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  • Traveling Back to the USA

    Monday October 25, 2021

    I traveled back to the USA yesterday, Sunday. It was a long trip. There are a few new wrinkles to international travel and where the creases are depends upon which country one is leaving from and transiting through.

    No matter which country in Europe anyway a US citizen leaves from, one must get an antigen (or PCR, but they are more expensive and the results take longer to receive) test within three days of travel. I traveled on the 24th, so needed to get a test on the 21, 22, 23 of October, or I suppose could have taken one on the 24th if I wasn’t leaving so early. I had a binax home test which is video proctored. I took it on the 22nd and obviously tested negative since I am back. I got both a QR code and a letter (PDF) with the date of the test and the result. Nothing had to be printed out.

    To transit via London I also had to fill out a record locator form online and received a pdf of the completed form.

    For British Airways, I needed to download the “Verifly” app, and upload the letter (the QR code, which worked for United in July didn’t work for American/BA but the letter did work) and the completed locator form. I also had to enter my passport and flight details and vaccination details. Shortly after that I received a green check from Verifly that all my documents were in order. For anyone without a smart phone, I think showing the negative test result letter, the printed locator form (this can also be filled out before check in at the airport, BA anyway handed out a lot of these) and your vaccination card. Verifly was easier though. I never had to show anyone my vaccination card on the return flight. But I did have to show a copy of my negative test result at check-in in Barcelona.

    I had a 7am flight. I arrived nearly three hours in advance as was recommended. I breezed through check-in (because I had my locator form filled out) and was the first one checked in. To get into security, I scanned my boarding pass. The line for security wasn’t very long. In Spain I had to take off my jacket and take out my camera, iPad and computer, and my smart watch (but not my shoes…that is just a USA security thing). Everything was closed so I went through customs (Great Britain is no longer part of the EU) and found a table at a closed Burger King and wrote my blog yesterday.

    We landed on time in London, into Terminal 5 which was the one we departed from for the USA. I had a five hour layover, so wandered around for a while doing a little shopping and window shopping (the same high end stores are in Terminal 5 as were in Barcelona…Gucci, Prada, Hermès etc…but were pretty empty. Harrods’ Christmas shop though had some browsers. In Europe the gate is not announced till 60-75 minutes before takeoff. Once it was announced we’d be taking off for “B” gates I headed out which entailed taking a train within the airport. 75 minutes before takeoff the gate was announced. I only had to show my passport, Verifly green check and boarding card.

    Flying from Spain; LHR Terminal 5 & Terminal 5 B Gates; SAN Arrival

    On landing in San Diego, the process was quick because I have Global Entry…while waiting for luggage I completed my Customs form at the kiosk, by which time my luggage was out. I cleared the Global Entry line, which wasn’t long. All luggage then had to be x-rayed and that was it. It took less time than collecting luggage did from a domestic flight.

    In summary, on BA/American returning from or transiting via London:

    • Download Verifly App
    • Get antigen test within 3 days of return (1 day for unvaccinated Americans I believe)
    • Fill out locator form online
    • Upload negative test result letter, locator form to Verifly app
    • Fill out passport, vaccination info etc into Verifly app as requested

    And that’s a wrap on international travel for 2021. It is not much more difficult than usual and it’s worth the effort!


  • World Championships, Mallorca: The End: Waldman, Fales/Corley Win Gold on Saturday

    Sunday Oct. 24, 2021

    Draws are here. 

    Photos are here

    The 40th ITF Super Senior World Championships ended with a whimper more than a bang as the final mixed doubles and men’s singles champions were crowned. The men’s 75 with Chris Ornstein and Antonio Claudi (who beat Michael Beautyman in the semis) was a tight three setter won 64 in the third by Claudi; the remaining finals were straight sets with one walkover and one retirement in mixed. It was super windy and quite cool yesterday which made excellent play difficult.

    Dan Waldman (USA, Washington DC) beat reigning world champion Frits Raijmakers (NED) 64 61, coming back from a 0-3 ad out deficit to win this fifth world singles title, one in each age division, 45/50/55/60/65. Frits was playing his third week in a row and was a doubles finalist the day before. Alfred Boekl of Germany beat Bruno Renoult (FRA) 63 61 to claim the 70s singles title. To no one’s surprise, including his doubles partner and final round singles opponent, Jaime Pinto Bravo (Chile) was too strong for the men’s 80 field, beating Peter Pokorny (Austria) 60 63, in a repeat of their final in the ITF 1000 in Font de sa Cala two weeks earlier. Pokorny actually plays on a league team with Raijmakers (Frits plays line one and Peter line 6) in Austria…Frits says Pokorny never loses at line 6. Herbert Althaus (Germany) won his first ITF World singles title over Herm Ahlers (USA, Las Vegas) 64 61. Ahlers said Althaus was just too fast and got to all his drop shots. Althaus doesn’t have the prettiest strokes but he is really speedy, which in the 85s is key. The 90s was decided yesterday, and France’s Henri Cruchet won the title.

