said she had many ad points she was unable to convert, but it was a very good showing by Susan on red clay. I play Ros next, who must be sick of playing Americans by now, she has played Pat, Susan now me this week! She also played Diane last week.

    In all doubles and mixed here they are playing a 10 point match TB in lieu of a third set. A lot of players are unhappy about that situation, especially for doubles and a petition to change that is going around. For the semis and finals I think a full third set would be nice.

    One funny think happened yesterday. After our doubes one of the Turkish court workers asked me where my husband was. I thought it was sort of an odd question till he explained…the one I was practicing with at the beach courts every morning…Jack Barker. Diane and I had a good laugh and I said I should have told him he was with his other wife.

    Here’s the ITF article for the day: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/news/articles/balodis-battles-into-semifinals.aspx


  • Wednesday: Onto the quarters in singles and semis in doubles

    Today started early with a 7:30 warm up and a 9am match. I played Helen Webb (though for some reason her name appears as Helen Shea in some spots) from Australia. She has a big forehand and a great forehand volley. It was very windy, which helped me in the beginning, as I adjusted to it better than she did and it affected her attacking game. I won 61 62 but it took over an hour and a half. Our points and games were hard fought. I play Elna Botha from So Africa next, another player I’ve never been on the court with. We play tomorrow at 11.

    Helen Webb, Carolyn NIchols

    On the court next to us, there was a lot of drama. A men’s consolation match, in the 55s I think, was being played and there were controversies from the getgo…one of the players, either from Poland or Russia, spoke no English, or Turkish, only a little German…and the other player was a calm Indian player. The referee was on the court constantly to correct line calls and at the end to correct the score. It was frustrating for the referee because the one guy was really upset and couldn’t communicate…and probably should have been defaulted for arguing when told to play. I think the Indian man won in the end though…see the photos below.

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    Later in the day Pat Purcell and I played our first doubles match, against a South African pair, Jenny Cerff and Sharon Van der Schyff. The first set was pretty close, but we ended up winning 64 62. It was still pretty windy which made overheads and volleys tricky. And then there are always those interesting red clay bounces, off the lines and off clods of clay on the court. We play a Brazilian pair next, the #2 seeds at 2pm tomorrow.

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    A lot of Americans were in action today; Danny Waldman upset the #1 seed, Paul French, 75 in the third but Mark Vines went out today in the round of 16. He was the defending champion, but is still in the doubles with Wes Cash. Mike Tammen won singles and doubles (with Danny); Fran Chandler won in three sets; Susan, Diane and Tina all won today and Susan plays Ros Balodis tomorrow, a big match; Patricia Zerdan is into the semis in the 35 singles; Ross Duncan went out to the #5 seed who played #1 on the German team; Mary Dailey is in the 45 doubles qf and 50 mixed; Carolina and Ross are in 35 mixed and Patricia and Max King are in the 35 mixed.

    The blogger, Bill Moss, lost today to the #8 seed in a tough 2-setter. He had another story…he was shopping at the market nearby, then went to a restaurant to order some Turkish bread and a beer. When he was ready to pay he discovered he’d left his wallet at the market. In a panic, he broke his PR running back to the market…and it was safe and sound. He said he tried to tip the proprietor but she was almost insulted by the thought that she’d let anyone take the wallet!

    I’m also including a few photos of the Ali Bey buildings and fountains; the fountains weren’t up and running till a day or two ago and the teacup fountains are unique.

    Bldg 4 blue fountain inside courtyard of bldg 4 teacup fountain further away

    ITF Article about today’s play.


  • Monday Blog from Erika: Watching the Individuals

    Monday — a day of watching tennis

    The weather today was beautiful for Day 2 of the individuals. I decided to spend the day watching some matches. First up was Danny Waldman. Danny has won the worlds in singles and doubles multiple times. He is in the men’s 55s and is a beautiful player. He played for Harvard, so there is the connection! Danny had a pretty straightforward singles match and was off the court in about 1.5 hours. I then headed over to watch Ross Persons, who is a teaching pro at the Houston Racquet Club. He is also in the men’s 55s. Ross lost a three plus hour heartbreaker, 7-6 in the third. It was a well played match with long rallies, great shots and outstanding sportsmanship from both players. It was one of those matches that you didn’t want either player to lose.

    The last match to watch of the day was great fun. My 50s doubles partner, Mary Dailey, was playing her second round mixed doubles match with Ken White, one of the 50s Cup players. They were playing a very good team (Australian/Great Britain combination) and I was expecting an exciting match. It delivered. Unfortunately for their opponents, Ken and Mary played very well and although there were great points and close games, the US duo won 6-0, 6-1. Tomorrow is a day off for them and then they will play a team from Poland in the quarters. Mary also starts the women’s doubles on Thursday. I wish I was playing with her, but I am glad at she was able to find someone to sub in for me.

    Tomorrow I start the journey home. It should be interesting with crutches!


  • Saturday and Sunday and the Rug Story

    Our team played Germany on the last day of the team competition. Tom and I each played singles and both won to clinch the match. This final win gave our team a 7th place finish out of more than 30 teams from around the world . The difference between finishing 1st or 7th is so little in this competition. Italy finished 1st and we were just a few shots from beating them in the previous rounds . I guess that’s what makes sports so much fun – almost anyone can win when you are all at the same level. Just one or two balls going in at the right time and you could be the champions.

    It has been really fun to play on the USA Team . It has been over 30 years since I played for the University of Arizona’s tennis team and I had forgotten how much fun it is to have teammates cheering for you like they are your brothers or part of your family. Mike our team captain did a great job making us feel like a team. We did everything ( tennis , eat , talk see sites, etc ) together every day. Everyone played and participated in some way in every match. We started the competition as four tennis players that hardly would shake each other hands and now we can barely stop hugging each other. I am sure we will now be friends forever.

    Rug Story :

    Yesterday , I went back to the town of Side ( small town about 45 minutes from the hotel) and did some shopping and saw a few more ruins. See photos. I spent most of my time negotiating for a rug. I am a Real Estate Salesmen in Malibu so I enjoy negotiations and other sales people. I once purchased a BMW car from a sales lady name Nada . When I first called her on the phone and started asking her questions , she told me to call her back when I had my act together and hung up on me. I could not believe she hung up on me since I was ready to buy a car that day. I somehow knew that this lady was really good at selling cars – so I decided to drive to her BMW store in Beverly Hills ( 30 minutes from my office ) to meet her . It turns out she was the #1 sales person in the USA for BMW . On her wall was a photo of Pete Sampris buying a Z8 BMW from her for over $200,000. She told me he paid more full price for that car . I asked her how she was able to get him to pay full price . Her simple answer was ” If not him then who ” meaning if she could not get him to pay full price then there was no one else that would pay that price. I have now purchased many BMW’s from her over the years and she sends me flowers on my birthday.

