• Category Archives Mallorca
  • Super Senior USTA Teams Selected

    June 30, 2020

    The USTA has announced the teams it has selected to represent the USTA in the ITF Super Senior World Team Championships in October. (Fingers crossed that this event happens as scheduled, October 11-16 in Mallorca, Spain with individuals to follow October 17-24).

    The players selected are listed below; players whose names are in bold font are the playing captains. The players are listed alphabetically by first name.


  • USTA posts List of Super Senior International Team Applicants

    Here is the link to the list of players who applied for the USTA Super Senior teams. The event is scheduled for Oct 11-16 in Mallorca, Spain. So far this event is still on the ITF schedule. Team announcements will be made on July 30th.

    For more information go to the USTA Senior International page.


  • 2020 Team Application and Selection Timelines Now Posted

    2020 ITF Seniors World Championships, Men’s and Women’s 50, 55, 60

    Team Tournament: April 26 – May 2, 2020

    Individual Tournament: May 2 – 9, 2020

    Location: Boca Raton (team) & Palm Beach Gardens (individual), Fla.

    Important Dates:

    October 1, 2019: Application posted on USTA.com.

    November 10, 2019: Application deadline.

    November 13, 2019: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    November 18, 2019: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    December 16, 2019: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    January 20, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    February 1, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    March 1, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    April 26, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

     

    2020 Young-Seniors World Championships (35/40/45)

    Team Tournament: Sept. 13 – 19, 2020

    Individual Tournament: Sept. 19 – 26, 2020

    Location: Umag, Croatia

    Important Dates:

    March 1, 2020:  Application posted on USTA.com. Click here to view

    April 11, 2020: Application deadline.

    April 14, 2020: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    April 19, 2020: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    May 11, 2020: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    June 11, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    July 11, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    August 10, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    September 13, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

     

    2020 Super-Seniors World Championships (65/70/75/80/85)

    Team Tournament: Oct. 11 – 17, 2020

    Individual Tournament: Oct. 17 – 24, 2020

    Location: Mallorca, Spain

    Important Dates:

    April 1, 2020:  Application posted on USTA.com.

    May 1, 2020: Application deadline.

    May 5, 2020: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    May 10, 2020: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    June 1, 2020: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    July 1, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    August 1, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    September 1, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    October 11, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

    International Team Selection Timelines, Applications and Guidelines

    Click here for the 2019 Senior International Cup team selection guidelines.


  • Tennis & Hiking, Fornalutx & Biniaraix, Mallorca

    Mallorca, Spain, July 29, 2019

    This post was lost in the Ethernet the last month.

    My last day in Mallorca was a busy one! I hit tennis balls or 90 minutes, all was good, so I decided to visit Fornalutx, another mountain village near Soller.

    I did some research and read that the hike to Fornalutx was a pretty easy one, about 45 minutes. I parked about 15 minutes outside of downtown, adding to the walk, but it was an easy place to park and not a bad walk into town.

    I apparently missed the route that wasn’t on the main road. The walk, though pretty, wasn’t particularly relaxing because the roads are so narrow, there’s no shoulder at all and no sidewalks. So I stayed quite alert and avoided being hit by a car or more likely, by a motorcyclist, they ride fast and loudly here.

    The scenery was pretty, orchards, almonds, olives, lemons, oranges, and even a few pomegranate trees were nestled up against the dramatic mountain background.

    When I got to Fornalutx (it was well over and hour, since I stopped and took photos and was meandering), I found the main plaza, got some water, and found the route for the next part of the walk. It was an uphill route for a long ways, up uneven and rough stone steps. But the views were beautiful. At the top I was on a main road for a short while, then found the path down, which wound through olive orchards mostly, and was quiet and free of cars.

    On the way back, I detoured through the tiny village of Biniaraix, which still hard a small plaza by the church. There weren’t many cars on that detour either, and once I was past Biniaraix, I was only 20 minutes from Soller.

    Soller was really hopping at 8pm, the plaza was packed with people having drinks (a bit early yet for food, though some were eating). I walked through the main shopping street and back to my car.

    I leave Mallorca tomorrow for Lisbon. It’s been nice getting to know a different part of this diverse island.


  • Adios Mallorca, Hello Hungary

    On an airplane somewhere between Mallorca and Munich….

    I had my last training in Mallorca today, then quickly made it to the airport. I checked in and then went to the first security station I saw and was surprised it was so empty. I used about 4-5 bins for my various electronics, hats, etc…never having noticed it was the security for only the Balearic Islands…Mallorca, Menorca etc. So I packed back up and went upstairs to regular security. I picked the expedited security line, because I had Gold status with Lufthansa, and the gate opened…followed by an alarm! But the security person waived me through and I did quickly make it through security the 2nd time. Moral of the story: pay more attention to the signs and pick out the English explanation among the four languages shown.

    My trip to Mallorca involved a lot of tennis; 12 hours to be exact and not a lot else, partly because I rented the aftorementioned electric Renault Zoe which demanded to be recharged frequently and which took it’s time to recharge. It spent a fair amount of time at the Lidl charging in the evenings so I could get to tennis practice and back a couple of times the next day!

    Inca was a fairly industrial town in the center of Mallorca…not one of the lovely mountain villages of the west coast or one of the beach towns on the east coast. It was convenient but not noteworthy. I did go into Inca to do laundry once. I went in the middle of the day, thinking the laundry would be quiet that time of day, only to encounter someone washing load after load for some local hotels (small ones, with 15 or fewer rooms he said). He left one small machine open though so I got my clothes washed and dried them in the car and later, in my hotel room.

    I finally tried the surimi shaped like eels that I kept seeing in tapas and at the stores. It was in a garlic/olive oil mixture and was pretty good in a salad.