    In mixed, Benedict LeGrand and Marc Renoult (Bruno’s brother, also from France) won the 65 doubles over Sabine Schmitz (GER)/Alan Rasmussen (DEN) 62 10 retired (pulled muscle by Rasmussen). The 70 doubles was won by Reinhilde Adams (Germany)/Jairo Velasco Ramirez (Spain) over Marie Anne Semester Ghisolfi/Daniel Montel, France 62 61. USA’s Donna Fales (Florida) and Dean Corley (SoCal) won the 75 mixed over Teische Andree (Germany)/Zoltan Fabian (Hungary) 63 62. The 80 mixed was won by Suella Steel (USA, California)/Pokorny by default. It was a three-team round robin, and the first match was last Sunday, the second not till the following Saturday for Steel/Pokorny.

    Liane Bryson (USA, California) won the 70 consolation to add to her 70 doubles gold.

    After the medal ceremony, I checked out of my airbnb and Donna Fales and I drove to Palma, where I dropped her off at her hotel there. I returned the rental car to Hiper and fortunately the rental car agent was insistent that a phone was left in the car. It wasn’t mine, it was Donna’s. (I got a hold of her at the hotel and she knows I have it, a relief to her.) Then I flew to Barcelona, arriving about 8:30 at my hotel. After dinner I walked down the Passeig de Gracia for quite a while…my hotel was near both the Gaudi House (Casa Batlo) and Casa Milo, another famous Gaudi building. The street is lined with high-end stores…Gucci, Bulgari etc (also Uniqlo though). It was busy even after 11pm…because it’s Spain, it’s Barcelona.

    Now off to USA via London (do NOT forget to fill out that record locator form if you are transiting through London! Many of the passengers in line this morning had no clue…so I was the first person checked in.


  • Silver Medalist (x2); Fales Dominates 80s in Mallorca; Dittmer/Grossman, Liana Bryson, Dorothy Wasser Also Win Gold

    October 22, 2021

    Draws are here. 

    Photos are here

    The good news today was that the weather forecasters were wrong about the rain today…it never came (80% chance of rain = 20% of no rain at all). The weather app right now says there’s light rain…but it’s so light I can’t see or feel it.

    The bad news, at least for me was that I lost both my matches today. I lost in singles and doubles (with Sabine Schmidt) to Pat Medrado (with Tina Karwasky). Medrado was very good and there were two long games at 3/4 and 3/5 in the second in which I had game points…on one she hit (yet another) great backhand which kissed the baseline and sideline and I don’t really remember the others except I was up 40-15. She makes very few errors and can do just about anything with her backhand. I lost 62 63, an improvement on our previous matches and it lasted just over two hours…but I learned a lot from the match and it was good competition. In doubles, we lost 76 61. Tina came alive in the second set and didn’t miss much. I served and volleyed the entire match…it’s exhausting though rather fun. We played a really good first set and had some chances, but not many in the second set. Congratulations to Pat (x2) and Tina and many thanks to Sabine for playing doubles with me. It was a good effort.

    Top: Karwasky, Medrado, Schmitz, Nichols; bottom, Medrado, Nichols

    Donna Fales continued to impress, winning the singles 60 40 ret…maybe her opponent considerately retired so Donna could get to breakfast before the buffet closed at 10am (the match began at 9am). However, her opponent recovered sufficiently to play the doubles match which Donna and Dorothy Wasser won 60 61. If you are keeping track, Donna lost four games total in winning the 80 singles and doubles, but the 75 mixed has been a challenge (she plays the final tomorrow.) For Dorothy, it was her fourth straight 80 world championship, which is very impressive as well. Dorothy also won the 80s consolation singles.

    Carolyn; Fales/Wasser; Carolyn/Sabine; Ditmer/Grossman; Fales; Eisterlehner/Bryson; Beautyman/Buck; Tina/Pat Medrado; M85 SF: Chuck Nelson/Ned Buckman;
    Dorothy Wasser; TD Helge Albrecht; King Van Nostrand; Pinto Bravo; Adams; Velasco/Rae; Cruchet; M75, Anderman (far right)

    In men’s action, Doug Ditmer and Daniel Grossman won the 65 men’s doubles title, 64 36 10-8 over top seeded Frits Raijmakers/Alan Rasmussen. Frits plays USA Danny Waldman in the 65 singles final tomorrow while Alan and Sabine play for the mixed 65s title. It was a first world title for Ditmer who hadn’t played on red clay or in Europe for decades, but he arrived early and practiced hard the week before the tournament (as did Grossman) and it paid off.

    Liane Bryson combined with Germany’s Heidi Eisterlehner to win their second (or maybe third?) world title, the women’s 70 doubles. They beat Reinhilde Adams (who won the 70 singles) and Rotraut Spriess 61 26 10-8. That was an exciting finish.

    Michael Beautyman/Les Buck, playing men’s 75, fell to Italians Antonio Claudi and Paolo Lazzari 36 76 (2) 10-7…so close!

