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  • 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.

  • Chihuly Glass & Space Needle…Touring Seattle

    Today, Saturday, was my last day in Seattle. My doubles partner, Susan Wright, her dad Enver Mehmedbasich and I decided to see the iconic Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass & Gardens. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and it was hoped that the Space Needle would be to Seattle what the Eiffel Tower was to Paris. I think they weren’t too far off, but Seattle, nice as it is, is not Paris either.

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    We rode up and looked around at all the water sprinkled throughout the Seattle area.  We saw a lot of amphibious planes flying around today. We saw the ferry that we took a few days ago to Bainbridge Island. Mt. Rainier was visible but we’d seen it all week from the Seattle Tennis Club. It’s the highest peak in the lower 48 states and is a volcano too.

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    We decided to have lunch at the restaurant there. It is a revolving restaurant, making one full revolution per hour. Being a weekend, brunch was served and we had a nice relaxed meal while enjoying the view.

    After leaving the Space Needle, we went to the Chihuly Glass and Garden. It was really amazing and beautiful both inside and out and lighted inside so well. Susan and I took a lot of photos and Susan’s dad was a good sport about it all.

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    In case you were wondering, Mark Vines won the men’s 60s 61 76 over Toby Crabel, the tournament sponsor. Ross Persons placed third.

    And that’s a wrap on the Seattle trip. Next up, NYC for the Open and some sight seeing next weekend.

  • Gold!

    Today, Saturday, Susan Wright and I played for the gold balls in Seattle against Andrea Barnes and Leslie Murveit and won 63 63 in a very fun match with lots of good points. Earlier in the day Leslie made sure neither she nor Andrea would be worn out for their doubles final by playing a very good and not overly long match against Andrea and winning it and the bronze ball.


    The match of the day however was the battle between Susan, seeded #2 and Diane Barker, seeded #1. Diane had won all but one previous encounter, but it had been 10 years since the two had played on an indoor court, which is Susan’s favorite surface. Susan played a flawless first set, and Diane misfired on more backhands than usual..Susan won the set 62. Diane was more consistent and forced Susan into hitting short more in the second set and took it 62, and looked ready to run away with the match in the third when she led 3-1 and Susan momentarily looked resigned to a loss. But Susan’s backhand regained its depth and she reeled off the next 4 games before finally finishing off the set and the match 64. The third set was very high quality from both players and the first two weren’t too shabby.


    France O’Sullivan/Mary Morgan took the third in the doubles with a three set win.


    Susan went for a third gold ball in mixed but had to settle for a silver. Jennifer Shorr/Kurt Chan were just too powerful for Susan and Ross, serving big, volleying well and returning well to  regain their mixed title first won last year. Shannon Gordon-Carney/Rollin Rhone beat Jack and Diane Barker to take bronze. Rollin was happy earlier today to receive a care package from Adidas. Rollin had his bag and racquets stolen earlier in the week downtown and bought shoes from Big 5 for the tournament…they were nearly bald by today.


    On the men’s side, Mark Vines was close to going down 3-0 and 4-1 against Ross Persons, but changed up his patterns enough to eke out the first set 76 and then cruised to a 61 second set win. He faces Tony Crabel in the final.


    Wes Cash/Vines won the men’s doubles with a victory over Doug Ditmer/Fred Robinson.

    The men’s singles final is tomorrow. The winner takes home $2000 courtesy of Crabel Capital which sponsors the men’s 60 division at all four 60s nationals. Vines plays Crabel in the final.

    Draws are here: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=186516

    Photos are here: https://goo.gl/photos/xN8UASoymWb3FtVn6

  • Susan Wright Reaches Three Finals in Seattle

    Susan Wright is a triple threat in Seattle. Today she beat Leslie Murveit 60 64 in a good match. Leslie had game points in four of the six games she lost in the first set, so it was much closer than the score would indicate. In the second set, Susan and Leslie each held, then there were five consecutive breaks of serve and Leslie led 4-3, before Susan found another gear and won the final three games. There were lots of long, full court (angle to deep to volley) rallies, keeping the viewing audience entertained. While Susan and Leslie were playing on the first court, Andrea Barnes and Diane Barker played for the first time on the last court. Diane won 63 60.

    In the doubles semis, Susan and I played Carolann Castell and Anne Corsano, the #4 seeds today and won 62 60. Next to us, Andrea Barnes and Leslie Murveit fell behind 4-1 in the first set and then 5-4, but rallied to win the final 9 games of the match. We play them tomorrow at 9am.