    I didn’t get back to watch Andy Murray because if I had I would not have had enough charge for the next day to drive to Global Tennis Team…needless to say, I’m not renting an electric car again till there are fast chargers galore and at all gas stations! Andy by the way lost in the quarters 76 in the third and cramped in the third set, so for him it was a successful venture I imagine…he got matches and knows where his fitness level is.

    I had a great time practicing though and learned a lot. I watched the kids hit more this time. They work so hard, and the instructors do not let them get by with anything less than 100% effort…..those who put in less effort find themselves running laps at a minimum. The instructors never have more than four players to a court and often have more than one instructor on court for 2-4 players. And they are watching intently or feeding. The players are the ones doing the work and hitting. One warm up involves cross courts with 3 players and one ball..hit it into the net and the player runs to pick it up. A player not hitting is shadowing a stroke. The two players alternate for a certain number of balls or time, then one goes to join the solo player and the remaining player hits solo for a while. It’s high energy.

    Next up for me is a tournament a couple of hours outside of Budapest…but first a couple of nights in Budapest, in Hungary, a country I’ve never before visited. It’s a part of the European Union and Schengen (unified passport) area but still uses its own currency. The exchange rate is $1 to 300 Hungarian currency, so I’ll be doing math in my head a lot this weekend.

    Hopefully I’ll have wifi this week in my room. However, the sim card I bought in Madrid, $20 from Orange for 20-25 GB of data for a month really came in handy this week. It works as a hotspot too, so I can write my blog on an Ipad and upload it by connectiing it to my phone’s data via wifi. Not a new thing but magical anyway.

    And that’s a wrap on Spain for this year.


  • Rain in Spain (Thunder and Lightning Too)

    Inca, Mallorca, Spain

    Wednesday Morning, August 28th

    Monday it was nearly 100 degrees in Mallorca and sunny. Then yesterday, Tuesday, a “cota fria” hit Mallorca (a cold front) and it rained on and off most of the day. Nonetheless, I managed to get in two training sessions with only a 10 minute break when it poured. In between sessions, I went to charge my car for a couple of hours at Lidl. I’d planned on leaving it there while I walked to the hotel and back, but the sky absolutely opened and poured buckets. I got soaked just walking in and out of Lidl and plugging in the charger. So I had lunch in my car and read instead, and in two hours the car didn’t reach a 50% charge…

    The tournament in Manacor, where Andy Murray is playing was delayed for much of the day and several matches were moved indoors. I didn’t drive over to watch partly because Andy’s match was delayed till after 9pm, but mostly because it takes soooo long to charge the electric car I rented that I didn’t have enough range to drive to Manacor and back safely. I haven’t figured out where a fast charger is, so I ended up parking it at the Lidl when I came back around 7:30 from tennis and (after someone without an electric car moved her car from in front of one of the chargers) and leaving it there for nearly three hours, and walked to and from Lidl from my hotel which is only about 15 minutes. So it’s charged and ready to go today. And Andy won against the 3rd seed so maybe I can watch him again this week.

    Today’s adventure looks to be going to the laundromat here, probably while the car is charging, and of course playing a lot of tennis. I think renting an electric car has been a good learning experience but one I won’t repeat till fast chargers are everywhere and the range is better. It would be better as a 2nd car for around town than as a primary vehicle.


  • Mallorca Encore: Training and Watching Andy Murray

    Mallorca, Spain

    This trip I am staying in a completely different area from Bunyola, north of Palma in Inca. However, the hotel is in the middle of orchards and very quiet (completely the opposite of where we staying in Madrid for sure).

    I got to the airport and found out I’d reserved an all electric vehicle. It took Hertz a while to put in the SD card that had the navigation and for someone from Hertz to explain how to charge it. It had a range of 180 KM and they said no problem, Mallorca is small…well, it’s down to about 80km and that included a 30 minute charging stint at Lidl today, so I’m going to have to leave it there for a few hours tomorrow in between practice sessions. I don’t think I’m quite ready for a full on electric vehicle as range anxiety is real. On the other hand, the cost to refuel it this week is zero.

    I checked into my hotel…my room wasn’t ready but I was able to change and get ready to practice for 90 minutes. Then I charged the car a bit and shopped at Lidl more before getting ready to go watch Andy Murray. Murray has been one of my favorite players since I first saw him playing Clement at the US Open when he was 18. He is playing the Mallorca challenger this week in Manacor at the Rafael Nadal Academy. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive but it was a zoo parking. Entry is free and the center court was SRO. I got there about the middle of the first set but the match was quick. Murray was playing a 17 year old, Imran Sibille of France…with career earnings of $150. He was overwhelmed, couldn’t handle the pace of Murray’s shots and hit a much lighter ball than Murray. Murray looks a little rusty on the short balls, but then it was such a lopsided match, it was hard to tell. The crowd was very vocal every time Sibille won a point and when he won his only game…at 06 05 down, the crowd really roared! It was a fun atmosphere. Murray plays again at 6pm CET tomorrow.


  • Adios Madrid, Hola Mallorca

    Madrid Airport, Monday August 26th 2019

    And then there was one…today Tracey and I took an early cab to the airport, which wasn’t far from our apartment (I woke up at 4:30 and was at the airport by 5!). Madrid has four 1/2 terminals (1-3, 4 & 4S). Terminals 4/4S are about 10 minutes by car from the other three. We dropped off Tracey at 2 and I continued to 4. Susan & Tim leave a few hours later, while I am going to Mallorca for a week of training before my next tournament.

    Andy Murray is playing a challenger this week…at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, so I hope to see him play this week. He’s one of my favorite players. And entry is free to the tournament.

    Yesterday was a pretty mellow day. Tracey tried to check in for her flight and somehow, after calling the airline and being put on hold for a long time, we were told her reservation had been cancelled. Fortunately there were several alternate flights which were only a few dollars more, but that took up a good part of the morning. Travel is fun but there can be bumps along the way.