    The men’s singles finals and mixed are tomorrow. Dan Waldman is playing in the 65 final against Raijamkers; Suella Steel (with Peter Porkorny, Austria) is playing the 80 mixed final (six days after their first and only other match!); Herm Ahlers is playing the men’s 85 final (against Herb Althaus); Donna Fales/Dean Corley are in the 75 mixed final, Bryson is playing the 70 singles consolation final.

    Here is a list of the winners thus far:

    • W65 Singles: Pat Medrado (first singles in 5 years, hasn’t missed a beat)
    • W65 Doubles: Medrado/Tina Karwasky
    • W70 Singles: Reinhilde Adams
    • W70 Doubles: Liane Bryson/Heidi Eisterlehner
    • W75 Singles: Gudula Eisemann (unseeded)
    • W75 Doubles: Eisemann/Barbara Von Ende (also unseeded)
    • W80 Singles: Donna Fales (with the loss of 1 game0
    • W80 Doubles: Fales/Dorothy Wasser (4 in row for Dorothy)
    • W85 Singles: Odile Niox Chateau (by default)
    • M90 Singles: Henri Cruchet
    • M90 Doubles: Cruchet/Yves Lehman
    • M65 Doubles: Doug Ditmer/Daniel Grossman
    • M70 Doubles; Andrew Rae/Jairo Velasco Ramirez
    • M75 Doubles: Paolo Lazzari/Antonio Claudi
    • M80 Doubles: Jaime Pinto Bravo/Peter Pokorny
    • M85 Doubles: Helmut Lotz/Gerhard Specht (61 06 10-5..odd score)

    I will write something about tomorrow’s finals either Saturday or Sunday. I’m flying home starting tomorrow evening. It’s been a good trip! I recommend Mallorca and also playing the ITF 1000 that Helge runs each October for Super Seniors.


  • Survived Doubles Semi; Finals Friday (Weather Permitting); Semis Results

    Thursday October 21, 2021

    Draws are here. 

    Photos are here

    Today was a day off for singles but Sabine Schmitz and I played Hildegard Bruggraber/Christiane Deryckere. In contrast to our last match, everyone was from Europe except me, Sabine from Germany, Hildegard from Austria and Christiane from Belgium. We started well, winning the first set 62, and leading 53 in the second but from there it was tricky as our opponents started playing better and the sun became tricky. We had a match point at 54 and Hildegard actually hit the ball wide but I failed to call it, so we played on and eventually ended up in a tiebreak which we lost 73. So onto the match tiebreak which I don’t have much experience with. They had the momentum and forged 5-1 and 6-5 leads…maybe even 7-5. We then cut down on errors and went up 9-7, and as a loud altercation took place on the court next to us (it was an 85s match, so they probably didn’t realize how loud they were talking), I missed a shot and then it was 9-9. We finally won the match 12-10 in the tiebreak, though were never down a match point. Hildegard has improved a lot (she hadn’t lost a doubles or mixed match all year till today), and Christiane set her up nicely as the match went on. It shows how different singles and doubles are: I beat Christiane 61 60 in singles and Sabine beat Hildegard 61 61….In contrast to our meandering way to the final, Tina Karwasky and Pat Medrado won their semi 60 60. So we have our work cut out for us tomorrow. Singles is scheduled at 9am and doubles at noon.

    Nichols, Schmitz Bruggraber, Deryckere

    In other action: Men’s 65, Dan Waldman advanced over Italian Paolo Moscelli 75 retired. Apparently Moscelli is a tricky opponent, reading the ball well and dropshotting well. Dan faces a different opponent on Saturday in Frits Raijmakers, the top seed and defending champion from the Netherlands, who belts the ball. Doug Ditmer and Daniel Grossman beat the #2 seeds American Danny Shaw and Swiss Peter Heller to advance to the 65 doubles final against Frits and Alan Rasmussen. In 65 mixed, Schmitz/Rasmussen beat Shaw/Bruggraber and face Marc Renoult/Benedict Legrand in the final; they beat Steven Dance/Caroline Glaszmann.

    In the 70s there aren’t many Americans, but there were plenty of upsets. However, Reinhilde Adams was not one of them…the #2 seed took out Leyla Musalem of Chile and plays Heide Froeystock (4) who beat Micheline Van de Wiele (11th seed, who took out #1 Heidi Eisterlehner) 75 60. She was thrilled to reach the final. Eisterlehner did reach the doubles final, with USA Liane Bryson. They play Adams and Rotraut Spriess. In singles, Afred Boekl (2) beat Jorge Camina Borda in 3 sets and plays Bruno Renoult who beat Pedersen in 3 sets (Pedersen took out Andrew Rae yesterday). Rae is in the doubles final though with Velasco against Frans Norby/Kasper Rud of Denmark. The mixed final. is not yet set, there’s a semifinal match to be played still involving Adams.

    In men’s 75, Michael Beautyman fell to Antonio Claudi of Italy, who faces Brit Chris Ornstein in the final. However, Beautyman/Les Buck won their doubles convincingly to advance to the final against Claudi/Paolo Lazzari of Italy. In women’s 75, Eisemann plays Von Ende; Eisemann/Von Ende upset top seeded Heide Orth/Suzy Burgraff who take on Chileans Lilian Eisele Pardo/Alicia Salazar Garrido. In mixed, Donna Fales/Dean Corley (USA) advanced to the final, in a match tiebreak for the second straight match (against Roger Dowdeswell/Anneke Jelsma) and play Telsche Andree/Zoltan Fabian, who won their semis against an Israeli team 11-9 in the MTB.