    Back to the rug story –
    Buying a rug in Turkey was like a four act Play for me. Act 1- I entered the rug store and the rug salesman served me tea and had me sit down and get comfortable in his shop. The store then came alive as other people working in the store started unrolling rug after rug and laying them in front of me. All the rugs were all so beautiful. Finally I narrowed my selection of rugs down to three that I liked. Act 2 – I then asked the price of the rugs . The salesman looked at the rugs very seriously and then gave me a price. I said I only wanted to pay a third of that price. He then told me a story of how much the rugs cost the store to purchase and how much he would lose if he sold the rug for anywhere near my price. I then upped my price $50. He countered by lowering his number a little and told me what a great price he was giving me and how it was below market . I told him I was going to see what the prices were in other rug shops up the street. Act 3 – At that point , a very nice older man dressed very comfortably came into the room – he was the salesman’s Father . His Father spoke very calmly and confidently – he said he had been selling rugs in this shop for over 30 years and he had the best and finest rugs in the area. He then purposely changed the subject and told me about his kids and his 13 months he spent in the USA . He was so pleasant and friendly to me. He looked into my eyes each time he talked to me. He was trying to build some trust with me. I countered his kid stories with my own kid stories. Then we went back to negotiating – Act 4 – I then raised my price again to show I appreciated his rugs and his company. He came down again a little on his price but we were still $100 apart. It was time for my last sales technique – I walked to the doorway like I was going to leave and not buy a rug from him . He did not flinch. He then closed the sale by telling me that the other rug shops will charge me more and will not have nearly the same quality as his shop . He then wished me luck finding a rug. He had me with that line. I knew he had given me his best price and he was willing to let me go or he knew ( which is probably the case ) that I would not leave with out the rug. So I then did the only thing I could do – I took three steps out the door and hoped he would say something – he did not – I quickly turned round and told him I wanted buy from him and that I really wanted to have a rug that came from his shop. I made one more offer to pay $25 below his last lowest price. He agreed and we shook hands. I had purchased a beautiful rug,and I had made a new friend in Turkey.

    See a few of the rugs I was looking in the photos.

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  • Tuesday: Into the Second Round of Singles

    I finally played a match in Turkey today. That was fun! My match was scheduled at 11:30 but I warmed up at 7:30 with Vicki Buholz again. She was to play Barbora Koutna from Czech Rep while I played Penny Smith from New Zealand. We hit for an hour and after breakfast I biked down to the beach as I was supposed to hit with Susan there but the courts were all full with a clinic. Susan, Pat and Tina hit mini tennis on one of the kids’ courts and I stretched. I was match #129, scheduled for 11:30 and got on about noon. We played on court B17 which is equivalent to court 57 (out of 60), about a quarter mile away from the tournament desk! Shelly Works from USA played next to me and Diane Barker a couple of courts down.

    It was dark and overcast and rain seemed eminent but never materialized. Penny has nice strokes, especially her backhand slice and I think would be a very good doubles player, but my dropshots on the clay worked well against her and I managed to win 61 60. Tomorrow I play Helen Webb from Australia who is a very good player and very fit. After singles, I went to see my doubles partner, Pat Purcell play. She played Ros Balodis second round and played her very tough in the second set, losing 62 64. It was just a few points difference between the two and bad luck that she had to play her so early in the tournament. After lunch we scouted our potential opponents, either a So African team or a Dutch team.

    I’ll include some photos tomorrow…I forgot about them today. I play singles early tomorrow, 9am…as do Susan and Diane in the 55s. Shelly lost in the 45s today and Vicki lost in the 50s, and Carolina Blouin in the 40s, so the 55s have to carry the USA banner along with Patricia Zerdan in the 35s.


  • Tuesday: Mike moves into round of 16

    Short one today: Mike took on Austrian, Christian Hebenstreit, who was seeded 29th. It was a fun match to watch, but was over fairly quickly. 6-3, 6-2. He was a very nice player on and off the court, and we also met his doubles partner, who is from New Delhi, but currently resides in Washington DC. He had nothing but nice things to say about his partner, as well as Mike. There are so many enjoyable people to meet in the world of tennis! Tomorrow, Mike (seeded 8th) plays the #10 seed from Denmark, Alan Rasmussen. His doubles partner, Danny, who is seeded #16, plays the #1 seed, Paul French. Wish them luck!

    Doubles was a bit of a disappointment, only in that their opponents just didn’t show up. We waited for nearly an hour before they called the match. It was to be against a Russian and a Georgian. The Russian had played that morning, and from the looks of things, he had played two matches, one in the main draw, one consolation, and only got a single game from each match. Perhaps he decided he was done. Anyway, Danny and Mike were looking forward to playing today, so it was too bad that didn’t happen. They will take on a German and French team in doubles tomorrow: Florian EBNER [WC]
    Michel GALEY Does anyone know what the WC designates? We could figure it out.

    Note from Carolyn: WC = Wild Card, i.e. a team or player which entered after the deadline or paired up after the deadline for pairing up as a team. This is different from SE, a seeding exemption, which is someone who is seeded above where his/her ranking would put him/her.

    Dinner is in two hours, we will probably go down to the beach for a quick walk before that…it is a bit cool today, though, and breezy. Low 60’s.
    Supposed to rain tomorrow and Thursday, which would be a bummer. Fingers crossed the forecast is wrong. Hope you all are doing great back home.

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  • Monday Day 8: First Round and Trip to Manavgat market

    Mike played a very nice South African man this morning, Archie Rudman, and I must admit, I have no commentary on this match. They were scheduled to go on at 9am, and I was having our last breakfast with our good friend Danny, who came all the way from Portland for this. He was heading home today, so we started walking over about 9:15, which would have gotten them through the warm up and just beginning the first set. Well, much to our chagrin, we showed up and he was up 4-1 in the second! As it turns out, they went on a bit early, and as Mike’s charming opponent put it when we met, “Mike was very stingy and only gave him 1 game the whole match”. So there you have it. No dubs today, 3rd round individuals tomorrow at 9am and dubs begin at 1pm.

    In the afternoon, we joined a few of our friends, Dan Waldman (Mike’s doubles partner, Paul Smith, (NZ) Wesley Cash (US 55 team) and Ross Persons (was on Fred Perry Cup Team Mexico City and the Men’s 55s in NZ) for a little adventure in Mangavat and some ruins called Lyrbe (Seleukeia). These were constructed in the Turkish hills between 300 and 30 BC, which was before Hellenistic times. These sites displayed less ornate detail than previous ruins we’ve visited, and obviously very different building materials. Was a majestic site, and very sturdy. There is one picture that was taken of me standing on top of a building, what you can’t see is that the open room behind me is about 50 feet above the ground. It was a an amazing site to visit, for certain.

    After we left there, we headed back to the downtown area, which was not geared toward tourists at all. Their bazaar, which is known for its bargains on Mondays for some reason, was bustling with local people doing their weekly shopping. It was a blend of farmers market and textiles and clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. Mostly western clothing…take note of the picture of all the jeans. I like to call that one baby butts. I have never seen such little mannequins before! Anyway, after doing a little shopping, I discovered just how much more we were being charged in the bazaars closer to our hotel. I knew we would be paying a premium, but I didn’t think it would be 4X as much! Oh well, we did our part to stimulate the Turkish economy.

    Back to Club Ali Bey for another amazing dinner — will do foodie version in the next few days. We are definitely getting spoiled with all the amazing Mediterranean food. There is always way too much to choose from, and the fresh fruits and vegetables are bountiful. They are taking very good care of us here.

