• Category Archives Uncategorized
  • Knee Meniscus Rehabilitation with Erin Boynton & Eric Wong (Coach E) & Precision Movement (Avoid the Knife Series)

    Erin Boynton, you may know is a terrific tennis player, top ranked Canadian in her age division and getting better every year). She’s also an orthopedic surgeon who has worked with the WTA at the Rogers Cup tournament in Toronto, the Blue Jays baseball team and more. She’s a friend (and occasionally a foe on the court!) of mine. I have always found her advice to be helpful and reassuring. This is not a paid post.

    Dr. Boynton and Eric Wong have combined to create a knee rehabilitation program which senior tennis players (among others) could find useful in lieu of surgery or when rehabbing from surgery.

    To read more about this program, click here.

    AVOID THE KNIFE: Meniscus Program

    The AVOID THE KNIFE Meniscus Program is specifically designed for those with a recent or past meniscus tear who:

    • Are looking to avoid surgery
    • Require surgery and want to optimize their outcome
    • Have had surgery and want to ensure return to full function

    Please note that although I am an advocate of the work of Dr. Boynton and Coach E (this is not a paid post) I have no medical background. Please consult your medical team before beginning any new exercise program.

  • Fort Lauderdale ITF Grade 1/USTA Cat II Sunday: The End

    Writing from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

    The last day of the Fort Lauderdale tournament was played under sunny skies. It was very windy, at least by the time I played singles at 10:30. I beat Wendy McColskey 63 62. It was a tough match, with lots of running, and so very windy…I’d swing at a ball only for it to move several feet as I was swinging forward…and of course that happened to Wendy as well. Bunnie Jackson beat Kathy Foulk to place third.

    In the 55s, Jenny Klitch played a perfect match to beat Shelly Works 61 60 in about an hour, which is not easy to do. Shelly said Jenny was great at turning defense into offense nearly perfectly. Yvette Kruger placed third when Simone Vasconcellas didn’t play the 3/4 playoff due to injury.

    Wendy McColskey, playing with her sister Dale won the 65 doubles 26 64 64 over Cindy LePrevost/Betsy Savitt. Tina Karwasky/Jan Kirkland-Cochran finished third.

    The 55 doubles took place between Rainy Miller/Shelly Works and Anne Frautschi/Susanne Zuniga. Frautschi/Zuniga, who upset the #1 seeds in the first round went up 5/0 in the doubles final….only to lose the next 10 games! Then they rallied to tie the set at 3-3 and 4-4 before Miller/Works closed out the match 75 64. They had a lot of long and varied points…it wasn’t easy to win a point out there. I saw Works miss one ball into the net…she must have been really frustrated when she yelled “fiddlesticks”, a Shelly Works epithet if there ever was one. Mariana Hollman/Stacey Williams edged Susan Boyer/Susan Love 64 in the third; Susan Love’s legs finally gave out after an awful lot of matches in the past 3 days.

    Betty Wachob/Sue Kimball won the 75 doubles beating tournament director Margy Edmunds/Kay Britt in the final.

    Kris McDonald, Hollman/Williams, Miller/Works, McColskey/Nichols, Clay/Love, Boyer/Love

    There are probably still matches going on in the consolation. As always, for complete results click here to reach the tournament website.

  • Palm Beach Gardens ITF Grade 1/USTA Super Cat II, Day 2, Wednesday

    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

    On another sunny, beautiful, breezy Florida day, there was lots of good tennis at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center.

    I warmed up early and played at 10:30 against Mary Colonna from Michigan, our first meeting in 30 years. I won, and play Terri Thomson, the 4th seed, who ended Grace Hagerty’s run to the quarters 62 64, hitting deep, and mixing in angles and drop shots. Wendy McColskey blanked Suzanne Siegler and Erin Boynton beat Terri Thyssen 64 61.

    There are a lot of Canadians here including Irwin Tobias, Rudy & MJ Pachl (who are USA citizens too) and Erin Boynton. See photos below of Terri Thomson, Erin Boynton & Thomson; Rudy Pachl and Irwin Tobias; Kathy Foulk and Frances O’Sullivan, Thomson, Grace Hagerty

    In the 50s, #3 seed Danielle Esswein fell to Laurie Capra in straight sets. Other winners were Jill Sickle and Julie Dybenthal. The match of the day though was that between Susan Love and top seeded Jenny Klitch. I saw most of the second set; they were playing amazing points and Susan seemed to have to hit a line to win a point. Klitch won 64 62, displaying her great movement and court position while Love whacked her forehand and hit some nice volleys.

    In the 70s, Molly Hahn edged Rosie Fortna and the three remaining seeds advanced, including Brenda Carter who beat Carol Clay 64 64.

    The 40s got started and the top seeds advanced with ease.