    Susan and Ross Persons beat Shannon Gordon-Carney/Rollin Rhone in one mixed semis and played really well..there were some amazing points, but Susan and Ross seemed to come up with one last shot each time. Even Susan’s father Enver was impressed! They face Jennifer Shorr/Kurt Chan who were 62 62 winners over Diane/Jack Barker.

    Myron Pushyk upset #2 seed Fred Robinson, winning the third set 60 to advance to the semis against #4 seed Tony Crabel. Mark Vines and Ross Persons advanced to the semis in straight sets and play the other semi.

    Doug Ditmer/Robinson play top seeded Vines/Wes Cash in the men’s doubles final tomorrow.

    There was a really nice player dinner on the lawn, featuring salmon of course. The desert, a warm berry cobbler or shortcake was really special. Leslie and Andre arranged a photo of most of the women players here, though they missed one, Kari Anderson, who played mixed (shown below with Susan Wright).

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    Lime Bike update: Today the lime bikes were not working so I walked…they kept saying bike already in service, even though they were locked and there was basically no human customer service. Too bad, it was fun to ride them. But they have a lot of kinks to work out.

    Draws are here: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=186516

    Photos are here: https://goo.gl/photos/xN8UASoymWb3FtVn6

  • Successful Start in Seattle

    Today, Wednesday, I finally played a match. Susan Wright and I played Janice Hostetler and Bonnie Paasche from Washington state. We won 62 60. There was one point that was pretty funny…it was a long one as the courts here are slow, the balls are fluffy and our opponents were tenacious. After several shots we got a short ball in the middle of the court and Susan managed to say “put it away Carolyn!!!! (probably in all caps). I of course froze, let the ball drop and tried a dropshot. Janice, who had played me in the past and remembered the drop shots I hit her then was already to the service line and got to the ball and they won the point.

    About the courts…they were resurfaced last week and are very slow and gritty. The tournament chose to use US Open Heavy Duty balls instead of regular duty balls which are recommended for indoor use. The heavy duty balls get really fluffy and slow after a set or so and unless you are Susan or Diane Barker, they are hard to put away….as Andrea Barnes discovered in her match against Shannon Gordon-Carney today.

    Shannon is playing her first national, but it won’t be her last. She’s a very good player, quick, and a good volleyer. Andrea though is very experienced and an excellent indoor player. Andrea won the first set 63, as Shannon was erratic for much of the set. However, Shannon got more aggressive and got to net more in the second set, forging a 4-1 lead before Andrea nearly leveled the set by being more aggressive. Shannon though closed it out 64. In the third, with new balls, Andrea went up 3-1, Shannon went ahead 4-3 and then Andrea played a flawless final 3 games to win the set and match 63.

    The other women’s quarters were one-sided, though Frances O’Sullivan played a good second set against Susan Wright before losing 60 63. Frances hit a lot of good shots…Susan though pounced on any short balls. Susan plays Leslie Murveit, last year’s finalist, tomorrow and Andrea plays Diane Barker.

    In the men’s 60s, there were a few minor upsets. Wes Cash beat #5 seed Rollin Rhone 63 62 and Myron Pushyk beat #5 seed Doug Ditmer. Cash plays #4 seed Tony Crabel who sponsors the men’s portion of this event. (There is $10000 total prize money for the men’s 60 singles/doubles; for women’s and mixed there is an unspecified amount of prize money based on entry size).

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    In mixed, Shannon and Rhone upset #3 seeds Andrea and Kenny House in straight sets and Diane/Jack Barker took out #4 seeds Frances O’Sullivan/Kevin Kearny, also in straight sets.

    I have been successfully (so far) riding a Lime Bike (limebike.com) back and forth to the club. You download the app from google play or apple, then create and account. The first one or two rides are free…then it’s $1 a ride or 50 cents for students, or you can buy 100 rides for about $30. After one or two rides the app will ask you to load a minimum of $5 for rides. To ride a bike, find one nearby on the app, scan the QR code and the bike unlocks. When you are done riding, just lock the bike by turning a knob, leave it at a bike rack or on a curb and that’s it.

    Update:  Thursday the Lime Bikes were not working so I walked…they kept saying bike already in service, even though they were locked and there was basically no human customer service. Too bad, it was fun to ride them.

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    Draws are here: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=186516

    Photos are here: https://goo.gl/photos/xN8UASoymWb3FtVn6

  • The Calm Before the Tournament 

    Today I hit with Diane Barker in the morning, worked out, etc. then walked back to my lodging. 

    Susan played her first match and won easily. After lunch we walked around the Madison PRk are where I am staying. A beach is only a couple of blocks away and there were lots of people enjoying the nearly 80 degree weather. 