    In the 80s, Donna Fales/Dorothy Wasser won their doubles semi 61 61 and play Germans Irmgard Gerlatzka/Elisabeth Van Boemmel in the final. Fales plays Gerlatzka in the singles final. In men’s play, Peter Pokorny and Jaime Pinto Bravo from Chile are in the singles final and doubles final (against Giovanni Argentina/Giancarlo Milesi of Italy. Mixed is a three team round robin & American Suella Steel is playing with Pokorny on Saturday (I think they played last Sunday…so it’s been a long week of waiting for Steel).

    King Van Nostrand had to default his Men’s 85 singles final to fellow American Herm Ahlers due to severe tennis elbow. Ahlers will play #2 seed Herbert Althaus who beat American Ned Buckman. The doubles final was set yesterday. Gallay/Marx play Loesl/Specht in the mixed final on Saturday as was the women’s singles final.

    In the first ever 90s event, Henri Crochet of France will take on Brit Leonard Lawrence in the final. They reached the final with the loss of only 1 game between them.


  • ITF Super Senior World Championships; Into the Semis; American Results Update

    Tuesday October 19, 2021

    Draws are here. 

    Photos are here

    Today I warmed up again with Sabine Schmitz even though I didn’t play till 2pm…it was good to hit early regardless. I watched the first set of Sabine’s match with Carmen Chillida. Sabine won it comfortably 63 and I left as it was noon and I thought Sabine had the match under control…which she did but she won 63 16 61. Carmen is very calm and methodical and has excellent passing shots and was moving well. Sabine has more firepower and was attacking well and mixing up her offense with drops, angles and volleys. Elsewhere (at Na Taconara), Pat Medrado allowed Benedicte Legrand only one game though Benedict said she had so many game points, but on all of them Medrado played great points and hit almost zero unforced errors. And she said Pat’s backhand was unreadable. Pat had a world ranking on the WTA tour of 48 in singles and 9 in doubles. She’ll play her doubles partner tomorrow (as I will), Tina Karwasky, who beat Caroline Glaszmann 75 63. Tina. had a WTA ranking high of 88. I beat Dagmar Sperneder 61 60; Dagy played well and hit some great drop shots and forehands. She certainly had the crowd behind her, there were even fans in the balconies off the hotel rooms above the courts yelling out her name, and any winner she hit was received with a roar of approval (my winners, not so much, but to be fair, the crowd didn’t applaud my errors).

    Later in the afternoon, I returned to the courts to watch some of the Americans play and found Liana Bryson watching Donna Fales and Dean Corley play in the 75 mixed. Donna just turned 80, but runs more like she’s 10-15 years younger. Donna reached the singles and doubles quarters at Wimbledon and Roland Garros and the singles semis and doubles final at Forest Hills where she also won the mixed in 1966. She was ranked in the top 10 in the USA seven times during the 1960s. She also captained the USA Fed Cup team. Dean and Donna played the #2 seeds, Chris Ornstein and Christine Baron and won 75 64 in a highly entertaining match. On one point there was a high ball and Dean called the overhead…after which Donna calmly put the ball away. Donna complimented Christine on her down the line forehand and I thought Donna moved unbelievably well, she seems to see the ball so early.

    There were some upsets around the grounds; In women’s 70s, top seeded Heidi Eisterlehner lost to a Belgian player she beat twice last week in the team competition. Heide Froeysok, winner of the marathon match yesterday, advanced to the semis and will meet Heidi’s conqueror there. Gudula Eisemann upset top seeded Sylvie Galfard-Kirsten decisively (and beat her in the Cup too but in a tight 3-setter); she plays Heide Orth next (who beat Marja Liisa Hedman, her conqueror last week in the Queens Cup);

    In other action:

    Dan Waldman advanced to the quarters in the 65s and takes on the #2 seed, Czech Radovan Cizek. Doug Ditmer/Dan Grossman and Danny Shaw play men’s 65 doubles tomorrow and Shaw is in mixed semis. Michael Beautyman and Donald Long both advanced to the 75 singles quarters; Beautyman/Les Buck and Miguel Cordova advanced to the semis but Corley/Long were upset in a match tiebreak by an Italian team in men’s 75. However Corley/Fales are in the 75 mixed semis. In men’s 80s, Robert Anderman lost to Italian Roberto Fumgalli in a match tiebreak. Anderman/Thomas Brunkow though are in the semis of the doubles and face Jaime Pinto Bravo/Peter Pokorny in the semis. Fales takes on top seeded Elisabeth Von Boemmel in the 80s semis (my $$$ is on Donna to win that one) while Fales/Dorothy Wasser have been waiting for a few days to play their doubles semi. As are Suella Steel/Pokorny. In the men’s 85s, three of the four players left are Americans with only Herbert Althaus, the #2 seed victorious against a USA player (he took out Chuck Nelson); #1 King Van Nostrand takes on unseeded Herb Althaus (who beat the #3 seed) and Althaus will play Ned Buckman, who advanced after winning a match tiebreak over Peter Jessen. Buckman/Nelson and Van Nostrand are in the doubles semis.