    The doubles so far is going according to form in all divisions.

    Tomorrow are the semis in the 50, 60 & 70 singles and quarters in the 40s & 50s. 30 singles round robin singles play begins.

    Hopefully the weather holds; there’s thunder, lightning and rain at 9:15pm!

    Click here to see all results.

  • 2020 Family Schedule

    Updates will be made when tournaments are added by the USTA to its tennislink site.

    2020 USTA Category I & 2 Family National Championships

    Father/Son Open 11/30-12/6La Jolla Beach & Tennis ClubLa Jolla, CASuspended
    April 3-5
    Cherry Hill H & R Club
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Father/Son Senior,Super Senior, 80+ TBASuspended
    April 3-5
    Cherry Hill H & R Club
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Mother/Daughter: Open, Senior, Super Senior New Dates
    Dates August 14-16
    Claremont Mudd Scripps College
    Claremont, CA
    December 9-15
    Club Green Meadows
    Vancouver, WA
    Father Daughter: Open, Senior, Super Senior, 80+CANCELLED for 2020
    June 5-7
    Barnes Tennis Center San Diego, CA
    Dates TBA
    So. Barrington TC
    So. Barrington, IL

    Mother/Son Open & 60+CANCELLED for 2020June 5-7
    Barnes Tennis Center San Diego, CA
    Dates TBA
    So. Barrington TC
    So. Barrington, IL

    Mother Son 70+CANCELLED for 2020June 5-7
    Barnes Tennis Center San Diego, CA
    Husband/Wife OpenApril 29-May 3
    Old Providence RC, Charlotte, NC
    Dates: Sept 11-14
    Peachtree City TC
    Peachtree City, GA
    Oct. 8-Nov. 1
    The J Tennis Center
    Denver, CO
    Husband/Wife Combined Age 100/120/140Cancelled for 2020Dates: Sept 11-14
    Peachtree City TC
    Peachtree City, GA
    Oct. 8-Nov. 1
    The J Tennis Center
    Denver, CO
    March 8-13Mission Hills CCRancho Mirage, CA
    Grandfather/Grandson11/30-12/6La Jolla Beach & Tennis ClubLa Jolla, CACancelled
    Same Gender Couples Doubles

  • Whitewater Preserve, Whitewater, CA

    Palm Desert, CA

    Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the USA, is traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season, where there are many big sales. It’s so named because it’s the day that retail operators start to turn a profit for the year.

    My cousins and I, instead of shopping went for a hike to Whitewater Preserve, about a 30-40 minute drive from Palm Desert. It was a chilly morning in the Desert, but in the 50s, so I wore shorts and a down jacket. I didn’t realize that Whitewater was at elevation. It was 42 degrees (about 4 degrees Celsius) when we exited the car…and starting to rain. My rain jacket was in my car…40 minutes away. Three of the group turned back to go hiking instead in Palm Springs. I didn’t which was both good and bad.

    The first hint of weather trouble was actually on the way out when we saw a big rainbow over the windmills. Rainbows always mean there’s rain somewhere.

    The good was that the Whitewater Preserve is beautiful, with streams abounding, snow covered mountains in the distance (after the Thanksgiving Day rain, which turned to snow in the mountains). Once we got going it wasn’t too bad, especially when the rain stopped and the sun came out. However, on the way back it began to hail! There weren’t too many people around though by the time we returned it was much busier.

    There was one stream that was a little trickier than others to cross…my cousin was trying to help with a piece of wood but then I spied a better area to cross (but it was a good thing I had waterproof shoes on.

    In the afternoon my dad and I considered hitting tennis balls, but you can see it was pretty wet…but the snow capped mountains were a beautiful silver lining.

    This is probably the last long blog for a bit.

    Happy holidays everyone!

  • Hiking to the Mirador of the Base of the Torres del Paine

    Santiago Airport, Chile

    Today and tomorrow will be marathon travel days: two different 2+hour drives to get to the airport in Punta Arenas, a two hour wait for a three hour flight, followed by five hours in Santiago (and I can’t check my bags till 3 hours before the flight…😡…then three flights home followed by a three hour drive to visit my parents for Thanksgiving! However, the trip was worth it.

    Yesterday we did the hike to the base of the Torres del Paine, about a 16 mile hike (I had over 40,000 steps by day’s end). We gained about 4000 feet overall in elevation even though our peak was around 700-800 meters…we did a lot of up and down.

    Yesterday was the first day we had rain in Torres del Paine, which is amazing but unfortunate, as the view at the top, instead of the towers was of…clouds, though we could see the unnamed lagoon at the top.

    We started early, 7:30am. I wore rain pants over shorts and a rain jacket (over a t-shirt and long sleeved shirt). It wasn’t freezing, but wasn’t warm either. Our fearless leader Claudio wore shorts, no rain pants and a rain jacket…he’s a native Patagonian and used to the weather.