    We had decided to go to the El Rastro Market, the biggest Sunday market in Madrid. It was a pretty typical street market…jewelry (lots of silver), leather goods, t-shirts galore, but no food, though shops were all around selling food. We walked through the market for about 45 minutes, found a good bakery and had empanadas for lunch (sort of a turnover except with bread instead of pie dough for the crust).

    Tim then went to a museum and Susan, Tracey and I wandered the streets looking at small shops (most were open in Madrid on Sunday, unlike Barcelona, though some smaller shops were closed). We ended up at El Cortez Ingles’s grocery store for our final stop, fitting, as that’s where I started in Lisbon, weeks ago. I got some Spanish sweets..turron consisting mainly of almonds & honey) and some curry mango sauce (like a mayonnaise) and manchego cheese to go with bread I got earlier.

    We returned to our flat, had a Spanish tapas sort of dinner with olives, ham, cheese, crackers and some carrots and salad, very tasty for a last supper so to speak.

    And now we scatter to the East and West Coast and Spain…it was a terrific trip, to be continued solo for me. Thanks for reading!


  • Deia, Mallorca & Driving the West Coast

    Mallorca, Spain

    After six days and nine practice sessions, I had a much needed break from tennis. I decided to try and book a massage and ended up booking one…at the Palma Sport Tennis Club. I didn’t even know it existed, even though it was not far from the hotel I’d previously stayed in when visiting Mallorca. It is 100,000 square foot parcel in the middle of high rises, with five clay courts, a center court (where the men’s Legend’s Cup tournament is held), a gym, spa, restaurant, pool and small grassy area. It was a nice place to spend part of a Sunday afternoon. The club seems to cater to a lot of international guests and I heard English, Spanish and German spoken.

    After lunch, I decided to drive to Deia, which overlooks the sea. I haven’t seen much of the sea this week and missed it. The drive took me past Valdemossa again (I still didn’t see a safe spot to pull over and take a photo..) and along the coast, which is spectacular…and the road was narrow with no shoulders. The views I could see (the road was narrow and curvy, one had to be cautious driving) rivaled that of Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur (imagine driving that road, but with no turnouts at all and being much narrower and windier and you have the feel). On the east were lots of trees, both cultivated (mostly olives) and wild (mostly pines). One the coast were impressive drop offs to a deep blue sea. There were signs at regular intervals to be wary of falling rocks from the cliffs above.

    As I approached Deia, there was actually parking along the side of the road. I parked and walked up towards the town, which is pretty small. However, judging by the prices I saw outside a real estate business, the prices are high. Some of the houses have views of the sea and the mountains, both of which are spectacular.

    One of the draws too, is the house where Robert Graves lived, which is on the outside of town. It’s a pretty place, from the outside (it was closed on a Sunday).

    There were a lot of olive orchards, old ones (not very productive ones either judging by the paucity of olives on the trees, but they were quite interesting looking, being old, gnarly, and windswept.

    The drive back took me again along the coast, which again was spectacular, then inland past Soller. I was able to take a couple of photos from a turnout by a bus stop…and this doesn’t do the coast justice.

    I’ve been to Mallorca many times but mostly to the east side and Palma. The East side is mostly beach resorts and pretty flat. The southwest and west coasts are amazing and I have a lot yet to see in future trips.


  • Valdemossa, Mallorca & Training on the Dirt

    Mallorca, Spain

    Today was the last day of training here in Mallorca, at least for this week & I think I worked hard, at least I’m tired…not even sore, just tired. The kids who train here though seem to have boundless energy, and they train three hours a day on court, do fitness for I suppose an hour or so and then have tournaments on the weekends. It was pretty quiet when I finished today. Normally the courts are packed, but Saturday afternoons and Sundays the facility is closed.

    After I practiced today, and had lunch, I watched the third set of the crazy match between Sasha Zverev and Basilashvili who were playing a clay court tournament in Hamburg, Germany. It was a crazy set…Zverev goes down 3-0, (then up 5-3, 40-15, and at 40-30 on Basilashvili’s serve makes a bad decision to hit a drop shot, loses the game, and eventually the match in a tierbreak…Zverev hit 9 winners (other than serves), Basilashvili made almost 80 errors.

    So after finishing that match, I decided to drive to Valdemossa, another small town on the west side of the island. It was an easy drive, past almond orchards (which looked better than the ones on the road to Orient), which had trees planted much farther apart than is the case in California. In the background, mountains loomed with ominous looking clouds. From the road the town of Valdemossa is pretty and quaint, with stone buildings layered up the mountainside. There were no turnouts on the narrow road, so I’m showing a photo of the city (see the credit below the photo).

    There was some sort of festival going on…lots of red blankets and banners showing in windows, along with Spanish flags, and a band was marching through the town. There’s a Carthusian Monestary (closed already when I arrived), lots of quaint narrow streets lined with stone houses, whose front “gardens” were comprised of potted plants attached to the walls. Valdemossa is located in a small valley near the Tramuntana mountains. It’s famous for Chopin and George Sands (the female author) wintering there (and for Sands’ book, “Winter in Mallorca”).

    Valdemossa is also famous for a pastry, Coca de Patata, which is a cross between Hawaiian sweet bread and a beignet I think. It’s clearly made with potatoes, and normally has pork fat and sugar. It’s normally topped with powdered sugar.


  • Mountain Driving to Orient & Alaro Mallorca

    Mallorca, Spain

    Thursday was another sunny, hot day in Mallorca. I have only an evening practice today so I took a drive to a couple of mountain villages.

    From Bunyola to Orient is only about six miles, but it’s an intense one, starting with leaving Bunyola. Most of the roads were about as wide as a freeway lane..some were narrower…but all had 2-way traffic. And the entire drive was full of pinwheel curves. Fortunately, there was hardly anyone on the roads as I chose to leave around noon. And it was in the high 90s.