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  • USA d. Germany in Perry Cup to Finish 7th

    Day 8: USA v Germany…Final matches

    Today’s recap will be short and sweet!

    Our final match turned out to be our easiest. (Especially for me, since I didn’t play.) Tom started us off and cruised through his singles with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

    His win was followed by Bill’s solid win over his opponent 6-2, 6-2 at #1 singles.

    While it wasn’t necessary to play, since we had already clinched our victory, Tom & Ken wanted to play the doubles to get one more match in. They clinched the sweep for USA: Doubles 6-1, 6-1.

    In other team news, our now “arch-nemesis” Italy won the Fred Perry Cup Championship this year (dang Italians!!!) If you’d like to read the ITF article, here is the link: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/news/articles/italians-take-late-victory-in-fred-perry-cup.aspx

    We spent the remainder of the day rooting on the rest of the US teams that were still battling for the title. Women’s 55’s team won easily…they are nearly unbeatable. Men’s 55’s lost the final match to Great Britain under the lights. The Dubler Cup team played their final match on center court, it was an amazing match to see. There were two match points for Mario Tabares in his singles match, he ended up losing his second set in an intense tie-break and then lost the 3rd set. Jeff Tarango was also defeated in his match. France wins the gold, USA takes the silver. The only other US team to bring home the gold was our Women’s 50s, who beat France in a dramatic third match win in the final. Congratulations, USA – well played! Hopefully the success will be a bit more wide spread next year. For all results, you can go here: http://itfseniors.tournamentsoftware.com/

    Great team effort all around, I’m proud of all our players, this has been one of the most fun teams I’ve been on to date. We were all a bit disappointed, but it truly came down to just a few points. Like I tell everybody, you win some, you lose some!

    Individuals start tomorrow…I have a bye today, so after watching my (now former) teammates matches and my opponents for tomorrow’s match, we will take in a few sites this afternoon. Stay tuned for a whole new tournament which starts now!

     

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  • USA Wins Maria Bueno Cup; USA Places 6th in Margaret Court Cup

    Tracy: USA takes home the Gold !!!

    Dream Team !!!

    Once again, it took a decisive doubles match to break the tie at 1-1 in singles, for us to beat France 2-1. I lost a tough battle 6-3,6-4 to Veteran Tour player Catherine Suire. The weather conditions were rough , with winds keeping my shots short for the French star to attack, and be aggressive at the net. Ros played the # 1 singles, and won 6-3,6-2. The doubles team of Vicki Buholz and Ros Niedeffer clinched the win, with a 6-2, 6-0 win. It was a great day !!!! I am so proud and it is a great honor to be a part of this team. Fran Chandler was so awesome sitting on the bench with everyone and keeping us calm during our play. This was definitely a Dream Team !!! I am not staying for the Individuals. I look forward to getting back home to my husband and kids  (2 Labradors and a German Shepherd ) Thanks to you to all the blog fans !! See you back home

    Turkish Word for the Day: Su (Water)

    Bueno Cup with trophy,Nideffer, Buholz, Houk, Chandler

    Erika’s Blog

    Thursday/Friday
    Rain delays make for interesting days of tennis.  On Friday, we were scheduled to play Austria "not before 11:30".  We were assigned a court, but the rain started before a ball was struck. So, we were in a rain delay.  Finally at 5:00 pm, they put both singles matches on simultaneously.  Anna played the #1 player in the world and fought valiantly.  However, the Austrian was too strong.  Shelly was struggling as well on the next court.  The conditions were tough.  The courts were wet and the balls were wet and heavy.  It was cold and damp and just plain miserable.  I was cold sitting on the court with Shelly and was once again impressed with her tenacity under the adverse circumstances.  She lost the first set and was down 2-1 when both players agreed they could not see the ball.  We were told to wait for a court with lights, but after an hour they gave us the choice to wait or play the next morning at 9.  Both teams opted for the next morning.

    Saturday morning came and it was a beautiful day.  Shelly warmed up well and I once again assumed my coaching role.  She came roaring back in the second set and won it 6-3.  The weather was warm but it was a bit windy.  The first few games of the third set were hotly contested, but the Austrian won them and then never looked back.  Shelly is an amazing competitor and fought to the bitter end, but she came up a bit short. The doubles did not get played since the outcome was decided.
    It was a tough week for us but we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and being teammates.  It was fun to coach and cheer each other on and be part of the US Court Cup team as well as the larger US team.  Some players teased Shelly and me that it was funny that I coached Shelly all week because our games are so dissimilar.  Don’t be surprised when you see us at our next tournament if Shelly is coming into net more (she might even serve and volley a few times) and I’m willing to hit 100 balls to win a point!  This week has been a complete immersion in tennis and we have all learned so much.  I can’t wait to get back on the court.

    Shelly is staying for individuals, but the rest of us are heading home.  I had planned on staying for individuals, but my right foot had a different idea.
    Speaking of the foot, I am still on crutches and now have a big blister on my left hand from the crutches.  But, the swelling in the foot and ankle appears to be going down and I’m told the bottom of my foot is not as black and blue.

    Works, ShellyIMG_4594IMG_4542

    Sunday — Despite being on crutches, I was convinced to go sightseeing and I’m glad I did!  Anna, Alissa and I joined Carolyn Nichols, Susan Wright and Julie Debendahl (from Australia but moved to Birmingham, Alabama about two months ago).  We went to Alanya, about 45 minutes from Ali Bey. There is a castle ruin at the top of the cliff overlooking the Mediterranean and the views were spectacular.  The weather was warm and the skies were clear.  Without too much walking, we were able to enjoy the views and take lots of pictures.  We then went to the center of town to have lunch and do some browsing and shopping.  We made some new friends with the restaurant owner and some of the shop owners and got some items to bring home as mementos of the trip.

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    Update on the foot – When we got back from sightseeing, I went to watch Mary Dailey’s mixed match.  She was finished (she won) and was hitting with some South African players.  One of the players is a doctor and immediately came over to meet me and insisted on looking at my foot.  She was pleased that it was stable and the swelling was noticeably down.  She was hopeful that the MRI and x-rays would show that it is only a bad sprain.  Earlier in the day, one of the men’s team from India came up to me to ask about my foot because he was a doctor and had heard about my injury.  His advice was to get an MRI and X-rays, but that he too thought it could just be a bad sprain.  The support I have received from the US team and from players from other countries has been a bright spot of the week.  The  camaraderie of the tennis community is wonderful.
    I’m trying to finalize my flights home.  Monday will be spent watching some friends play matches.


  • Day 6 and 7 and a story about The Amazing Land of Sinnet

    Our team had two rough  days of competition. We lost to Italy and Great Britain in 3-2 matches.  Yesterday I played #2 singles against Italy  and lost to by a score of 61 61. My opponent was in complete control from the first point to the last point I played. Mike beat another very good #1  player from Italy and then Mike and Ken lost a close rubber match . Today we played Great Britain . Tom started us out with a win and then Mike lost to one of the best slice backhand players  in the tournament. Again the match came down to the doubles – after a rain and  darkness delays, they finally returned to the courts under the lights and lost a very close match. Tomorrow we play our last team match for either 7th or 8th place.