    The walk up, though lacking clear views, had its beauty. We walked through a beautiful forest for quite a while, across too many small streams to count, over several small wooden bridges, some with rails…some without. The moss covered tree trunks were so beautiful. After exiting the forest we walked down windy point, which luckily for us wasn’t really windy. Then the last 8/10 of a mile was rock climbing basically…..not the kind where you need handholds, more like doing step ups of various heights and stability. I didn’t mind the ascent. At the top we added a layer or two of clothing and had lunch by the aqua colored lagoon. The towers were covered with clouds but the weather kept a lot of people away and it was still beautiful. It was snowing very lightly at the top…brrr!

    It was amazing how many people we encountered hiking in jeans, hiking in sneakers, hiking without any rain protection…(that was not us). I can’t imagine they’d woke up today feeling very good and their jeans and sneakers were pretty much trashed, mud covered up to the knees, and feet soaked and dirty.

    So…after the ascent there was the descent…through that rock forest. I was pretty slow at that part of the walk. We all got down and then it was up and down again. We stopped halfway down at a refugio, a hostel with flush toilets. :-).

    The rain had pretty much stopped by then and the views opened up some, though at that point the towers weren’t visible. We made it down around 5:30 pm, tired but happy to have survived and seen another beautiful area.

    Of course, by the time we were down the towers were somewhat visible again and this morning it was sunny again (but really cold).

    Things I learned:

    1: Claudio Silva is a superb guide for anything Patagonia. Energetic, speaks English and Spanish well, patient, extremely knowledgeable and always upbeat. Loves what he does and loves where he lives.

    2: You can go to Patagonia and just stay at a hotel and walk up to the base of the Torres del Paine, and take the boat ride to Grey lake to see the glaciers, but you won’t learn as much as if you use an experienced guide and you won’t see the less populated areas we saw

    3: The standard domes at Ecocamp…great beds, but it’s really cold in the mornings! Really good dinners too.

    4: This was an REI Adventure trip. It was a good experience, my first but Claudio made it wonderful.

    5: Don’t wait to do this, you can take buses around the park and see beautiful places, but the hike to the base of the Torres is not super easy. And it’s 16 miles…

    6: Patagonia is more beautiful than I expected.

    7: I am not a bird person.

  • Patagonia Friday

    Patagonia Chile

    On day 1 we had to skip kayaking after the glacier because of wind. We got into all the gear, wetsuit, booties, etc and had a briefing but it was really windy and the current was fast. The briefing included how to get back in the kayak after it tipped over. 😳

    So we rescheduled and went for a beautiful hike by a lake instead. It was super windy up top but not raining. The views were gorgeous.

    Yesterday we went on a longer hike, in an isolated area of Torres del Paine, where wild horses roam and there were no people. We started near Lagos Azulejo and had lunch at Lake Stoke. We saw one wild horse, meadows of dandelions, wild mushrooms, birds, streams and a waterfall. It was gorgeous.

  • 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.

  • 2020 Men’s Category II Schedule (Partial)

    Note that this is not a complete schedule.

    USTA will publish the 2020 Category II schedule here.

    DateTournamentCategory (Super Category II or Category II)SurfaceITF Grade
    Jan. 18-26Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA
    Super Cat IIHardGrade 1
    Jan. 21-27West Coast Super Seniors Grand Prix, Sanchez-Casal Academy, Naples, Florida Super Cat II

    Grade 1
    Feb 24-March 1Raymond James, St Petersburg CC, St. Petersburg, FL Super Cat II
    ClayGrade 1
    PostponedBermuda Cat II, Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Warwick, MBDesignated Open sectionalClay None
    November 18-22 NOTE NEW DATESBocage Racquet Club, Baton Rouge, LASuper Cat IIClay
    PostponedSouthern Men's Clay Open West
    Jackson, MS
    Cat II (Men's divisions only)Clay
    Cancelled (possibly postponed, check website for updates)Atlanta Sr. Invitational
    Atlanta, GA
    Super Cat II ClayGrade 1
    Postponed to 2021Berkeley Tennis Club
    Berkeley, CA
    Cat IIHardGrade 1
    TBAWestwood Sr Championships Austin, TX Super Cat II
    Hard <65
    Clay >65
    Grade 1
    Postponed to 2021 Midwest Clay
    Carmel Racquet Club
    Carmel, IN
    Super Cat IIClayGrade 1
    TBA Lynchburg City Open
    Oakwood Country Club
    Lynchburg, VA
    Cat IIClayNone
    TBAMarin Seniors, Mill Valley Tennis Club, Mill Valley, CASuper Cat IIHardGrade 1
    Postponed to 2021 Jack Dorsey
    Wheeling Oglebay TC
    Wheeling W. VA
    Super Category II ClayGrade 1
    TBASenior Slam, Guilford, CTHard
    TBA Ed Rhawn, LBC
    Louisville, KY
    July 7-12Aston Park TC
    Asheville, NC
    Designated Open SectionalClay
    July 27-Aug 2 CANCELLED
    Washington State O & Srs
    Seattle TC, Seattle, WA
    August 18-23CANCELLED
    El Paso Tennis Club
    El Paso, TX
    Designated Open Sectional
    September 13-20 Pacific SW Champs.
    Palisades TC
    Newport Beach, CA
    Designated Open SectionalHard
    October 22-25 Texas Super Seniors
    McFarlin Tennis Center
    San Antonio, TX
    Designated Open SectionalHard
    November 2-6Las Vegas Senior Open, Darling TC, Las Vegas, NVDesignated Open SectionalHard
    November 2-8 Top Gun Tennis Chmpshps Orange County CADesignated Open SectionalHard
    November 30 to Dec 6 Longboat Key TC Longboat Key, FLDesignated Open SectionalClay
    December 9-13 Phoenix Fiesta Senior
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Designated Open SectionalHard