    The road to Orient is very pretty, with lots of trees and very steep mountains in the background. I passed more bikers than cars, and there were frequent signs admonishing bikers to ride single file, not parallel (though not all groups of bikers obeyed those signs). There were also more small orchards, with trees set far apart, almonds, apples, olives. Later on I saw a few grapes too. I have no idea how people build houses up there, the roads are so narrow, but I saw a very large building under construction behind Orient.

    The town of Orient is tiny, not much longer than a city block, but nonetheless had a 3 star hotel and a couple of restaurants. I walked up and down the street, then left for Alaro.

    The road to Alaro was straighter and mostly a bit wider. I saw a lot of terraced hillsides, with the levels delineated by rocks. Mallorca must be full of rocks, all the fences have a lot of rocks as the base and most houses are some combination of plaster & rocks with barrel tiled roofs.

    I passed the sign to the Castell d’Alaro on the way in and contemplated taking it. But it was a 45 minute walk up to the castle in 100 degree heat, so I passed. Plus it was a bit hazy with all the heat of midday.

    Alaro is a pretty typical Mallorcan village. It has a big square by the church (and conveniently, the police station), and rows of plaster & rock houses, mostly with green shutters, a grocery store and a pharmacy. I walked around the town, which at 2pm was basically dead other than a few cafes, hit the Bipa grocery store (which had two full freezer compartments of frozen fish, from mussels to calamari to shrimp), and drove back. Tennis training is later in the evening.

    Training tomorrow and then on the weekend, more exploring of Mallorca awaits.


  • Tren de Soller; Soller and the Port de Soller

    Bunyola, Mallorca, Spain

    Since my tennis was scheduled for the evening yesterday, I decided to take the antique train (Ferrocarril de Sóller) to the little town of Sóller, north of here, and then the antique tram to the Port de Sóller . The decision was made easy by the fact that I’m staying about 30 seconds from the train station.

    The train goes from Palma to Bunyola to Sóller and back about half a dozen times a day. It’s an old wooden train with wooden seats. We went past a lot of desiccated-looking olive, almond and citrus orchards. I saw goats in a couple of olive orchards, munching away (I kid you not.). The young ones ran from the train while the older ones paid it no mind. We went through several tunnels and past some nice scenery of valleys and mountains.

    Sóller is a small town with a pretty church, a nice shopping street and hoards of tourists. I heard French, British English, German, only a bit of Spanish, Italian and some other languages being spoken, with German and English being most prevalent. There were ice cream shops everywhere, I think that’s one of the main attractions in Sóller. I had mint which was refreshing on such a hot day (mid-high 90’s).

    I took the tram down to the Port of Sóller, which features a nearly circular port full of boats and lined with a small, packed beach (it was hot). I climbed up a bit to see the Port better and also saw the Mediterranean on the other side of the Port. It was a cloudless day with the blue sky and blue water looking so beautiful.

    You can take a boat ride from the Port but after taking some photos and walking around a bit, I took the tram back to Sóller and walked around there for an hour, seeing the church, shopping street and watching the groups of tourists.

    I took the 2pm train back to my lodging and then trained at 7:30 pm and again today at 9:30am. It’s interesting watching the kids training, they have some different drills. Mainly of course, they are always moving and are hitting with each other, not with the pros. They were doing 2 on 1 drills today for a while and even in warm up, when one of the kids on the side with 2 hit a ball, the other shadowed the stroke. They were using only one ball per court so any misses meant the kid who missed into the net had to run to pick it up. The next drill involved cross courts and one of the kids on the side with two then running from one end to the other after so many hits. Then I left, it was 95 by noon.

    Hola Mallorca…Hace Caliente!

    Tennis on the Spanish Clay & Seafood is Popular in Mallorca


  • Tennis on the Spanish Clay & Seafood is Popular in Mallorca

    Bunyola, Mallorca, Spain

    Today I trained twice and in between went to three grocery stores (they were adjacent to each other). In other words, it was a fun day!

    I trained an hour and a half in the morning and also in the late afternoon. It was very hot at 4:30pm but pretty dry so not unbearable. I hit a ton of balls and picked up a few tips…and all day long heard the instructors saying “feet, feet, move”. Spanish tennis is constructed from the ground up. I was of course the oldest person around by decades and that included the parents of the students who were observing. There seemed to be a fair number of British kids. Very few instructors or kids were wearing hats or sunglasses…hmmm. The clay here is much thicker and slower than Bordeaux. The balls are heavy. I like it.

    After my 9:30 hit, I stretched then went to find Aldi. The navigation system in my car is good, so it was a smooth ride on the narrow Mallorcan streets. Aldi was next to Lidl (both are discount grocery stores) and across the street was a normal grocery store. I started with Lidl, which was the most popular of the three. Lidl had great bread, nice apples and tons of seafood. Since it was my first stop and I had no cooler, I didn’t buy any, but maybe next time. There was tons of fish, and shellfish…mussels, clams, squid seems popular and octopus (pulpo) too. Lidl had nice lambs lettuce (mache in French, Felt Salat in German), which is so good and hard to find at home.

    In Europe, all the grocery carts have a system where one puts in a 1 or 2 euro coin, releases the cart…then upon returning, reattaches the cart and gets the coin back. It works pretty well. Aldi does this in the USA but it’s only a quarter (since that’s pretty much the biggest coin in common circulation).

    I went to Aldi next which was similar, though the bread didn’t look quite as good, nor did the apples. But I got the basics there and Aldi also had tons of shellfish and fresh fish.

    Last stop was the regular store, for curry mango sauce for sandwiches and jam. Heinz makes the curry mango sauce but apparently doesn’t sell it in the USA. I was looking for peanut butter and found some in Lidl but no natural. I’m hoping in Lisbon we have a blender and I can just make some!

    I had a good sandwich for lunch and at 4:30-6 trained again. After that I was beat.