    Today during the rain delay ,   as   I was just resting in a chair near the tournament desk,   a  strange  green fog suddenly  covered the tennis area . Now the wind began to blow very violently,   and I was  lifted up by this green fog like  a magic carpet high into the air. Higher and higher I went until I passed  out . Moments later I felt a pinch on my noise and voice saying " It’s time to play – It’s time to play" I opened my eyes and I was shocked to see a  funny looking round creature with a yellow fuzzy face  staring at me. He repeated " It’s time to play " and added " Welcome to land of  Sinnet  ( pronounced Sinay) . My name is Lab and  you are here to play "   Lab and I were on a  tennis court , but it was not like any other tennis court I have been on before .  The court was filled with many colors and all the lines constantly moved  and the net went  up and down at different speeds for no particular reason . There were courts in every direction much like the courts at the Ali Bey Tennis club , but these courts  were all different shades of the rainbow . There were people now playing tennis all around me in many different directions. Lab then started the game by throwing a round object at me that looked like a mini- Lab  and told me to hit it . As I hit the mini- Lab,  it whistled a song that sounded  like " Play all day – It’s fun to play." Now all the rainbow colored courts began  to move too . It was like playing tennis in a  spinning Kaleidoscope . Somehow I now knew all   the rules of the game. The object was hit the mini-Labs anywhere and everywhere ,  and the mini-Labs  would somehow return back to you. If I  wanted to hit a forehand , I would  hit a  backhand . If I wanted to serve, I would do a return . To hit the min-lab over the net  , I would hit it towards the ground . If I wanted to play on my court, I would play to another court. Everything was the opposite of what I had always known about tennis, but I did not care -  I was having fun. Suddenly the green fog appeared again, and I was  lifted high into the air . When I open my eyes this time , the sun was out at the Ali Bey tennis courts, and I was still in my chair.  I wondered if I was really went to Land Of Sinnet ( tennis backwards) or maybe I never left.  I was going to play tennis today and I was happy to play.

    The wind whistled again by me,  and I thought I could hear "Play all day – it’s fun to play." 

    Photos attached -Chair I was sitting in before the Green Fog and  Doubles at night – Mike and Ken

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  • Day 7: Evening event pics plus Friday match – USA vs. Great Britain

    The evening dinner was a very nice event, and it’s always fun to see how nice all our friends clean up. Our boys looked very dapper in their sports coats, the whole group looked very elegant. The pictures are a bit grainy, as I opted to leave the big camera at home and just relied on my trusty iPhone. Some of them turned out a bit dark. Sorry about that.

    You can see that teammate Ken White enjoys his desserts, and lucky for him there are many options to choose from here. Both Megan and I are sporting scarves we purchased at the local bazaar. They are beautifully made, and definitely made our outfits for the evening. I was surprised that the shopkeeper that we purchased them from was a woman. I’ve read that this is very unusual for Turkey. Anyway, back to tennis!

    Tom started us off right today against GB with his usual enthusiasm and his discriminating hard, lefty forehand. He had his opponent on the run from the start. Tom forced an early break, got on top and stayed there. He kept the pressure on, and while there were many interesting and varied points, he was able to dominate this match from early on.

    His opponent, Neale Graham, was serving 2-5 and had begun making a bit more errors than earlier in the match. He pulled out some amazing shots to be sure, but then would miss some easy ones, much to his chagrin. He chastised himself, “Oh my word!” after missing one such shot. I noted that the commentary and on court demeanor was far different than the previous day’s match with the Italians. His final service game of the first set was broken. Tom takes the first set, 6-2.

    The second set was very similar to the first, in play, some dramatic points involving the tape, (note the photo below with Neale’s expression after the net God granted him that point). There were a couple of double faults in the second set that caused Tom’s opponent to speak to himself again…mentioning being on some other planet or such…that was toward the very end of the match. I have to say, it is refreshing to see such a charming player, with a good sense of humor and cheerful disposition, despite the match not going his way. Good show, chap!

    On to the next singles match… Mike takes on Chris Hearn. Upon chasing a tennis ball that went into another court during the warm up, Chris leapt over the waist high fence, effortlessly, with very springy, fresh legs. An uncommon display in senior tennis. A slight chill went up my spine.

    On the surface, watching Chris’s game, it was nearly a mirror image of Mike’s game. Serve and volley, angle put-aways, backhand slice approach, get to the net whenever possible, drop shot/lob combos, down the line passing shot winners, chase down everything and move your opponent around. It really was like watching Mike in a British man’s body with his tongue sticking out. I swear if they had added the rule that you had to play with your mouth fully closed, Mike would have beat him. Ha.

    Seriously, though, Mike summed it up when I commented on the comparison in their strategy and style of play…he said, “Yeah, but Chris brought his “A” game and I brought my “B” game. This guy was super consistent, and hit more amazing shots than I have seen in awhile. I heard more than one person refer to this match as Chris playing “lights out tennis.” Unbelievable. And AGAIN it comes down to the doubles!!!

    Ken and Mike are up for the doubles…the weather had been getting colder and sprinkly for the past couple of hours, and when the wind hit, I knew that the rain was inevitable. The guys were out there warming up, (picture attached…can you see all the raindrops on their warm up suits?!) it was already coming down steadily, but they were all waiting for the “official word.” (see picture) Crazy. It was seriously pouring before the official came out to tell them matches were suspended. As it turned out, they were suspended from 1:30p to 5pm and now the sun has returned to the scene. Happily.

    Doubles with Ken and Mike vs. Neale and Chris (both singles players from earlier today) was a frustrating banter of holds and breaks…very challenging conditions from the cold, then the setting sun and lack of lights on the court with shadows everywhere. Made calling shots very difficult. The first set was very close, but we lost to the Brits 7-5. We then would be asked to wait for an open court that had lighting to complete the match. The temperature continued to drop, and despite having 5 layers on, I was still quite chilled. People walking around were wearing down jackets, knit caps and mittens, I kid you not. This was not your typical day of tennis.

    We didn’t wait long, and, ironically, out of the 30+ courts, we were back on the court where we lost to Italy the previous day. Not a good sign. Our guys had opportunities, but the Brits were making some unbelievable shots, making painting the lines seem like an ordinary, every day event. Another challenge was losing the ball in the lights. There were many many many lobs, so this definitely changed the game quite a bit from earlier in the day. The Brits ended up getting the final break to take the match and the day’s event, 7-5, 7-5; 2-1. Sigh. In trying to figure out how to end this blog, I asked Mike if there was anything he wanted to say about his match, and he said that it was very frustrating. So there you have it.  Now onto Australia for 7th place.

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  • Friday Blog, Tracy Houk

    Friday: today, we played the Czech Republic at 9:00am. I played #2 singles and lost 6-3,6-2. Our #1 singles. Ros Niedeffer evened it out, winning in straight sets, 7-6,6-2, after a 6 hour rain delay at 6-6 all in the first set. We had a quick bite to eat, and rest up before Roz went back out to finish strong. At 1-1, the tie would be determined by the doubles. Vicki Buholz played with Ros under the dim lights, and after being down 1-5 in the first set, they tied it to 6-6 and won the tiebreaker 7-2. They played a strong second set, and won it 6-1. It was an exciting doubles match and we are now in the finals against France, who beat Italy. We had a late dinner and a victorious Team Hug !!! Weather tomorrow should be dry. Wish us luck !!!