  • 2020 USTA Men’s Category I National Schedule

    Note that this is incomplete and until links are added is tentative. Dates taken from USTA.com. Check tennislink for up to date information. I will be adding links in the next few weeks.

    Official schedule published on USTA.com

    2020 USTA Men's Category I Natonal Champioships

    Age DivisionClayHardIndoorGrass
    30Dec. 4-9
    Lauderdale Tennis Club
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Sept. 11-13
    Plaza Tennis Center
    Kansas City, MO
    Lexington Tennis Club,
    Lexington, KY
    35Nov. 6-10
    Midtown Athletic Club
    Weston, FL
    Sept. 3-5
    Surprise Tennis Center, Surprise, AZ
    Main Pines R & Fitness Club
    Brunswick, ME
    40Oct. 23-28
    Lauderdale TC
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
    La Jolla, CA
    July 9-13
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness
    Lakewood, CO
    45Oct. 23-28
    Lauderdale TC
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Nov. 11-16
    Nov. 11-16
    Westlake Tennis & Swim Club
    Westlake Village, CA
    July 9-13
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness
    Lakewood, CO
    50Oct 4-11
    Bath & Racquet Club
    Sarasota, FL
    Cancelled for 2020

    Santa Barbara TC
    Santa Barbara, CA

    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness Club
    Lakewood, CO
    55Oct 3-9
    The Landing Club
    Savannah, GA
    Nov. 6-12
    Peachtree City Tennis Center
    Peachtree City, GA
    Dates TBA
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness Club
    Lakewood, CO
    Sept. 24-27
    Agawam Hunt Club
    Rumford, RI
    60Oct 25-31
    New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club
    New Orleans, LA
    Dec 12-22
    Racquet Club of Irvine, Irvine, CA
    CancelledSept. 24-27
    Agawam Hunt Club
    Rumford, RI
    65Oct 25-31
    New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club
    New Orleans, LA
    Dec 12-22
    Racquet Club of Irvine, Irvine, CA
    Aug. 10-15 Lifetime Fitness Eden Prarie, MNSept. 1-7
    Seabright Lawn Tennis Club
    Rumson, NJ
    70Oct. 11-18
    Pinehurst Tennis Club
    Pinehurst, NC
    Dec 12-22
    Racquet Club of Irvine, Irvine, CA
    Nov. 9-14
    Downtown Club at the Met
    Houston, TX
    75Oct 19-24
    Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club
    Virginia Beach, VA
    CancelledNov. 9-14
    Downtown Club at the Met
    Houston, TX
    80Oct 19-24
    Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness, Lakewood, CO
    85Oct. 11-18
    Pinehurst Tennis Club
    Pinehurst, NC
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness, Lakewood, CO
    90Oct. 11-18
    Pinehurst Tennis Club
    Pinehurst, NC
    Meadow Creek Tennis & Fitness, Lakewood, CO

  • 2020 USTA Category I & II Schedules

    Check seniortennisblog.com for updates…but most tournaments have been cancelled; all category II are now sectional events; ITF has cancelled all but Grade 2, 3, 4 for 2020 but will resume play August 31st. USTA will not begin National play before September.

    From carolynnichols.com and seniortennisblog.com:

    Women’s Category I

    Women’s Category II (Partial)

    Men’s Category I

    Men’s Category II (Partial)

    Family Category I

    Mixed Category I

    Continue reading  Post ID 20594

  • USA Goes 5/0 On Day 2 of ITF Young Seniors World Championships

    West Palm Beach, FL

    Scores are at the end of the post.

