I’ve been practicing in Fort Lauderdale since Houston. It’s been warm and muggy mostly…and right now is raining like crazy (it’s ok because it’s nighttime!). I played Monday with Vesna McKenna who is on the Young Cup team (40+). They are playing at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Today I played with Jenny Klitch who is on the Margaret Court Cup team (45+), playing in Boca Raton at the Polo Club. Susan Wright arrives tomorrow into Fort Lauderdale. I’m picking her up, we are going to practice. On Friday we will drive up to Palm Beach Gardens (PBG) to drop off our things then meet up with Diane Barker and her husband Jack Barker at Ballenisles Country Club where our team event will be held. Tina Karwasky will join us Friday night (she is in Alabama cleaning up in the 60s). The opening ceremonies are on Sunday in Boca (at 3pm) and PBG (at 4pm).
It’s pretty exciting to be the home team…no jet lag, no culture shock, and fans rooting for the home team!
Meet the team:
Diane Barker, Daniel Island, SC. Diane is a veteran of I believe sixteen Cup teams (this being the 16th). She has won six ITF individual singles world championships and several doubles world titles. She is the defending world champion in 55 singles and has lost only one match in the past 2 1/2 years of play in the 55s division. She’s married to Jack, has three sons. She and her son Matthew Barker have won numerous national mother/son titles. She and Jack are heavily involved in Special Olympics. She’s a member of the Southern and South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fames.
Susan Wright, Grand Junction, Colorado. Susan, as Susan Mehmedbasich, was a junior tennis star. She won gold balls as a junior (national championships) and was always one of the top juniors in the USA. After a brief stint on the pro tour, she hung up her racquets for about 25 years, had two children and became very active in selling Mary Kay cosmetics (which she continues to this day). After moving to Colorado over a decade ago, she met her current husband, Tim, and got back into tennis. She has won three world doubles titles and several “gold slams” in doubles (winning the clay, grass, indoors and hard national championships in a single calendar year). She and her father Enver Mehmedbasich have won several gold balls, especially since moving into the “ultra senior” division where the father has to be 80. She just won the 55 Clay singles and doubles titles.
Tina Karwasky, Glendale, CA is the world champion in the 60+ division and has yet to lose a singles match in that age division. She’s also the current world champion in 55 and 60 doubles. Playing as Tina Watanabe, then Tina Mochizuki, she was a sold WTA tour player for over a decade. This is I believe her 22nd Cup team and she’s won 20 Cups out of those 22, perhaps the best record of anyone ever to play ITF World team events. She’s also won three world singles titles and multiple world doubles titles. She won the 55 Grass last year over Wright. She’s married to Bob Karwasky.
I am the #4 player and the playing captain. In addition to playing, I volunteer a lot for the USTA and am a member of the ITF Seniors Committee. Last year I had a very good year, winning five ITF Grade 1 Seniors titles in Germany, Austria and Czech Republic, the 55 Clay doubles with Susan and came a point from winning the 55 Hard before Susan turned on the afterburners and coasted to a three set win. My dad and I won the 80+ father/daughter Hard, and considering he was 88 1/2 at the time, that was the highlight of the year for me. I finished the year ranked #1 in the world (I played more ITF tournaments than did Susan or Diane).
Here’s a photo of the balls we’ll be using in the worlds. I’ve been practicing with them all week and they are very good balls. I like to be prepared!