    New word today is : gunaydin- good morning

    Pronounced ( gu- ni-din )

    Houk, Tracy Nideffer, Ros Vicki Buholz, Tracy Houk, watching Ros Nideffer   photo 5 photo 4


  • USA Bueno and Trabert Cup Teams into the Final with Connolly Cup; USA Austria Cup Team to Play Deciding Doubles Saturday for a Spot in the Final

    The USA Bueno Cup team completed a come from behind victory over Czech Republic when Ros Nideffer completed a rain delayed match against Barbora Koutna. The match as you may recall was stopped at 6-6 by rain, first set. When it resumed, Ros won the tiebreak 7-4 and the second set 61. That set up a deciding doubles match. Vicki Buholz and Ros played the doubles and were soon down 5-1. It was cold, breezy and the match was played under lights. They rallied though to win the match 76 61, by cutting down on errors and closing off the net. They play France tomorrow.

    The Dubler Cup team also had to rally to advance to the final. They split the singles, losing at #2 (Eoin Collins) and winning at #1 (Jeff Tarango, or JT as his teammate Kelly Ward called him). The deciding doubles was played by Mario Tabares and Tarango. They split sets and won the third 62 and Mario even broke into a big smile a few times…once when Jeff hit a super sonic forehand and again when they won the match point. They played great together.

    The Austria Cup team was down a match (Peter Markes lost in 3 sets at #2 singles) and up a set at #1 singles (Mark Vines) when rain began. Vines completed the rain-delayed win. The doubles will be completed tomorrow.

    The Perry Cup team lost the deciding doubles against Gr. Britain today.

    The Court Cup lost at #1 singles and Shelly Works is down a set and 2-1 to Argentina. They will finish the match tomorrow. Play resumed after the rain near dusk. It was a pretty sunset.

    photo (1) photo (7)


  • Mike Tammen Blog Day 5: Italy d USA

    Day 5: USA vs. Italy…a bit of a heart-breaker, Italy advances 2-1

    This entry will be written by my wife…she is convinced that I won’t comment on some of the details you might want to hear, claiming that my natural tendency towards “less is more,” might not serve those of you following our matches.

    Italy is the #9 seed and they took out Sweden, the #8 seed, yesterday. Playing the Italians always brings a unique type of energy not just to the playing field, but also to the spectator field. There is always a significant amount of “bravo, bravo, bravissimo!” as the Italians cheer on their countrymen. In my experience, there is generally much contention over line calls and marks in the clay. If you enjoy the on-court drama, today’s match would not disappoint. It was emotionally charged, to be sure, those Italians are a passionate bunch.

    Bill Moss, who didn’t play yesterday, was enthusiastic to start us off in #2 singles to get the ball rolling. He definitely brought a lot of energy, which was needed as was subjected to long, grueling rallies from the baseline but was repeatedly caught several feet behind the baseline as his opponent mercilessly executed drop shot after drop shot for many winners. Bill became increasingly frustrated as he could not find a weakness to pick on with this very solid Italian player. He went down 6-1, 6-1.

    Mike Tammen is next in the line up, he meets up with an Italian Andre Agassi…compact, very fit, strong muscular legs and very quick, getting to just about everything Mike dished out. Mike starts of strong, holding his serve at love and breaking his opponent’s first serve. Unfortunately, his opponent successfully breaks back, putting them back on serve. The battle ensues, with well-strung together points. One point sticks out that began as a serve and volley, which turned into a half volley, which turned into a drop shot winner. This earned Mike the “racquet clap” from his opponent.

    We are on serve, Italy 4 serving 5 when we decide to put on our rally hats. They guys turn their hats backwards (how Mike always wears his unless he’s playing in the sun) and Bill comes up with the chant, “What time is it? It’s BREAK time!” (see photo below). We think this made a difference in the momentum, but I’m sure the cross court forehand that hit the tape and turned it into an un-returnable drop shot, helped also. 6-4 USA

    Second set, Mike starts us off in a way I have never witnessed before. Mike serving, ACE, (this is his 2nd of the match). His next 3 serves are a repeat of his first. Now that is efficiency! I asked him about it later and he had said it had been many years since he had pulled that off.

    This set is filled with lots of interesting points, with varied play, lots of back hand slice approach shots, angling off to force his opponent into a lob, which he puts away. This happens on both sides of the net, unfortunately, making it a close set. There are also close calls made, causing the line judge to come out on the court (see photos of the men discussing the mark as well as the pretty woman with two cell phones – she is the line judge, responsible for 4 matches simultaneously being played.) It was a very exciting set, which had several break chances early on, but none capitalized until we were at 4-3. Mike gets the break, making it 5-3, then serves it out for the match. 6-4, 6-3. Comes down to the doubles once again. Sigh. This isn’t supposed to happen this early in the tournament!

    Doubles begins with a bang…Italy serving and there is serious contention over a call Italy makes at deuce. If you know Mike, you know he rarely argues a call, more often than not, asking his opponent how he saw it, and giving them the call. Today is a different day. Line judge is called out, each opponent is pointing to two different marks on the court so the line judge, who didn’t see the actual point of impact has no choice but to make them replay the point. USA ends up getting the break. Ken gets fired up!

    These are both very strong teams with lots of weapons. The Italians may have the edge here, as they grew up on this surface. Their comfort shows. There is no shortage of exciting points, and each team has a vocal cheering section. Ken serving in the first set at 4-5, started off strong with his booming serve that garnered a weak return making the put away by Mike. This game goes to deuce and we end up getting broke, losing the set 6-4.

    There were more breaks than holds in this match, and we had our chances and did move ahead but didn’t stay ahead. Ken was serving for the second set at 5-4 and got broke, followed by a hold and a break on Mike’s serve to end the match. 6-4, 7-5, Italy advances. For the first time in 5 years, USA is now advancing in the tournament, but only to play for 5th place. Team is a bit dejected, but I’m confident they will rally for tomorrow’s match against Great Britain.

    Tonight is our fancy, group dinner where all teams get dressed up and there is dancing following dinner. Will include photos from that in tomorrow’s edition.

    Day 5 photos (1) Day 5 photos (2) Day 5 photos (3) Day 5 photos (4) Day 5 photos (5) Day 5 photos (6) Day 5 photos (7) Day 5 photos (8) Day 5 photos (9) Day 5 photos (10) Day 5 photos (11) Day 5 photos (12) Day 5 photos (13) Day 5 photos (14) Day 5 photos (15) Day 5 photos (16) Day 5 photos (17) Day 5 photos (18) Day 5 photos (19) Day 5 photos (20) Day 5 photos (21) Day 5 photos (22) Day 5 photos (23) Day 5 photos (24) Day 5 sunset (2)


  • USA Advances to Final of Connolly Cup; Austria, Dubler, Bueno, Court, Young and Perry Cups in Rain Delay

    Friday 4pm Update: USA Advances to Final in Connolly Cup

    The USA Connolly Cup team advanced to the final behind the strong singles play of Susan Wright and Diane Barker. Wright won easily at #2 and Barker then took the court to play a highly anticipated match against Australian Ros Balodis, who almost single-handedly beat the USA Bueno Cup team in 2012. In fact, last year she was ahead 64 50 and rallied to win…this time she only rallied to win…one game at that juncture. Diane won 64 61 and didn’t allow her talented opponent to get to the net. The conditions were heavy and cool and it began raining almost as soon as the match finished. Tina Karwasky/Pat Purcell then took the court to play the doubles and split sets and just started the third when play was called.