    The USA women’s 35 overcame a 0/1 deficit vs Paraguay to win their Round Robin. They have a day off Tuesday.

    The Women’s 40s trounced So Africa to win their round robin group and advance.

    The women’s 45 received a default from Brazil. They have today off and now play Canada in the QF (instead of having a bye, to avoid 3 consecutive days off).

    The men’s 35 swept India with the loss of only 2 games! They play #7 seed Canada today for a spot in the quarters. Photo below of Matt Hane, courtesy of cameraworksusa.

    The men’s 40s advanced 3/0 over Costa Rica to win their round robin.

    The men’s 45 had a bye Monday and play today to try and finish 2nd in their group.

    Draws:ITF Young Seniors, Miami

  • Hungarian Doubles Champion; Mixed Final Friday: New Balls Please

    Keszthely, Balaton Lake, Hungary

    I played the mixed doubles semis and our first and last women’s doubles match today.

    Our mixed was scheduled yesterday for “not before 2 pm” but this morning it was changed to “not before 12;30 pm”. Good thing my mixed partner looked again at the time. Today there were no practice courts.

    We got on a bit early and played the #1 seeds who were better than they looked. Before we took the court I asked the referee if he’d given our opponents balls. He said yes. Then I asked if he’d given them NEW balls and he said no. So I asked for new balls. After a big sigh and and eye roll I got them. (See the photo…the balls at the top were the ones we were supposed to use for our match; the ones below were the new ones after we played nearly two hours with them. In other words, they not only expected us to play with used balls, they expected us to play with really bad used balls!)

    Our opponents formed a yin/yang team, the guy was a runner and steady, and pretty much played back the whole match, while the woman whacked her forehand and overheads and was not a runner. We lost the first set 62, made some adjustments, went up 42 and won the deciding point to go up 52 (we are playing no-ad in doubles). We circled the correct mark and our opponents came across to our side (allowed in ITF tournaments), found another mark (also out), complained to the referee…who looked at the second mark, said he wasn’t sure if it was in our out (to be clear, the referee was nowhere near the court during the point in question, so did not even know which mark was the correct one). The referee then told us we had to replay the point! After more argument, we did and lost the point and therefore the game and then lost two more games to go down 54. However, we ended up winning the set 75 and the tiebreak 10-3. We play another unseeded team in the final, my doubles partner Eva and her partner.

    We played doubles about an hour later. The time was a TBA time, after suitable rest. “Suitable rest” turned out to be 10 minutes after my partner and one of our opponents finished their mixed match. We won the match 60 64. We were down 43 but played a good last three games. We beat Sylvia Singer and Encarnita Gomiz Ruiz. My partner was almost mummified…she had both quads wrapped, her back wrapped and both knees. So I played singles and covered the lobs and she did a good job whacking her forehand and hit some nice volleys too. We got a default from the third team in the round robin, so are Hungarian Champions.

    After the tennis, I biked to the train station and bought my ticket back to Budapest for tomorrow. The ticket seller didn’t speak English, but I managed to convey the information than I needed the train times and to buy a ticket for tomorrow, and bought the ticket.

    We play not before 1:30 tomorrow afternoon, and then I will bolt for Budapest right afterwards.

    Draws are here.

  • 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.

  • Train to/for Success in Hungary

    Keszthely (pronounced “Kes Kay”) Lake Balaton, Hungary

    Yesterday was a pretty long and tiring day…travel can be stressful in new places and Hungary is definitely a new country with a confusing and difficult language, at least for me. It’s not as foreign as China, but the communication is nearly as difficult. Thank goodness for Google translate!

    The train trip from Budapest was nonstop, but nearly three hours, and with outside temps in the mid-90s, it was a warm trip as there was no AC on the train (I know, first world problems..and I did have an open window). The owner of the apartment I rented picked me up. (I recommend the Dora Holiday house in Keszthely.) The apartment is is great and there’s Eurosport so I can watch some of the US Open, and a bicycle to get around…perfect!

    The couple staying in the upstairs apartment are from Florida and the husband, Janos, is playing in the tournament and speaks Hungarian. He’s a nice lefty player, and was nice enough to warm me up today for my match, which as it so happened, was against a lefty. We are going to play mixed here.

    Anyway, yesterday I set out to 1: find the Lidl before it closed at 5pm and 2: find a racquet stringer, as my strings were starting to look like Susan Wright’s strings did in Portugal…ie one racquet with broken strings and another an hour away from breaking (though I had three racquets with me, not two). I succeeded in finding the Lidl, though I’m not exactly sure how I got there. I biked by the Festetics Castle on the way to Lidl and down the market street (a pedestrian street lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and a copious amount of ice cream vendors) on the way back. The market street ended at the big church, “Our Lady of Hungary Church” set in a large plaza. So I pretty much hit the highlights of Keszthely in one bike ride, other than Lake Balaton. .