    Adrienne Sprouse, Dorothy Wasser and Sheila Palmer
    Les Buck, Suella Steel, Don Long
    Liana Bryson who finally gets to play tomorrow, Wednesday; her last match was on Sunday and she has yet to play a doubles match (she plays consolation singles and doubles tomorrow).

  • Two Matches! Successful Start in World Championships

    Monday October 18, 2021

    Draws are here. 

    Photos are here

    Today I played my first singles match at the ITF Super Senior World Championships, ten days after my last match in the ITF 1000 here. I warmed up with Sabine Schmitz, my doubles partner at 8:15 (sunrise is about 8am). I played at Son Besso tennis club about five minutes from Font de sa Cala. I practiced there a few days ago and my match ended up being on the same court. I arrived early at Son Besso had my temperature taken (I was NOT hot headed), and watched Patricia Medrado, a former top 30 player and multiple ITF singles and doubles champion play as well as Tina Karwasky. Both cruised to victory and Medrado was very impressive in her movement. Tina was all over the net and also played really well.

    I played Christiane Deryckere of Belgium. I’ve played her several times before and we’ve had some good sets. She started out blasting the ball, and hitting quite a few winners. But I figured out some of her pattens (and she made some errors on big points), and won 61 60 but it was nearly 1 1/2 hours including warm up. However she plays quite a bit slower than I do, or at least did so today. There were a few interesting moments; after I won the first game of the second set she was sitting down on the changeover and I reminded her that she could not do that after the first game of set (she didn’t sit down after the first game of the match). She asked when that rule changed (around 2000)…but it turns out she thought the set score was 62, not 61 (even though the scoreboard showed it to be 61), so her confusion made sense, in retrospect (after the match). We had a fair match; she called a ball out on herself (it was 8 inches out but I had trouble finding the mark initially); I called a serve out but overruled myself when looking at the mark (it just caught). In ITFs which aren’t chaired a player can be invited over to the other end of the court to check a mark; Christiane wasn’t sure of whether a mark was in or out and so called me over (it grazed the line in my opinion, and she gave me the point).

    Christiane Deryckere and Carolyn

    Sabine won easily over Hildegarde Bruggaber, who said she played well but came away with only two games. I play Dagmar Sperneder again (I played her in the semis of the ITF 1000 two weeks ago); she beat Leena Ranta of Finland in a good match 64 76.

    In the afternoon we (Sabine and I) played doubles against Rosa Mendoza from Peru and Barbara Tsur from Israel. So we had players from four continents on the court, North & South America, Europe and Asia. Pretty cool. We won 60 60.

    Sabine Schmidt and Carolyn

    After the match we watched a dramatic women’s 70s match between two Germans, #4 seeded Heide Froeysok and Irene Smutny. They were half way through the second set when we started our doubles, and were at about 21 in the third when we finished. Another doubles match went on after our match and also finished before the women’s match (granted it was a 60 60 match). Heide finally won 76(5) in the third but not before Irene had two match points at 6-5 and led 52 in the tiebreak. Neither player held serve in the final set. There was quite a crowd watching to see who could finish off the match, which started about 1:30 and finished just before 5:30.

    Round up of American results: Tina Karwasky won singles/doubles in the 65s; Doug Ditmer/Daniel Grossman and Danny Shaw all advanced in 65 doubles; Danny Waldman won in 65 singles; Michael Beautyman and Donald Long advanced in 75 singles while Miguel Cordova lost; Beautyman/Les Buck won in 75 doubles as did Dean Corley/Don Long (top seeds) and George Balch/Karol Placek (by default); Heide Orth won in 75 singles and plays the Finnish player she lost to in the Cup last week; Robert Anderman won in men’s 80 singles; Donna Fales won in women’s 80 singles; Anderman/Thomas Brunkow advanced in 80 doubles; Fales/Dorothy Wasser won in 80 doubles; Four of the eight remaining players in the men’s 85s are American: top seeded King Van Nostrand; unseeded Herm Ahlers (who beat the #8 seed), Chuck Nelson (beat the #7 seed…all that practice the week of the Cups must have helped) and Ned Buckman (beat the #4 seed). Van Nostrand, Buckman/Nelson all advanced to the doubles semis. Sheila Palmer lost in 85 singles and 80 doubles. Leona Bryson hasn’t played doubles yet.

    Tomorrow I play singles only; all of the quarters in the 65s are at 10:30 except my match which is at 2:30 for some reason. I play at Beach Club Font de sa Cala. The schedule for the tournament is not done for the week as is normal in USTA tournaments…each evening an order of play is posted for the next day, so from day to day one may play only singles or doubles or mixed or all three, but till about 5pm it’s a mystery.


  • Last Practice Day (8)

    Sunday October 17, 2021

    Draws are here.