    The USA Austria Cup team is playing Germany. Germany won the first match against USA when Peter Markes lost a very well played match in three sets. His captain, Mark Vines was extremely complimentary of Peter’s consistency and fight against the world #5. Vines was up a set and 1/0 when play was suspended (now till at least 5pm local time).

    The USA Dubler Cup team is playing Italy. Eoin Collins at #2 lost a tough two setter and JeffTarango was up a set and on serve in the second when play was suspended due to rain.

    The USA Bueno Cup team is playing Czech Republic. Tracy Houk fell at #2 singles to a very good Czech player. Ros Nideffer is on court with Barbora Koutna, who took out Chris French in about 4 hours yesterday. They are tied at 6-6 in the first set. (Nail biting time for onlookers at least!)

    The USA Perry Cup team is playing Gr. Britain. Thomas Schlack won at #2 singles but Mike Tammen lost his first match all week at #1 singles, so the team is getting ready to play the decisive doubles point.

    The Young Cup team is down 1/0 against Argentina in the 7/8 playoff. Stephanie Stone lost at #2 singles in straight sets and Debbie Higa will go on when the weather improves at #1 singles.

    The Trabert Cup teams both lost both singles; the doubles wasn’t played. They lost to Czech Republic; Daniel Marting lost at #2 and Carsten Hoffmann lost at #1. The team plays Turkey tomorrow in the 14/15 place playoff.

    The Italia Cup lost 2/0 to Australia. Justin Touchstone had a tough three setter at #2 and Gabriel Venter lost in straight sets at #1. The team finished 12th.

     

    Barker, Diane Eoin Collins Houk, Tracy Peter Markes Nideffer, Ros Schlack, Thomas Jeff Tarango...he made this volley, won the point, got the break


  • USA Italia Cup Team Falls to Sweden

    Today we played a very good Swedish team and unfortunately things did not go our way. Sweden was simply too good for us and were the deserved winners of this tie.They got revenge on us from last year as we swept them and they returned the favor on us this year.

    Mark played a very flashy lefty who has a big serve and a big forehand. Sometimes he can go wayward but not today he was totally on fire.
    In my match it was much the same.My opponent did not have as big of a serve but had a monstrous forehand.I was up 30 or 40 love in multiple games but was not able to convert my opportunities to keep the pressure on him which was more than frustrating. Mark I ended both ended up losing 3,0.
    In doubles Justin and Gabe lost a very close first set but were unable to stay with the Swede’s in the second.

    On a more positive note for us we attended the official dinner to celebrate the centenary of the ITF and they did an incredible job despite some challenges. We were all going to have dinner outside together but since the weather was not good they divided the teams into two seperate locations.It was impossible to know that this was their back up plan as they executed it to perfection with incredible food and a good atmosphere with a live band and some dancing.

    Next up for us tomorrow are the Australians who are also not clay court specialists so we are hopeful for a good performance.


  • Bill Moss Blog Wednesday: Team Wins Again and Laundry Story

    Our team won a close match today against the Czech Republic. Tom Schlack played #2 today and shellacked his opponent with a 6-1 6-1 victory . Next was our #1 match with Ken White. He  started out with a 4-1 lead but the  Czech Republic  player turned the match around and won 6-4  6-1. The rubber match was our doubles team of  Mike Tammen and Ken White against their #1 team. Mike and Ken played great an won 6-2 6-2 . We now move on to play Italy tomorrow in the quarter finals. Match photos below.

    So I finished my last blog wondering if I would ever see my laundry again. As you recall, Mike and Brenda Tammen and I left our laundry with a man carrying a shovel inside a very small building deep in hills of Turkey. We made arrangements to have him or someone do our laundry and then deliver it to our hotel lobby the next day at 4:00. Brenda and I would meet him there and exchange the agreed upon funds for the clothes . To be honest , I really did not think I would see my things again . At 4:00 the next day,  I   went to the lobby of the hotel and both my clothes and Brenda were not there . My imagination went wild – maybe she had arrived early and was asked by someone to go outside to look at her clothes inside a questionable  black sedan with darken windows  and now she and my laundry were lost in Turkey forever . I know it sounds like I  may need paranoid medicine at this point but you need to understand I did drink the water out of the hose bid on the courts in Turkey on my first day here and later found out you should not drink the water. So who knows what the water has done to me.  Also there are way too many bulletins lately stating USA citizens should be careful in such and such Country on such and such date. Additionally ,  I have never had to register my name with some agency just in case I disappear in Turkey . Finally , I did see Midnight Express …. So these are my excuses to why my imaginations seems to going a little wild at the moment. Back to my story – At 4:10  Brenda appears in the lobby of the hotel – I am relieved to see her but I do not show it  – I explain to her  that the laundry has not arrived  yet but maybe  our Exchangers are stuck outside the gates to the hotel  ,and they  are not allowed in. So we walked very slowly  about 300 yards to the gates mainly due to the weight of my tennis bag on my shoulders  and there behind the border line of the hotel and the rest of Turkey is the small  little man that escorted us through his neighborhood to the hole in the wall   laundry building  . As our eyes meet , a huge smile covers his face, and he waves his arms to gesture that he is the one we met yesterday.  Brenda and I  cautiously  cross the hotel lines  to meet him  and out from the side of his  car are two figures appear . To my relief, one of the figures is his  wife and she immediately give us a gentle smile . Her long brown hair is partially covered and she is  dressed in a hand knit striped sweater. Nudged against  her side  is her beautiful little brown eyed  daughter with pink tennis shoes . Resting at their feet is a large clear bag with our clothes .  It is clear to me that this family of three who been patiently waiting for us at the gates  of the hotel  have spent at least  part of the day washing  and  neatly folding  our things .  They have come to  exchange us their services for the amount we agreed to. Maybe we are the first Americans that they have met and are wondering if all Americans walk through neighborhoods with bundles of laundry in their arms. Most likely they are just very nice people doing someone like us a favor. I take a picture of them which is included below. If you would like to have a similar adventure and meet this wonderful family, I think Brenda has someone’s business card that can reach them . This same person may want to sell you a purse too at least he did with us .   

     

    IMG_3380 IMG_3382 IMG_3373


  • USA Perry Cup Team Defeats Czech Republic

    Today began as a much warmer day – no moisture in the air like yesterday, which was a welcomed change. There is nothing like a beautiful sunny morning and the scent of the Mediterranean to inspire the best in us all. After a quick breakfast and 7:50am warm up hit, we met the Czech Republic for our match at 9am.