    Tomorrow I only train once, in the evening so am going to see where this wooden train is going every day.

    Hola Mallorca…Hace Caliente!


  • Hola Mallorca…Hace Caliente!

    Bunyola, Mallorca, Spain

    Today was another travel day. I flew from Bordeaux (did you know that in Europe, some airlines…looking at you Vueling…charge for bags by the leg, not by the trip?).

    My bags and I made it from Bordeaux to Barcelona to Mallorca. The flight from Barcelona to Mallorca takes about 30 minutes but we sat on the runway for a long time so arrived just a bit late. Vueling runs planes back and forth about every hour, so by the end of the day the planes are usually late. Flying early in the day paid off.

    I picked up a rental car, successfully changed the language from German to English and found both my airbnb and the tennis facility, which are only about 10 minutes apart.

    It was Sunday afternoon when I arrived so naturally most stores were closed, though I got water and sandwich makings at a gas station. And a very fresh baguette, something one doesn’t see in a gas station convenience store at home.

    Mallorca is a pretty island…lots of coastline of course but also lots of hills. From the “outskirts” of Bunyola (it’s a one street town) I could see the sea, and the mountains were back up against the town on the other side.

    It was really warm when I arrived, in the upper 90s at 2pm, but cooled off to the 80s by 8pm. I walked down the street and there were a lot of people at outdoor restaurants and cafes (not eating yet…too early), and quite a few bicyclists, motorbikes, and a few pedestrians.

    Bunyola has a small train station and I saw a wooden train stop. Hopefully I’ll have time to take a ride on it into the mountains later in the week.

    Tomorrow I’m off to train, getting ready for the worlds in Portugal which start in two weeks.


  • Santa Maria, Mallorca & Nadal Academy

    This morning I had my last training with Global Tennis Team (globaltennisteam.com). It’s a smallish academy in Mallorca, five clay courts and I had a good time training there this week. I also really enjoyed watching the juniors train. It’s completely different from anything I see in the US, though I haven’t seen a lot of academies. The juniors are really hard working and are moving constantly and also rallying with each other. The feeding that is done is hand feeding from close range with lots and lots of movement involved, and very specific on the movement and technique. The juniors all seem to listen well and try hard.

    After we finished training, Pat Delaney (a college friend who is here in Mallorca this week) and I went touring a bit. We first went to Santa Maria, a small town about 20 minutes from the academy with sleepy, narrow streets, a couple of churches and lots of restaurants given the overall quietness of the village. We had a very pleasant lunch in what seemed to be a very Spanish restaurant (the grilled calamari was great). It had the smallest gas station I think I’ve ever seen.

    starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-001

    There was some interesting wiring going on in this building!

    starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-009

    The streets were pretty empty on a Saturday afternoon…it was warm and siesta time I think.

    starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-003 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-005  starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-014 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-018 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-021 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-026 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-027

    After lunch we decided to try and find the Rafa Nadal academy in Manacor on the east end of the island. We got close (which involved driving down a warren of very narrow streets) and then stopped and asked directions…and after a few wrong turns found the academy. We tried driving in and were told it was private…so we parked, found the museum (which only opened on Monday) and after that, we walked in the entrance where we were rebuffed earlier…only to immediately see an instructor from Global who was watching several of the juniors from Global who were in finals. The 10 and under boys were really amazing players. They used the whole court, moved great and kept the rallies going in the very windy conditions quite well. The academy is huge. There are live in quarters, a school and scads of blue and green hard courts. There were clay courts nearby but the tournament was on hard courts.

    The museum had Rafa’s big trophies from Slams and Masters 1000 and the Davis Cup.

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    In addition to a lot of courts, there was a soccer field and I saw signs for a swimming area too. Overlooking the center court are the apartments for the players and families.

    starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-043 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-041 starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-044  starred photos July 9 Santa Maria, Nadal Academy-046

    Tomorrow afternoon I am off to Barcelona for a tournament. It’s an odd one…matches start at 6pm and end around midnight each evening. I play my first match Wednesday night.


  • Red Clay! Training in Mallorca

    I flew Monday from Helsinki via Berlin to Mallorca, Spain. Mallorca is an island (famously where Rafa Nadal grew up and still resides) about a 30 minute plane ride from Barcelona. The flights were fine though the terminal in Berlin was rather underwhelming…crowded and old. Each flight was in the two hour range; Helsinki was cold and rainy, Berlin sunny and mild, Mallorca sunny and very warm.

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    I have been in Mallorca training on the red clay here for a few days before my next tournament. The transition from indoor hard courts to outdoor red clay is let’s say not an easy one, even though I love red clay. It’s much more physical to hit on red clay than indoors and then there are the interesting clay bounces, the wind, the sun and the different muscles used. It’s been fun though.

    A college friend of mine is here too..she trained a couple of days and we walked around Palma Monday. The church here is always impressive to view.

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    Yesterday we walked up to the Castle Bellver which overlooks the city. The view was beautiful but it was quite a hike up in between 90 minute hitting sessions. I’ll either be fit or exhausted next week..I choose fit!

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    The biggest challenge here for me is parking. In the garage of my hotel, any car bigger than a minicooper seems like a Hummer…..people park here on the streets and must be expert parallel parkers (I am not!). The other challenge is finding my way around…I get there but sometimes the detours are comical and mean navigating streets only a few feet wide, occasionally going the wrong way on a one way street (yikes!…I blame the navigation system on that one).

    Last day of training tomorrow then some sight seeing…then Barcelona awaits.