    I next went in search of a racquet stringer. I went to the courts nearest my apartment, where I could see the ITF Seniors and Tennis Europe signs going up. But no one there really spoke English, though I did learn that the tournament office was in a hotel, not at either tennis venue. He said the Krystal hotel and pointed. I found the hotel, but somehow went to the back of the hotel, tried a door and it was closed, and the hotel from that side appeared to be closed. I never looked on the other side, which had a patio and was clearly open. I ran into a couple of Aussies, one of whom had been there before, and he led us to where the tournament used to be. So I did see the lake (it’s the largest one in Central Europe, about 50 miles long, and fairly shallow, so it warms up nicely in July and August). Finally I looked again at the fact sheet, entered the hotel name into the maps app, and we walked in a big circle to, you guessed it, the Kristal hotel, this time to the front side. We checked in (the tournament is giving each player a nice vest…nice for the men as they are not even unisex in size and the men’s small was huge, even on me…would be nice if they had women’s sizes too as we pay the same entry fee). I was told to go to the venue I first saw on Monday (venue #1) to get my racquet strung. And we also found out information about practice courts, and where the Fonix courts were (venue #1) so it wasn’t a wasted trip.

    I warmed up today with Janos at venue #2, and then biked to venue #1, where I was to play, to try and get a racquet strung. At venue #1 I was told to go to venue #2. I went back to the hotel, and the referee again told me to go to venue #1…where after more confusion (apparently the racquet stringer was not answering), someone came to pick up my racquet and it was done by the time I finished my match. Stringing was 2000 HUF or about $7. As confusing as Hungarian is to English speakers, English must be equally confusing to Hungarians.

    My match was at not before 11:45, but since the previous match was scratched, we were set to go on a bit early…..then it poured for about 20-30 minutes. And 15 minutes after it stopped raining we were playing! Amazing. I played Eva Bogar Szabo, who is a nice player, with a good attacking lefty forehand that was very effective on short balls (such as my second serve). She won the first game and I won the rest of them, but we had some deuce games and good points. The training in Spain was helpful. The other two 60s players had an occasionally dramatic match next to us, Sylvia Singer from Austria and Maria Faria from Venezuela. So our draw is small but quite international. I play Singer tomorrow not before 1:30.

    After our match, we stayed for a while, and I offered to buy Eva a drink but ended up with Eva and her husband buying me a drink (cola zero of course) and strudel. The cherry strudel was good, not quite as sweet or rich as strudels in the USA.

    Today I hit the Spar market. Judging by the aisles, Hungarians like ketchup and also like sweets; the fruit flavored soft drinks were in the same aisle as the hard liquor and wines across from them.

    The weather has really changed, from the 90s the past three days to low 70s tomorrow for a high and very windy. Fall is in the air.

    And that’s a wrap on Day 1 of the Hungarian Seniors…back to watching Schwartzman hit winners against Zverev (7-5 in forehand winners at the moment, midway through the second set).

    Draws are here.

  • Budapest: Bridges, Night Lights, & 25,000 Steps

    On a train to Keszthely, Balaton, Hungary

    Photos may not be loading, will try again tonight.

    I arrived on Friday night from Mallorca (via Munich) to Budapest, and from my room (I was staying on the Pest side), could see the beautiful night lights over the bridges, particularly over the Szechenyi Chain Bridge but also over the Margaret, Elizabeth and Liberty Bridges. Beyond the bridges I could see the Buda Palace and Matthias Church. Last night I walked over the Chain bridge to see the lighted Parliament buildings from the Buda side.

    Yesterday I walked and walked and walked…25,000 steps, nearly 40 flights of stairs, about 11 miles. I walked over the Chain Bridge towards the old Palace (now a history museum…closed…I did try to go there, and an art museum), skipped the funicular and took the stairs;, then walked to the Matthias Church and tower, old town Buda and the Buda Tower. It was in the 90s by midday.

    The Matthias Church is lovely, painted inside on the ceilings and walls and yet gothic in design of the nave and pillars. I also took the tower tour which involves over 200 steps (nothing to anyone who has climbed the Ulm cathedral, though I was warned there was no elevator (😏@Pat Purcell). The views from the top of the Danube and buildings on the Pest side were good though the light was flat at midday.

    I was ready for lunch by then and air conditioning so I tried some fish soup, which despite the red color, from paprika I assume, was pretty bland, but the bread was good and I was hungry. And the air conditioning was appreciated!

    I finished off my tour of old town, walked by the Buda tower and around the castle/palace area, then headed back to the hotel before further exploring the Pest side.