    For those of you may not be familiar with the ITF format, it is always played as 2 singles matches, #2 plays first, followed by #1, then you end with the doubles. We must decide who will be playing singles and submit that line up ahead of time…the doubles allows changes up until the time of play. In order to maintain integrity with the singles strategy, you must play in order of ranking. (i.e., you can not play your #1 ranked player in the number 2 spot ever. You can, however, play your #4 ranked player in the #2 spot, then any of the remaining players could play in the #1 spot, make sense?) You win two of these matches and you take the match for that day.

    Tom Schlack led us off with a very solid start at #2 singles. Ken’s fiancée, Megan, gets the credit for his new nickname. He is known on our team as the friendly assassin. He is the nicest, most complimentary player on and off the court, but when he hits that wicked lefty forehand, you’d better run for cover. He had some great winners, got to the net as often as necessary to get the job done.

    He said after the match, “I could just hear Mike in the back of my head, you’d better come in, you’d better come in!” followed by, “why didn’t you drop shot him more?!” I thought he did a great job mixing it up and trying to get in more, which was previously not in his natural repertoire of play. 6-1, 6-1. Great job, Tom.

    Onto #1 singles played by Ken White. Ken has one of the most cannon-like serves of anyone I know in the 50’s. His predominantly base line game is very consistent and hard hit. This served him very well until we were up 4-1 in the first set. After 5 or 6 games on this surface, the balls start to change in texture and movement. That, combined with some very close line calls (see below pictures), at least a dozen deuce points on his serve, which he eventually lost, allowed for a significant momentum shift that cost Ken the next 5 games and the first set.

    The second set was even more frustrating for Ken, as the harder he hit the ball, the more comfortable and exacting his opponent seemed to get with his returns. It was almost like his opponent harnessed the increased force Ken kept putting into his shots and was able to come up with more winner returns than before. The Czech Republic took this one 6-4, 6-1. So this will come down to the third and final match of the day to decide who wins…the doubles.

    Ken and I paired up to play the doubles against the Czech #1 and #2 players for this final face-off. We had taken a bit of a break after the singles so Ken could regroup. He came back refreshed and ready to go. Like a pro, he put the loss behind him and brought his “A” game from the onset. We had a fast start and broke both the Czechs in each of their first service games, along with a strong hold at love by Ken. The momentum was with us! My service game was a bit disappointing the first time around, it was close, but I ended up getting broke to put us at 3-1. This turned out to be a minor set back, however, as we got another break, Ken held his serve, then the Czechs held, then I held to take the first set. 6-2.

    There were some great points with some crazy back hand volley winners and lots of great footwork on both sides of the net. If there’s a decent chance to poach, I will take it, so I took a few opportunities to end points that way. We made a solid team, got on top early and stayed on top. The second set was essentially a repeat of the first, and we got our win for the day 6-2, 6-2.

    Now I am going to go take a walk on the beach with my wife before our team dinner, where I’m sure we will have lots of spirited conversation recapping today’s match (at dinner, not on the beach). It’s a fun group to experience this with, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to move on to the next match. Bring on the Italians!

    P.S. US teams had mixed luck today with their matches. Teams that won today were both Men and Women’s 55’s; Men’s 35 and 40 both lost today. Not sure about the others yet, will try to find out details at dinner.

    P.P.S. Just for fun, let’s play a tennis version of “I spy with my little eye” that my wife came up with. Look through her photos and see if you can spot the following:

    1. A doppelganger for a young version of the Godfather.

    2. The player with the highest toss I’ve ever seen.

    3. Our teammate that most resembles former Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney (with maybe a dash of George Hamilton).

    4. The best, most playful name on a jersey yet – can you find it?

    5. The shot that my wife deemed “shot of the day” AKA “down the middle…the best shot in doubles.”

    That’s all for today! Stay tuned for results from our Italian match.

    Day 4 photos (1) Day 4 photos (2) Day 4 photos (3) Day 4 photos (4) Day 4 photos (5) Day 4 photos (6) Day 4 photos (7) Day 4 photos (8) Day 4 photos (9) Day 4 photos (10) Day 4 photos (11) Day 4 photos (12) Day 4 photos (13) Day 4 photos (14) Day 4 photos (15) Day 4 photos (16) Day 4 photos (17) Day 4 photos (18) Day 4 photos (19) Day 4 photos (20) Day 4 photos (21)


  • Margaret Court Cup Team defeats Spain on Red Clay! Austria Tomorrow

    Comment from Carolyn: This is why Erika and Tracy missed the blog yesterday: Erika injured her foot playing South Africa:

    The Court Cup had some bad luck today against South Africa to whom they lost 2/1. Shelly Works won 62 62 in about two hours; Anna Zimmermann lost in three sets at #1 singles. Alissa Finerman/Erika Smith lost in three sets in the deciding doubles and Erika hurt her foot in the 2nd set but they managed to win it 62; however she hurt it further (she heard a pop) and couldn’t move. Alissa was all over the court, she’s amazingly quick, and Erika hung in there but had to leave the court on crutches. I had to find the physio who sent me to the doctors (hanging out by the bar..hmmm) who then led me to the doctor’s office at Ali Bey where they had used crutches for a 10 euro fee (new ones were 25 Euros)…we took them to Erika and a cart was ordered to transport Erika back to her room. Vesna, who is a paramedic was called to the court (she was watching the Young Cup doubles) and looked at Erika’s foot, which was swollen and looking black and blue on the ball of her foot. It was a really sad ending to the match, as Erika was planning on playing the individuals with Dailey next week and this was her first ever Cup team. The Court Cup plays Spain in the 5-8 playoff tomorrow.

    The Bueno Cup team beat Sweden decisively behind singles wins by Tracy Houk and Ros Nideffer and a doubles win by Fran Chandler/Vicki Buholz. 

    Erika — our match with Spain started at 9:00 am.  The toughest part for me was arranging for a cart to drive me to the courts since I am on crutches.  The foot is swollen and painful, so I would just be playing the role of coach today.

    Once again, Shelly got things started for us.  The first set went the distance with Shelly winning the tiebreaker 8-6 after fighting off three set points.  The set took almost two hours!  Shelly quickly (for Shelly) went up 3-0 in the second set, aided by her opponent’s obvious disappointment for not closing out the first set.  Not only did she have three set points in the tiebreaker, she had been up 5-4 in the set.  Shelly won the second set 6-2.
    Anna then played the top Spanish player and lost a tough two setter.  As always, she was fighting for every point.

    So, we headed into the doubles tied 1-1.  Shelly and Alissa were playing together for the first time and we had worked out their strategy before the match.  Shelly is more comfortable on the baseline, so it was going to be one up/one back doubles until Shelly worked her way into net.  They won the first set 6-3 with me coaching on the changeover and Anna cheering from the sidelines.  The Spanish team adjusted their strategy in the second set and started coming to net more frequently.  They won the second set 6-3 and were up 5-3 in the third.  Other Spanish players were trickling over to watch during the second and third sets, so it felt like an away college match.  Fortunately, at 3-5 down in the third, our women’s 35s team arrived and provided some energy and cheering.  Shelly and Alissa fought back to 6-6 and it was all coming down to a tiebreaker.  They played a great tiebreaker with Alissa hitting some clutch volley winners and Shelly hitting some perfect lobs that resulted in missed overheads.  At one point, Alissa surprised the Spanish team by hitting a perfect topspin lob for a winner.  We won the tiebreaker 7-4.  When asked "what were you thinking when you hit that topspin lob?", Alissa said that she had spent  four days watching Shelly hit beautiful lobs and wanted to get in in the fun.  Why not try it in the tiebreaker of the third set of the deciding match?