  • Mallorca Senior Champion; Adios Mallorca, Buenas Tardes Barcelona

    The final of the women’s 60 singles was held today in Mallorca. I got up early and never looked outside, so it wasn’t till I started walking toward our warm up court that I learned that it had rained overnight and play was delayed. So we, Erin and I, Wendy Armstrong and Stuart Leslie and others went to do what tennis players are known for…eat. The Beach Club Font de sa Cala where we all stayed included breakfast and dinner in the room rate. The food was very good too. After a while it became clear (as the weather was clearing) that tennis would go on before long. Since I had a 9am match, my match was moved to Na Taconara and we didn’t get a warm up. Na Taconara is an easy walk of about 1/2 kilometer up the street, but is much windier than the Beach Club, since there aren’t buildings around the court. It was very windy at the start. I played Encarnita Gomis-Ruiz in the final. She started well and I didn’t, I was hitting short, but after going down 2/0 I won 12 games in a row and the title. No one asked me if I won after, only if I had won 60 60…no pressure at all (sarcasm alert).  Encarnita has really improved over the last five years; she works hard and plays tons of tournaments and it shows.

    Gomis Ruiz, Panner, Nichols, W55 IMG_0240-001

    I watched Carol Campling from Australia  play in the 65s (she lost, though had a set point in the second set) to a French player, and then watched some of the women’s 55 final, between Katrin Dippner and Laura Di Vittori. Dippner from Germany was involved in marathons all week, as was Di Vittori in her second and third round matches. This one went three sets too, but despite some serving woes, Dippner was the braver of the two and went for her shots in the end while Di Vittori seemed to play not to lose. Dippner won 75 in the third. Dippner has on the striped top below.

     Laura Di Vittori, ITA W55 F Erin Boynton, W55 semis    W55 Champion, Karin Dippner, GER

    In the doubles, the British team which edged us yesterday, went down 41 in the first set to Pam Schulz and Julie David, but rebounded from that slow start to win 75 63.

    IMG_0234Pam Shulz, Helge, Julie David, W55 doubles finalists

    Ann and Andrew Stanley from California won the 60 mixed.

    Ann, Andrew Stanley, 60 mxd champions

    Michael Beautyman lost in the semis of the men’s 65s.

    After watching and the trophy presentation Erin and I drove to Palma with minimal wrong turns, returned the rental car without a problem and then went to the airport. Erin stayed at an airport hotel on the beach while I went to Barcelona for a day. Erin is going to another ITF tournament, this one in the South of France. It was a fun week, the tournament was well run, ran on time, transportation was well done, and the rates were reasonable. The weather was fine and the area is very nice, so I highly recommend it.


  • Thursday/Friday: Into the Singles Final

    There were quite a few Americans in the 55 doubles; Dearth, Ann Stanley, Julie David, Pam Schulz, and me, plus Erin who is from Canada. Julie and Pam took out Ann and her Austrian partner. Dearth, playing with her British sister, took out the #2 seeds. Erin and I won 2 matches on Thursday  to reach the semis but lost today to a British pair who played quite well…we lost 16 64 11-9. Unfortunately, we had to play a match tiebreak which really makes a difference as a team only has to win one set and a tiebreak, a lot different from playing a third set. Nonetheless we had one match point…back to the drawing board on that one. We were hoping for an all-American final as Julie David and Pam Shulz won their match today, but they’ll have to carry the flag for the US in the final.

    Erin lost her singles in the semis to the top seed from Italy yesterday; she, De Vittori, plays the German, Dippner (winner of the dramatic match a few days ago) in the final. ; I had the day off yesterday but beat the 4th seed today, Dagmar Panner from Germany 60 60, though we had a few long games and matches. I play the #2 seed, Encarnacion Gomes/Ruiz tomorrow; she held off the #5 seed today 60 57 75; she led 41 in the second before Olga Markova rallied to force a third. Encarnita is ranked #2 in the world so it should be a good final, she fought very hard today and as a Spaniard is at home here.

    Michael Beautyman also won 60 60 today to advance to the semis where he takes on Luis Flor, a tough Spaniard.

    Below, photos of the #1 seed in the 55s and of Erin.

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  • Wednesday in Mallorca; Into the Singles Semis

    Today I had a match at noon, and Erin had the day off from singles. I played a French woman, Patricia Labat Labarrere (corrected name!), who was a pretty good mover, and had a decent slice and a moonball off of her forehand and off low balls, a drive as well. We had some nice rallies, but I won 60 60. It was nice to be out on court competing though.

    I watched bits of other matches. Pierre Godfroid, another French player, has an unusual style for clay, very compact strokes and he serves and volleys and chips and charges a lot. He played a German player who was pretty good, but Pierre won in straight sets.

    After I played and watched, I walked around a bit; this really is a pretty place and the water is so blue when the sun shines, all shades of blue and very clear.

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    I have a day off again from singles which is a bummer while Erin has singles, then if we win our first doubles tomorrow, two doubles starting at 3pm. Erin plays the #1 seed at noon, so had better not play any three hour match tomorrow!  They didn’t really start the doubles when they should have, with a match on Tuesday, so the whole draw is behind; Ann Stanley has the possibility of doubles, then mixed, then doubles back to back to back tomorrow, since for some reason Ann didn’t play women’s doubles today.

    Michael Beautyman from the USA won today; Greg Shephard lost his singles but with Tom Bryan won doubles; Jeff Dearth lost; Andrew Stanley, who is British but lives in the USA had a great match with Fritz Raijmakers, the #2 seed, but fell 75 in the third. Pam Schulz and Julie David won their doubles 60 60.

    Tonight was the player dinner. The food was fabulous…everything from shrimp  to octopus to chocolate cake, dozens of cheeses, fish and steak and pork, pasta and pizza, sushi, fruit, salads galore…and a mariachi band roving around the dining room.

    Draws are here.


  • Mallorca Tuesday, Success in Son Besso

    I finally got to play a match, on Day 3 of the Mallorca Open. I played a pleasant woman from Frankfurt, Germany, Brigitte Kraell. I played pretty well and at 5-0 in the first set she looked at me and told me that I was just “too good” for her. That could be the kiss of death, but I won 60 60 to advance to the quarters against the #8 seed from France, after which Brigitte and I went for a drink together as is the custom in Europe.