    Madison Park has many cute shops and interesting looking restaurants. After wandering around we ended up back at the club to view some mixed matches. 

    Tomorrow Susan has singles, doubles and mixed and I have doubles  at 3:30pm., but 7:30 am warm up!

    Addendum: took a “lime bike” ride back from dinner. The bikes are left at random spots. You unlock them with an app, ride off, leave them at your destination. They have lights and adjustable seats. 

    Draws are here: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=186516

    Photos are here: https://goo.gl/photos/xN8UASoymWb3FtVn6

  • Practicing, Eclipse! & Site Seeing in Seattle

    Today was a long and very nice day in Seattle. The weather was gorgeous from sunrise to sunset and we were busy practicing, viewing the eclipse and then taking a ferry to Bainbridge Island.

    Susan and I got up early and practiced at 6:30am indoors till matches began at 8am. The view of Mt. Rainier was beautiful at 6:20 in the morning when the air was clear and there was still a touch of pink in the sky. By 8am I had managed to misplace my phone (thank you to the orchid man who picked it up and turned it in!) and to the referee who offered to retrieve my water bottle for me (which I left on our practice court).

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    The eclipse started a bit after 9am here in Seattle and the lawn at the Seattle Tennis Club was a nice place ot view it. Susan Lammers, with whom Susan is staying, had an extra pair of eclipse glasses which Susan and I shared. There was a family there too which had created a multi pinhole camera which was reflected on a board so we could follow the path of the eclipse. We also found time to take portrait photos of each other. It was fun and relaxed. It was interesting how shadows reflected the partial eclipse. It also got really cold during the apex of the eclipse.

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    After lunch, we decided to head off to Bainbridge Island which is about a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The hardest part about that adventure was finding parking which wasn’t exorbitant. Seattle imposes about a 10% tax and $3 on to of already expensive parking, so we failed to find reasonably priced parking. However, the views from the ferry were worth the trip. When we got to the island we wandered around the shops…the shopping street felt like one in Coronado or maybe Del Mar, CA but not as big or crowded. It was relaxing. If we had had more time we could have walked longer along the water and had dinner there.

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    After we returned to the mainland, we went to the nice player dinner at the home of Pat Kennedy and Melissa Reis. The house overlooked the lake and the view was beautiful.

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    Susan starts singles tomorrow and I have one more day till we play our first match Wednesday.

  • Practicing & Touring Seattle

    Today, Sunday, I walked to the club, a nice walk of less than 15 minutes and met up with my doubles partner Susan Wright. We warmed up a bit, then played a couple of sets of doubles. Susan was nearly flawless today, serving, returning and volleying like the professional she is.

    After we stretched, recovered and had lunch, we headed off to Pike Place Market, the biggest tourist attraction in Seattle, and the 33rd most visited attraction in the world with 10 million visitors according to Travel & Leisure.  It was fun, even though touristy, with lots of fish markets, flower markets and fruits and vegetable vendors.

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    We attended the cocktail reception back at the club after our trip to the market. It was clear enough in the afternoon to see Mt. Rainier which is a two hour drive away from the club.

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    Tomorrow is the eclipse over the USA. Seattle is supposed to have a 91% coverage around 10:20am and to be pretty clear.

    In the tournament, the men start tomorrow and the women on Tuesday.

    Draws are here: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=186516

    Photos are here: https://goo.gl/photos/xN8UASoymWb3FtVn6

  • Seattle, Washington 

    Hello from Seattle, Washington. I am here to play in the 60 national indoors at the Seattle tennis club. The club is right on Lake Washington and is beautiful. It has three outdoor clay, about eight outdoor hard courts, and six indoor courts. There are also squash courts one pickle ball court and a nice fitness room. You’re also restaurant and a very nice locker room. The attire for tennis is all white attire or at least 2/3 white attire. However shoes can be any color. 

    Susan Wright my doubles partner this week and I practiced yesterday for a while in the afternoon and again this morning. Then we had a nice afternoon enjoying the sunshine in s garden at the club  on the edge of over Lake Washington. Susan, who drove here from Colorado, then took me to the Airbnb apartment I had rented. It’s close to the club about a 15 minute walk, and is very nice.

    Tomorrow we have morning practice and then in the afternoon hopefully we’ll see more of Seattle. The play starts Monday for the men 60 indoors and for the women it starts on Tuesday. I’m only playing doubles so I don’t plan till Wednesday afternoon.

    Last night I stay downtown and went up to the rooftop deck where I saw the space needle and the bay.