    Photos are here

    Today was the last practice day before the Individual World Championships for me. I checked on practice courts in the morning (there were none till after 5pm at the earliest) so I checked on other options in the area, and found available courts at the Canyamel Park Hotel (for a fee, 20 Euros an hour per court). I reserved a court and practiced with Michael Beautyman again. We were given a court in the back that was very beach-like…thick and sandy. There was a steady stream of lessons net to us, all taught in German. On the first court, when we arrived five players were playing “dingles”…though they didn’t call it that.

    Top left, Carolyn Steve Dance, Dagmar Sperneder, Sabine Schmitz; Top Right, Carolyn and Salma (head of the Tunisian Tennis Association and Chair of ITF Seniors Committee); bottom; Tennis Club in Canyamel

    Canyamel is about 15 minutes down the coast from Font de Sa Cala, and is a beach resort, primarily visited by Germans.

    After practice I picked up my racquet I’d had strung and chatted with some of the players. Suella Steel lost a tight match to the #2 seed in the 80s, an unfortunate draw for her. She wasn’t used to all the softer balls and drop shots. Donna Fales (80s), Sheila Palmer (85), Dorothy Wasser (80), George Balch (75), Michael Gurmai (75), Miguel Cordova (M75), Dan Waldman (M65), advanced while I believe in men’s 75, Karl Placek & Les Buck both retired with injuries (the winner isn’t listed but both were hobbled) and Dean Corley lost. In the 65s, Danny Shaw (an American who lives in Austria) and Andrew Stanley (a Brit who lives in USA) both fell. Liana Bryson and Adrienne Sprouse lost in the women’s 70. Warren Mosler, the only American in men’s 70, lost.

    The Americans mostly did well yesterday in mixed with Suella Steel (with Peter Pokorny), Donna Fales/Dean Corley, Danny Shaw (with Hildegard Bruggaber) and Andrew/Ann Stanley advancing.

    I play tomorrow against a Belgian player, Christiane Deryckere at 10 at Son Besso tennis club, about a 5 minute drive from here. She’s a nice player, should be a good match. I practiced there two days ago and the courts are rather like the ones I practiced on today.


  • Practice Day 7 & Castell de Capdepera

    Saturday October 16, 2021

    Draws are here.

    Photos are here

    The ITF Super Seniors Individual World Championships began today with a light schedule: Men’s 65 Round of 128 and mixed doubles. Americans Dean Corley/Donna Fales advanced over a pair of Canadians to the quarters. Danny Shaw, who plays under an American passport but lives in Austria won both his singles and mixed matches today. Andrew and Ann Stanley won their mixed (and Andrew, who plays under the British flag but lives in the USA won his singles match).

    In the morning I decided to visit the Castell de Capdepera since I was not hitting till 1pm. I drove up near the Castle, up some very narrow streets (one car wide given that there were cars parked on the street and that it was 2-way traffic). The castle is pretty large on a hill. From the top views of both the sea and the surrounding farm land and the old city of Capdepera can be seen. The castle was first built in about 300 AD by Romans and enlarged by Moors, then destroyed, then rebuilt around 700 AD. There’s a church at the top.

    The castle looks…like a castle with the typical battlement at the top and openings in the walls for rifles and canons. There are parts near the top of the wall where visitors can walk. The cost to enter the castle is a reasonable 3 euros (about $3.50).

    Castel de Capdepera
    Narrow two-way street in Capdepera.

    After I returned to Font de Sa Cala I practiced with Michael Beautyman at one venue, Na Taconara. I saw a few other Americans there, Tina Karwasky, practicing with a Spanish player, and Leona Bryson. Later I went to Tenis Club Aguait near the water and hit some more with Michael and Les Buck. I had not played at this club before and it is a nice club, with a very busy restaurant (and the food looked very good), and lots of padel courts.

    Padel Courts at Tenis Y Padel Club Aguait

    Someone (or someones) were having a happy Saturday afternoon at Club Aguait.

    I don’t play tomorrow but my potential opponents do in singles so I may scout them before practicing in the afternoon.


  • Practice Day 6/World Team Championship Medal Ceremony

    Friday October 15, 2021

    Yesterday, Thursday was a rest day from tennis..I watched a bit of Spain vs France in the 65 Women’s division ( France won but only in the deciding doubles).

    Today it was back to practicing. First I checked in for the individual world championships where everyone received a polo shirt and player badge.

    Next I watched the Women’s 65 final between France and Germany. I thought the singles would be close…the French #1 Glaszmann lost to the Spanish #1 Chillida Belzunce, who in turn lost to the German #1 Dippner. And the German #2, Schmitz beat the Spanish #2, Togores Colom 2,0 while Le Grande beat her in three sets. But style matchups matter.

    In the final, France came out relaxed and ready and moving beautifully while Germany looked tense. The French women played nearly perfect tennis. Their #2, Benedicte Le Grand had never won a gold team medal.

    In the afternoon Americans Michael Beautyman and Les Buck then hit a bit with Suella Steel. We hit at a different venue, son Besso and the courts were different, slower, softer.