    Tonight was the player dinner and the US team gathered for pictures.  Everyone looked great — the men in their matching ties and the women with matching scarves.
    We play Austria tomorrow for the 5/6 spot.  But, the weather forecast is for rain.

    Tracy–

    We had a bye today, so Vicki and I took a taxi in the morning to the town of Side. It’s on the water and you can sit outside and enjoy a Turkish tea, or fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. It was a nice change of scenery, from the tennis courts. After spending a few hours there, we headed back

    To watch the Czeck Republic beat Great Britain, after they split the singles and the doubles sealed the deal. We play them tomorrow at 9AM. We hit the courts for an afternoon practice, then got ready for the Official Dinner. It was a fun event. After dinner, I went back to my room to try and confirm my return flight reservations. It’s really difficult to get anything done over here. Keep your fingers crossed , and wish us luck for tomorrow.

    Since I missed the blog yesterday , I will leave you with two new words.

    Nasilsin- how are you

    Ok, maybe just one. I don’t want you to get to overwhelmed .


  • Ross Duncan Blogs for Italia Cup Team

    Duncan, Ross Italia Cup, Jason Touchstone, Mark Tepes, Gabriel Venter, Ross Duncan

    The Italia Cup team consists of four players, Ross Duncan (Aliso Viejo, CA) captain and #1, , Mark Tepes (Medford, NJ), Gabriel Venter (Blue Ash, OH) and Justin Touchstone (Weston, FL). They are competing in the 35 and over age division. They were seeded #4 but lost to a very tough Romanian team on Tuesday.

    Friday Blog: Australia d. USA; USA finishes 10th

    Today we played Australia and since it was our last match I decided to give Gabe and Justin the opportunity to play singles and Mark and I would play doubles instead.
    At the number two singles Justin won the first set 6-1 and was looking like a lock to win the match but the Aussie came storming back to pull out a very tight second set 6-4. Midway through the second set at 4-3 30-40 Justin serving on break point the net broke and we had about a 20 min delay. This intermission seemed to favor the Aussie as he broke serve to level the match and then pulled it out 6-4. Things were looking good early as Justin went up 2-0 but unfortunately the tide turned and the match was won 6-2 in the third.

    In the other singles Gabe played a very consistent baseliner in cold and rainy conditions which made it really hard to put the ball away. The clay is already so much slower and this just accentuated the slowness of the surface.

    In a very tight first set with almost every game going to deuce Gabe found himself a set down 7-5 that really could have gone either way. In the second set the Aussie seemed to take his game up a level and started to dictate more points from the baseline winning the set 6-1.

    After sitting on the bench for the morning I was ready to play doubles and to use it as an opportunity to see how Mark and I would play together. Unfortunately due to a long week of clay court matches and cold conditions the Australians did not feel up to the task and ITF rules state that they do not have to play in this situation when the tie has been decided already.Needless to say it was disappointing for us as we really wanted to get out there and show them our stuff.

    Starting out as the fourth seeds and ending up in tenth place was very humbling for us. I know that we will definitely come back next year hungrier and full of motivation to do better. Our immediate job now is to support the USA teams that are still in and that have a chance to bring a cup home and to take the lessons learned which there are plenty from this experience to help us be better players as we prepare to try and make next years team.
    Thank you for all your support this has been an amazing experience for all of us!

    Thursday Blog: Sweden d. USA

    Today we played a very good Swedish team and unfortunately things did not go our way. Sweden was simply too good for us and were the deserved winners of this tie.They got revenge on us from last year as we swept them and they returned the favor on us this year.

    Mark played a very flashy lefty who has a big serve and a big forehand. Sometimes he can go wayward but not today he was totally on fire.
    In my match it was much the same.My opponent did not have as big of a serve but had a monstrous forehand.I was up 30 or 40 love in multiple games but was not able to convert my opportunities to keep the pressure on him which was more than frustrating. Mark I ended both ended up losing 3,0.
    In doubles Justin and Gabe lost a very close first set but were unable to stay with the Swede’s in the second.

    On a more positive note for us we attended the official dinner to celebrate the centenary of the ITF and they did an incredible job despite some challenges. We were all going to have dinner outside together but since the weather was not good they divided the teams into two separate locations.It was impossible to know that this was their back up plan as they executed it to perfection with incredible food and a good atmosphere with a live band and some dancing.

    Next up for us tomorrow are the Australians who are also not clay court specialists so we are hopeful for a good performance.

    Touchstone, Justin Venter, Gabriel Venter, Touchstone, USA Italia Cup team-001

    Wednesday Blog: USA d. South Africa

    After coming off a tough loss yesterday against Romania it was really important for us to rebound against a resilient South African team.

    Mark Tepes lost a tough long first set in conditions that make it really hard to finish points. The clay out here in Antalya is really slow and a good defensive game really allows you to neutralize the point and make you opponent have to rebuild the point over and over again. This pattern seemed to be repeating itself and despite having his chances the first set slipped away 7-5. Mark then came back strong breaking the South African in the first game and held on to win the set 6-2 playing much better. The third set was a little closer but when it mattered most Mark raised his level and pulled out the win 6-3 in the third.

    I played against a lefty that had taken Pescario to three sets and being born in South Africa I felt extra pressure as I really did not want to lose to my country of birth. I started off shaky with the nerves getting to me going down 2-0 with a lot of unforced errors but then pulled my way back into the match eventually winning the set 7-6.(7-1 in the breaker ) but only after being down a set point. After having the first set under my belt I was finally able to play my game with more confidence and won the second set 6-1.

    In the doubles Gabe and Justin had another marathon match. It seemed to replicate the match against Romania where they got off to a slow start but just eventually wore their opponents down winning 6-4 in the third.It is really hard to be out there for four or five hours coaching and supporting and to then be ready to play right away.

    Clay court doubles really has some fun athletic points and they were on display in a very entertaining match.

    Tomorrow we have a very good Swedish team who’s number one singles player has a win over Soderling and their number two is their number one from last year so we have out work cut out for us but we are very excited as this is why we are here to play hard tough fun matches.

    So far all of us have had slow starts to all of our matches so we strategized and hope to have much better starts tomorrow.

    Being here together with all the other teams has really been such a fun experience.I really love how all the other USA teams always stop by to show their support. I am very proud to be an American !!

    Thank you to Carolyn as well for letting us use her flag during out match.

    Good luck to all the teams tomorrow !

    Go USA

    Tuesday: Romania d. USA (Comments by Carolyn Nichols)

    Romania was just really tough. The #1 player was top 75 and the #2 player was a clay court specialist…great lobs, and great dropshots and counterpunching skills. Ross Duncan, left below and Mark Tepes, right below.

    Duncan, Ross Tepes, Mark