    I scouted a match after I finished, then went to see how Erin was doing, which was fine, as she had just beaten the #4 seed (Erin being the #5 seed) 62 60. I caught up with Heide Orth, who confused some onlookers (those who weren’t watching any of the points) by using the scoreboard such that it appeared she was up 65 instead of 60 50. A picture will follow of the scoreboards tomorrow so I can explain the issue better.

    When Heide finished I watched another match that was full of drama in the third set; a 41 lead come and gone; nerves and frustration, particularly from whomever held the lead; balls slammed into fences, calls questioned by both players,  and in the end some gutsy and successful forays to the net by the eventual victor. Somehow there seems to be more drama in matches here in Europe, but maybe there are just more matches, so by law of averages that happens.

    After watching the women’s matches, I watched men’s 40 quarterfinals which were really good matches. The #1 seed was taken to three sets; the #2 seed beat Andrew Moraghan in a tough 63 62 match in which the #2 seed was constantly berating and exhorting himself. He had a massive forehand and an excellent one handed backhand and a good serve. The most interesting match was a Swiss vs a Belgian; the Swiss player was more of a counterpuncher, rope a doping his Belgian opponent. Both were lefties and the Swiss absorbed power well and constantly redirected the ball while seemingly moving very little and using minimal effort, while his Belgian counterpart used a lot of energy to try and get to the ball and finish points. The Swiss had beaten the #4 seed first round 1,0, so was obviously tough and was up a set and 3/2 when I left.

    Below, a photo of the pool area: hotel guests, particularly in the summer, reserve these lounges with their towels on them, and lie for hours by the pool! Right now they are mostly empty though as the hotel is full of guests who are too busy playing tennis to lie around.

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    Erin and I were up just after dawn today for warm up. It was peaceful by the beach, just a few swimmers and a lone sailboat.

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    Erin and I are below…I wonder who our doubles opponents are going to lob. 😉

    Erin, CAN


  • Mallorca Monday: Warm Weather and Marathon Matches

    I had a default today so didn’t play, but I do play at 9am tomorrow. Unfortunately I booked a practice court at 8:25, since the court times come out about 7pm, but one has to book a practice court around 3pm..anyway, I play a pretty good German player tomorrow so will have to warm up mentally instead of on the court!

    Today I watched only two matches but they were both marathons…Jenny Cerff took on the top seed in the women’s 55, Laura Vitorri from Italy, and won the first set 76. The second set was close, 64, and we thought Jenny was ahead 42 when we left, but we obviously read the scorecard incorrectly, (unless the score wasn’t correct onlineJenny lost 62 in the third. It was a 3 hour plus match that started at noon and it was warm and muggy! It was a contrast in styles, Jenny has a big serve and forehand while Laura does damage with her crafty backhand. The more experienced clay court player won in the end.

    Erin also had a 3 hour plus match. We (Erin, Marc Pepin from Canada and her daughter Hannah) watched the first set, then left to watch Jenny; when we returned Erin had split sets and she won the match in three sets. Her opponent was a good clay court player, nice forehand, heavy slice backhand and good angles. Erin was the better overall player and once she got her “clay legs”, she pulled out the win. 

    There are a few other Americans here. Michael Beautyman won his match. Greg Shepherd got a walkover in singles. Jeff Dearth won in men’s 65. Bruce Barrett also won in men’s 65.

    Doubles hasn’t started yet…maybe on Thursday. This tournament, though held in Spain is run by Germans and announcements are made in German, then English, then Spanish and there aren’t a lot of Spanish players in the draw. It’s a truly international tournament. It’s run well.. practice courts are booked via a computer and only players registered in the tournament can sign up for their 25 minute session each day, four players to a court. There are four venues used and transport to each venue is available, other than the one within easy walking distance. There are events many evenings for the players and nice player gifts and good prize money for winners and finalists at a minimum. And it’s in a nice location.

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    Meanwhile, draws are here.


  • Font de Sa Cala: Practicing and Sightseeing

    Today started pretty early with an 8am practice, and then checked in where we received polo shirts and towels as player gifts, very nice. We then had a nice breakfast. That was a good thing because we next went to another club, Son Besso, a few miles away and had a good 2 hour practice, Erin Boynton, my doubles partner this week and her daughter Hannah, a member of the Williams D3 varsity team (which won the D3 title in 2015). Son Besso is away from the sea a bit but is up high enough so we could see the Mediterranean while we had lunch. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm but not humid or hot.

    After checking in at our new hotel, we went to the Cuevas de Arta. They are full of stalagmites and stalactites and are really impressive. Some caves are over 40 meters high. The drive there was pretty and the cliffs are amazing, steep and craggy.

     

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    I got a default in my first round match, so don’t play tomorrow, but Erin does. I play a German in the next round.


  • Adios Palma, Buenos Dias Font de sa Cala

    The news of the day is that I managed to find the rental car location, and then, once I’d renewed my contract, I found the airport (where I was picking up Erin Boynton and her daughter Hannah; Erin and I are playing doubles this week) and then found the way to Font de sa Cala, on the opposite end of the Island all pretty much without getting lost! So that counts as a good day.

    In the late morning/early afternoon, I finally went inside the Palma Church and Castle. The church is lovely inside, especially the organ, the stained glass windows and the ceilings.

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    The castle had some interesting ceilings all of which were very high. It’s situated right next to the cathedral. It must get cold here in the winter…one room had three fireplaces!

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    After going to the museum, I walked around the park to get a good view of the castle and park, then it was off the aforementioned driving adventure.

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    We are now in Font de sa Cala and planning on an early morning hit. I ran into a group of Americans including Julie David and Pam.

    Buenos Noches.