    This evening the ITF had its medal ceremony for the Cups. It was a little sad to watch, but also nice to see the joy on the winners’ faces…

    The medal ceremony was very nice, with a big screen, the team and players’ names announced. The national anthems of the gold medal winning teams were played..so basically Germany and France, which won eight of the nine the team events.

    France and Germany won all but one of the nine cups contested; the medal ceremony concluded with the men’s 65 cup (ironically called the Britannia Cup, ironic since Great Britain fielded no teams)…which was won by Spain. The only non-European team to medal was Chile which finished fourth in the women’s 70s. Not shown below is the Women’s 80’s, won narrowly by France over Germany. Germany dominated the men’s events, winning four of five cups while France dominated the women’s divisions, winning all but the 70s (won by Germany), or three out of four cups. A women’s 85 cup was offered but there were no teams entered at the end.

    Number 2 singles; Netherlands; Winning French team; Spain and Germany, Women’s 65/Kitty Godfree Cup

  • Practice Day 5, Wednesday

    Writing Thursday Morning 10/14/21

    Yesterday was my last practice day at Global Tennis, in Marraxti. I drove over in the morning, over the now familiar route, past the small agricultural towns in the center of Mallorca. I know know that on 2-lane roads the general speed limit is 90 km/hr unless otherwise posted (about 55 mph); 100 on four-lane highways (about 60 mph) and 120 on the freeways. The difference between highways and freeways: on the highways, about every 5 km there’s a roundabout for drivers to exit the highway or continue on the same route. On freeways there’s a normal exit (then most likely a roundabout…there aren’t many stoplights or stop signs in Mallorca but there are hundreds at least of roundabouts!

    The two-lane roads are often lined with stone walls (most ungrouted) and the farms are dotted with stone buildings and cisterns to water the fields. There are lots of olives (domesticated and wild) and almond trees all over the island, and citrus near the southeast part.

    I stopped again at Montuiri for a photo with a better camera…the town is actually even prettier from the other side. Montuiri is known for its many windmills.

    Montuiri
    Montuiri is known for its many windmills, used in agriculture extensively in Mallorca.

    After a 90 minute practice, I got gas, then hit the Alcampo one last time (peanut butter and apples of course) and drove back to Font de Sa Cala where I hit with Les Buck from USA who had arrived the day before. I saw Tina Karwasky, who was hitting with her doubles partner, Patricia Medrado from Brazil, an excellent player. And while waiting for a court I watched the French 65 team practice…they are playing Spain now and then Germany…the Germany/France match tomorrow should be a good one. I don’t believe any of the players on the teams has won a world team championship before (regards to the missing teams), so it’s a big match for all involved.

    A lot more Americans arrive this afternoon and evening.

    The singles draws came out last night for the individual world championships which begin Saturday. Doubles draws will probably be posted tonight. The link is in my previous blog post.


  • Practice Day 4 & Sineu & Petra

    So Sineu and Petra are towns in Mallorca in the center of the Island.

    I had an early practice session…9:30 (remember that it doesn’t get light till about 8am and I was driving over an hour to play). On the way I passed by Montuiri, and pulled over to take a quick photo. Montuiri dates back to the 1300s and is famous for its windmills.

    Montuiri

    After hitting I decided to visit a couple of towns in the central area, Sineu (population about 4000) and Petra (population about 3000).

    Sineu is famous for its Church of Santa Maria, which is quite massive and old and in previous times, its palace, which is now a convent and its Wednesday market. It’s surrounded by agricultural fields and orchards. There were also a lot of bikers in the town both bicycle bikers and motor bikers. Next to the church is a central plaza lined. with restaurants.

    Petra is the home of Father Junipero Serra, who founded the missions in California including the San Diego mission. There’s a museum there (which was closed) and the house he grew up in along with a large church. The streets are narrow, as is common in Mallorca and the area surrounding Petra is agricultural…I saw a tractor going down one of the streets. There’s a central square with a statue of Serra, and there were lots and lots of bicyclists having lunch when I walked through.

    Petra
    Petra
    San Diego Mission

    After leaving Petra, I returned to Font de Sa Cala and decided to see if I could get in a short hit…and ran into Tina Karwasky who was looking for a hit as well, so we had a practice. We ran into the top two players from the French team who laughed when we told them that the USA teams were pulled in part because Spain was deemed too dangerous! France and Germany will likely play for the gold on Friday…the players on the teams haven’t won gold so it could be a nervous but exciting final.


  • Font de Sa Cala: Practice Day 3

    Monday October 11, 2021

    Today was day two of the teams event (the one the USA pulled out of for “various reasons”).

    I drove over to Marraxti near Palma to train for about 90 minutes at a small academy (Global Tennis…NOT Nadal’s academy which is in Manacor). I had a good hit then went to Alcampo again, the huge supermarket/appliance/homegoods store nearby.

