Saturday I was in Houston playing a marathon clay court final…Sunday night I arrived in Turkey, Monday I was on court practicing and tomorrow I am scheduled to play my first round match! This is an ITF Masters 1000, same level as the USA clay and hard court nationals. There are a lot of Germans, though it’s an overall international field, with several nationalities in my draw including Austrian, German, USA and Spaniard.
I flew Saturday from Houston to Istanbul (about 12 hours), and the flight was delayed about 20 minutes…not a big deal except that I had only about 1.5 hours to change flights which involved going through passport control and domestic screening. I walked about two miles from the international to domestic terminal (no time to dawdle, but the airport was new from the last time I’d been there and it’s beautiful, modern and very clean). I made my flight to Antalya, which is about a 60 minute flight. My bags had to go through and x-ray machine in Antalya, then I exited baggage claim but didn’t see the person from Ali Bey who was to pick me up (apparently he was there with a sign, I just missed him). I walked to the other end of the airport, ending past the international terminal and found someone from the travel company to help after asking several people. Another hour’s ride and we were at Ali Bey Manavgat around 9:30 Sunday night.
I was able to get into my room pretty quickly and surprised that the restaurant was open all night now and I was able to make a salad for dinner, then organized and tried to sleep (jet lag..)
Today I was able to hit for over an hour with Lisa Prechtel, visited the trainer to loosen up my legs from the flight (not free here, but 25 euros for 20 minutes), and found the gym to do some exercises. The red clay is VERY different from the green…especially on a practice court which is usually softer and not maintained to the same standard. The balls felt heavy and the clay was thick and very slow. There are over 50 clay courts at the resort.
The weather today is beautiful upper 60s, sunny…but tomorrow…and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday there’s about an 80% chance of rain. This is still the off season here which is why the tournament is held this time of year.
The resort, Ali Bey Manavgat, is like a giant cruise ship I think…food available all day, and lots to do within the gates of the resort…from an aqua park to a gym to games to a beach with lots of chaise lounges and padel courts (no pickle ball though…not yet anyway).
I play tomorrow at 11:30…I scouted my opponent…