  • Training! Mallorca Draws Posted

    Wednesday was the rain day, but the past two days have been training days at GlobalTennisTeam near Palma, Mallorca. i learned about it from another senior player, Andrew and also from Bruce, a US player from Florida.

     

     Global clubhouseGlobal ctsGlobal entrance

    The biggest problem I had was just finding Global the first time. By today, Friday, I could find it without GPS…so it’s on to another driving challenge, finding the spot where I am to return my rental car and then the airport and then Font de sa Cala on the opposite end of the island. But that’s for another day.

    Tuesday I trained for 90 minutes in the morning and afternoon with a one hour fitness/stretching in between. I was beat at the end of the day, so the rain on Wednesday wasn’t all bad.

    Yesterday I  trained for 90 minutes in the morning and afternoon followed by fitness for an hour. After warming up and hitting and doing serves, we did various drills mostly clay court patterns and more in the afternoon. In between I watched some of the juniors, who are in constant motion. Tennis here is taught with the feet being very important though of course technique is also very important. Several are very good players and do well in the European junior tournaments, but others are already playing futures as the cost is the same. . There’s on boy who just started Tuesday here, he’s from Alabama and only 11.

    Jenny Cerff arrived yesterday from South Africa to train some and play in the Mallorca tournament next week. We both had training in the morning, then, since we had a 4.5 hour break, and since I could now navigate the round trip to Palm in under an hour, I gave Jenny a small tour of Palma. We walked to the Cathedral, past all the boats (including three huge cruise ships in the harbor today) and  down some of the old town streets and did a bit of browsing in the shops.

    Palma 10 2 15 with Jenny-008 Palma 10 2 15 with Jenny-009

    In the afternoon, I learned some more drills and did point play for the tournament; Bruce Barrett arrived from Croatia and he and Jenny trained in the afternoon too, and got ready for mixed doubles.

    The draws came out tonight and can be found here. (click on drawsheet to see draws; on order of play to see daily results). 


  • Rainy Day on a Dry Island

    It rained most of today in Mallorca. There was a lot of lightning too early, but some intermittent sunshine. However, no tennis, which was ok. It gave me a chance to walk around Palma, which has a busy harbor (and a huge cruise ship docked there) and a giant cathedral which is quite lovely.

     harbor big cruise ship    

    I walked down to the sea then to the cathedral and around it. It dominates the Palma skyline. There were a lot of other tourists doing the same thing, but I didn’t hear many American voices, mostly German and British accents and language. I didn’t actually hear all that much Spanish either. There are lots of narrow old streets and also tons of restaurants, none of which open much before 7:30 in the evening and even then only for the early birds!

    cathedral palma-013cathedral palma-016cathedral palma-009old town

    I did go out to the tennis courts because the courts dried but by the time I got there (still getting lost A LOT) it was raining and wet. Probably just as well as I would have had to drive back in the dark and I got lost about 10 times going back to Palma. Mallorca has roundabouts everywhere…instead of stoplights or four way stops it has roundabouts…so the instructions on how to get anywhere are long and complicated…because at every roundabout one needs to know which exit to take. Normally I get confused and go around a few times while figuring it out.

    Mallorca is also known for Majorcan pearls. There are a lot of shops full of beads and pearls here, of varying quality. The displays though are very pretty.

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  • Lost and Found in Mallorca

    Yesterday was a long one…4am pickup to go to Trieste, Italy, via Slovenia for a 7am flight…to Munich, Germany, finally arriving at 11am in Barcelona where I had to wait till 3pm for my flight to Mallorca.  The Barcelona airport is very modern. The last flight is a short one and I slept so soundly that when it landed I was in a daze.

    BCN 9 28 15-001

    Lost and found #1:

    The Palma de Mallorca airport is a busy one, especially considering that Mallorca isn’t all that large. The signage is let’s say, suboptiimal. There was a sign near the arrival gate for baggage claim that was prominent…no others were and I wandered around for a while, eventually getting to passport control (for passengers going out of the EU). I learned that “maleta” means suitcase in Spanish, executed a u-turn and finally was reunited with my luggage.

    Of course I was quite late to pick up my rental car but eventually found the area where the rental car company was to pick me up, and 30 minutes later I was at the rental counter.

    Lost and found #2: I got my car, and then tried to figure out where the hotel was. My phone took it’s sweet time finding it’s gps location, but eventually I had directions (no thanks to the hotel clerk who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me directions…probably the latter). I finally found the hotel and pulled up in front, only to learn that the parking was behind me. So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can’t just go “around the block” in Palma…the streets are at pretty much every angle other than 90 degrees…about 30 minutes later I found the hotel again and the parking area (the upside was I got free parking out of all the aggravation). Also, it was raining, did I mention that?

    So why am I here in Mallorca? Another tournament, starting Monday for me, in Font de sa Cala, on the opposite end of the island. I had a week in between the tournament in Croatia and the one next week so I’m training at a tennis academy for 4 days. Which led to…

    Lost and Found #3: The location of Global wasn’t on my GPS so I used one close by. I got near the academy and was in an industrial area…and figured I was hopelessly lost, so wisely called the academy for help…which came five minutes later and I followed their white van to the academy. I hit with one of the pros twice for 1 1/2 hours, did some light fitness and watched the hoards of impressive juniors smacking the ball…never heard a complaint either or a bad word.

    Palma seems like a nice city. There’s a huge church which looks like a castle and it’s right on the water. It was pretty cloudy and gloomy this afternoon and I was tired but Saturday I plan to explore, or maybe tomorrow if it rains a lot as the forecast predicts (50ml what ever that means).

    I did make it back from the academy and now have the gps coordinates but I figure I’ll make a few wrong turns yet. Mallorca has roundabouts everywhere. They are pretty useful…when you aren’t quite sure which way to turn you can just drive around in them a couple of times till you figure it out.

    Meanwhile in Croatia, Hugh Thomson, USA beat #1 seeded Peter Adrigan in the men’s 70s.