    I ended up just walking around a shopping area, mostly pedestrian streets (there were an inordinate number of Thai massage parlors which were 30 euros an hour for a massage). I wandered down towards the Opera House (totally encased in fabric as it’s being renovated, at least on the exterior) and down the elegant Andrassy Avenue. This street is like the central street in many great cities, wide, lined with trees and nice stores, though in Budapest it also has theaters, so is a mix. It leads to Hero’s square, which I saw in the distance but didn’t quite reach.

    I was very tempted to buy what seemed to be a local specialty, a chimney cake, and fill it with ice cream. I had a similar confection in Prague last year which was really good. But it took three of us to eat about 75% of and I was alone so I contented myself with taking photos.

    I also wandered into a couple of grocery stores, because what trip in a foreign country would be complete without that. They seemed to have a huge section for chips and drinks, a lot of alcohol, a lot of fresh breads and rolls, and small sections for cereals. It wasn’t a huge store though. The apple selection was pretty small, seasonal fruits and vegetables were abundant, especially tomatoes.

    I took the subway back to the hotel, buying a ticket from the machine just above the subway station was quick, easy and inexpensive. After a quick bite to eat, I walked back to the Chain Bridge for one more look at the city at night.

    Today I am on a train to Keszthely, which is not pronounced anything like it’s spelled (nothing in Hungarian is pronounced anything like it would be in English or vice versa). I typed the city and time of departure I was looking for into my phone which was good since the ticket agent didn’t speak English, and got my train ticket (2 hours, 45 minutes, not a fast train as the drive by car was going to be about 2 hours), just under $12).

    I play not before 11:45 tomorrow against a good Hungarian player, definitely the second best (I hope second best!) player in the draw, so I have to hit the ground running (literally).

    Next update will be from Keszthely, in the Balaton area of Hungary. It’s on a lake, and has a castle, so should be interesting.

  • Getting Lost in Holy Toledo

    Madrid, Spain, Sunday Morning, August 25th

    I think there must be a lot of people with hangovers in Madrid today judging by the noise that was still emanating from the street at 4am. We are near the Puerta del Sol plaza and even at the relatively early hour of 8:30pm it was wild, which protestors (animal rights or the environment I think or both) chanting, street artists performing, music blasting.. I had to go to get a new SIM card for my phone (out of a vending machine basically…easy and inexpensive and lots of data) and had to dodge people right and left. My room is just above a street a block from the plaza and all night long there was music, singing, etc. It stopped I think around 5am.

    We took the fast train to Toledo from the Atocha station in Madrid, walking distance from our apartment. It took about 30 minutes but one needs to arrive a little earlier as there’s security to go through. And liquids (open ones anyway, such as a cup of coffee or tea) aren’t allowed through. Bottles of water are though. Tracey and Susan had their tea and coffee confiscated. The Toledo train station was very pretty inside and out.

    But Toledo…it really is Holy Toledo, filled with churches and a monastery. It’s also a world heritage site. The old town is partially walled, dominated by the church, the Alcazar (palace, now a museum) and monastery. There are lots of other churches sprinkled throughout the city. Toledo has narrow, cobblestones streets lined with plastered and stone buildings with shuttered windows and barrel tiled roofs. Even in the midday sun, many of the streets are so narrow that they were shady and cool.

    We visited the magnificent Gothic cathedral, again built, as many in Spain seem to be, over the site of a mosque. The Toledo Cathedral has a beautiful choir with carved seats and two organs, one much more ornately decorated than the other. The high alter was even more beautiful I think than the Seville Cathedral, which I didn’t think possible and also tells the story of Christ from the birth to the crucification. There’s also a painting gallery which has 19 Goya paintings, like a mini Prado. We spent over an hour looking around.

    The painting on the bottom is of the 7 deadly sins. Can you pick them out?

    We also went into the Alcazar, which is now a military museum. It was interesting but not a highlight of Toledo. It’s built over the remains of the Roman fort that was there and part of the cistern (water system) is still visible inside, and the views were good.

    After lunch we went to the Goya museum and house. The house was typical of the times with an interior courtyard surrounded by rooms on the ground and first floors and of course there were more Goya paintings there.

    The painting is of Goya’s family.

    We did a bit of souvenir shopping…Toledo is famous for its metal works, swords, knives and leather. So now I have a letter opener that looks like a sword..not made of silver though.

    After the Goya visit I went one way and Tracey, Susan and Tim went another. One thing the guidebooks said was to wander the streets of the old town and get lost…I didn’t mean to get lost but at one point I walked down a narrow street and ended up in at a dead end…I did get lost.

    I left the old city after that, walked to the train station to get a taxi to take me around to a viewing point I was searching for. I was going to walk there but ran out of time for that. The taxi driver took me to the Mirador del Valle and various other spots to see the city from afar which was great.

    We all met up at the train station and returned to Madrid. Today we’ll wander around the city on our last day here.