    I had a few things on my list…more apples (the Fujii apples I bought a few days ago were great so I got more; some distilled water for Donna Fales (W80 and now she will have it when she arrives) and sharp kitchen knives (because somehow mine were left behind when I changed suitcases). So at the Alcampo, there is a person dedicated to weighing produce…one person for the entire store (there is no self service for this and if you don’t get the produce weighed, when you go to checkout the clerk will send you back to get it weighed). On the other hand there are a handful of checkout lanes which have live clerks and dozens of self-checkout lanes. It’s an odd juxtaposition.

    The carts for the Alcampo are outside and as is normal in Europe, one has to put a euro coin in the cart to use it..when it’s returned so is the euro, so there are not carts strewn about the parking lot. It might work in the USA but then our largest coin is a quarter, so it might not.

    When I got back to Font de Sa Cala (a nice drive via Petra…I hope to visit the cathedral there tomorrow) I got in an hour hit with Steve Dance which was excellent…I’ll be ready to play a lefty next week.


  • Practice Day 2: Font de Sa Cala

    Sunday in Font de Sa Cala, Spain

    The Super Senior World Team Championships started today in Font de Sa Cala, but of course the USA teams along with many others were missing.

    I watched some of the Men’s 65s Netherlands vs Italy #1 singles which was a good match…the Italian started strongly against Frits Raijmakers…winning the first set…I left for lunch just as the third set was beginning. Frits had turned the match around by then, winning the second set 76 and the Italian was tiring…and eventually he retired at 41 down. Italy had won the #2 singles so the match came down to the doubles, which the Netherlands won. It was a tough start to the event for both teams.

    Later in the afternoon I hit with Steve Dance and Tina Karwasky, and saw quite a few players walking around after their matches. It’s better really to just ignore the fact that the team event is going on.


  • Practice Day in Mallorca

    Saturday was a practice day after a day of touring. I drove over to Global Tennis on the southern end of the Island, a little over an hour from Font de Sa Cala and trained for 90 minutes. Steve Dance came along and hit as well.

    Then it was on to the mega grocery store nearby, and the Decathalon store. I was on the hunt for natural peanut butter and apples and found both…and of course some chocolate bars too. This store, which I wrote about in June, is enormous…with yards of refrigerator space allotted to sausages and lots more for cheese, yogurts…many iberico hams, a big seafood area…you name it, they probably sell it. I also got a fish, will try cooking it tomorrow.

    Giant Food Store in Mallorca

    After shopping we headed back to Font de Sa Cala and had time for a hit before dark.

    I am trying an experiment of putting my Spanish SIM card into my main USA phone…we’ll see how that goes.

    The opening ceremony for the teams event took place today and the team event starts tomorrow…without any USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa teams. It’s basically Europe and a few South American teams…and the US Virgin Islands…

    Spain has one of the lowest covid rates in Europe, and Mallorca is one of the safest places in Spain. Just saying.


  • Alcudia, Formentor, Valdemossa, Soller, Deia

    Yesterday was a long day of touring…and I drove! I went with German Heide Froeysok and Aussie Stephen Dance.

    We started towards Cap de Fomentor a nearly two hour drive due to the narrow roads. The route sent us through Area where we saw from the car the Sant Salvador de Artà group of fortified buildings.

    The first stop was in Alcudia, which has a lot of Roman ruins. We were able to walk on top of the restored city wall that surrounds the old town. There are lots of narrow streets and of course lots of tourist type shops. I was there last June and the town was pretty deserted, but yesterday…on a Friday, it was packed.

    Alcudia

    After leaving Alucdia we went toward the Cap de Formentor, up a narrow winding road that was heavily populated with bikers, making driving very challenging, as they were often in the middle of the road. We stopped at the Sa Crueta viewpoint…just past it and hiked up to the walking path. The views from the top were stunning, especially since the sky was a blue as the Mediterranean Sea. After admiring the view we continued on to the Formentor Beach. We were intending to drive up to the lighthouse on the Cap de Formentor but the road was closed and no explanation was given. We visited the nice, small and uncrowded beach and plotted our next moves.

    Sa Crueta Viewpoint

    We decided to see more of Mallorca…I suggested Soller, Valdemossa and Deia on the west coast of Mallorca.

    Soller is a very pretty town with a lovely church in an active town square. The streets are narrow and old and feature the typical Mallorca stone facades with dark green shutters. There’s also a train that goes from Palma to Soller via Bunyola, and a wooden tram that goes down to the port, but we wandered around the streets, got a bite to eat and some ice cream and moved on to Valdemossa and Deia.

    Soller

    Valdemossa from the road is very pretty, terraced up the side of a hill. It’s famous for its Charterhouse, a palace in the center of town, surrounded by more narrow Mallorca streets on one side and pretty gardens on the other side. We walked around the Charterhouse, then, with the sun getting low drove on to Deia.

    Valdemossa

    Deia is a small town up in the mountains of Mallorca. Deia is perched in a ravine at the foot of the Teix mountain, with views out to the Mediterranean below, and is known as an artist colony. It also has some spectacular ancient olive orchards…the trunks of the trees are gnarled and really interesting. Robert Graves home is a museum there. The people we saw on the way to restaurants were dressed really nicely, much less casual than is typical in Mallorca.

    And then it was back to Font de Sa Cala…a long but fun day.