    Robin left yesterday at 3:30am and just got home around 8:30 am Madrid time to California. So our party of six is now scattered to three continents!

  • Plaza Espana, Santa Cruz Barrio & Sevilla Fan Club

    On the AVE train to Madrid..

    August 22, 2019

    I wrote this blog yesterday…and then the internet ate it so we’ll never know exactly what I said then…today we are on the fast train to Madrid, stop three on our Spanish tour. Jenny Cerff left yesterday for South Africa so Robin, Susan & Tim and Tracey are with me on the next adventure.

    We started yesterday on the Plaza de Espana, which was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It’s a combination of the Renaissance Revival and Neo Mudéjar styles of Spanish architecture. Mudéjar is the style of the Real Alcázar. We approached it from the Parque de Maria-Luisa and walked by some beautiful buildings of the University of Seville including the science building. There was a lot going on…there’s a small waterway built going around 80% of the plaza which is arranged in an oblong semi-circle. There’s a huge fountain there where we took some photos and towers on each end (we tried to find a way to climb up one but it was closed to us…most of the edifice is used as government offices including immigration. There were singers and flamenco dancers and scores of people selling fans and the clickers flamenco dancers use. Tracey and I decided to buy fans for the myriad of photos we planned to take. Gayle Prejean from Dallas, another tennis player, joined us for this trip. The fans were a hit and the photos were fun.

    After leaving Plaza de Espana we headed back to the old town. Robin and I walked to the store for lunch and others took naps. Susan and I then headed out to go shopping. We ran into Gayle and headed off for the shopping area, where we meandered for a while and I shopped for eye glass frames. Susan found a cute flamenco apron too.

    After shopping we set off for the Santa Cruz Barrio which is home to the Jewish Quarter. We wandered through the narrow streets, most only one car width wide and some which were only for bikes and pedestrians. The buildings were old, with shutters on the windows and some with peeling paint. The streets were mostly of cobblestone.

    We saw this “Taste of America” Store on our way back. Apparently it’s from the 1960s judging by what it was selling! (We didn’t go in).

    We finally met up around 8:15 for dinner with everyone…and we were of course the only ones in the restaurant so early! It was a very fun visit to Seville and I highly recommend visiting it. There’s a lot to see and the prices are very reasonable.

  • Guell Park, Casa Mila, & Susan Ate Paella: Barcelona Day 2

    Barcelona, Spain

    Monday August 19, 2019

    It was a long and fun day in Barcelona today. We started early, leaving at 7am for Park Guell. We took the Metro, which stops at the bottom of the park. We took escalators and stairs up. Robin Harris hasn’t decided yet whether the tennis the last two weeks, or the sight seeing is more physically difficult…all I can say is that yesterday she cramped after sight seeing…..I took around 25000 steps, over 10 miles and climbed 45 flights of stairs today. It was a really nice day too, not so hot and humid as yesterday.

    Park Guell was originally intended to be an exclusive suburban area for families and Guell commissioned Gaudi to design the estates in 1900…the location eventually proved untenable for families (too far out of town), and Guell closed the area 14 years later but not before Gaudi designed aqueducts, walking paths, and put his mark on the property, which is now owned by the city and is World Heritage site. We enjoyed seeing the lizard, the entrance and porter’s lodges and the undulating bench of the Nature Square and of course all the mosaics. The views were good too, of Barcelona. We also climbed up to the crosses after we left the Monumental Zone of the park (the only area requiring a ticket for entry).

    After we left the park area, we went to shop…Uniqlo, Decathalon and Uno de 50. Tim, Susan’s husband, went to visit the Gothic Quarter. We met up at 2 to go down towards the water for lunch via the Metro again (the T-10 card, good for 10 rides, and which can be used for multiple people is a bargain at 10,20 Euros). We found the recommended place in a quiet square off the main drag and had a Spanish lunch…Seafood Paella for Susan, Tim and Tracey, Hake for Robin, veggies for Jenny and I had good octopus and sardines (small plates and shared). We all had some Patatas Bravas, which were excellent (chunks of fried potatoes, served there with the sauce on the side). Susan even tried a bite of the octopus, and had some paella. About half way through, I told her that she was eating squid with the rice (along with shrimp). She was quite surprised (I think she thought it was chicken). The sardines aren’t like the ones in the USA, they are small, whole fish, grilled (and very tasty).

    In the evening we went to Casa Mila, which was designed as an apartment house by Gaudi for the Mila family who occupied one entire floor. It was so interesting…modern with lots of light and the details…the molding around the doors and windows, and the roof where the chimneys are disguised and become works of art were fantastic. The view from the roof was great too.

    We are off Tuesday to Sevilla where more fun awaits.

    Sagrada Familia & Gothic Quarter