Off Day in La Baule

Today the Marble and Connolly Cups have an off day, before the knockout rounds begin. As usual it’s extremely windy so it’s nice to have a few hours out of the wind. Even at 7am there was a very strong wind and with temperatures in the 50s, it was cold, though it will be in the 70s this afternoon. Tina and I practiced at 7am because there are no courts available between 8 or so when the teams begin practice till about 4, when the courts start to open up.

There are more matches than courts so we’ve been starting some matches at 9:30 and playing as usual #2 singles, then #1 singles, then after a break doubles. Normally there’s no more than a 30 minute break and play is resumed on the same court but here the match is moved to a different court at a later time for doubles, since there are three teams which don’t start till about 11:30, after the first matches are finished with singles.

There’s a super farmer’s market here on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Susan Wright was out trying to find cabbage (choux) and spinach (epinards) for her favorite salad. I found a great watermelon and am going back for a second look! It’s also a good place to practice some French, since no one at the market speaks much English.

When I went back I took some photos…lots of seafood, and even escargot, lots of sausages, cheese, and beautiful produce…gorgeous tomatoes and delicious strawberries.

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I rented a bike for the two weeks and have been biking to the club and back every day, about 15 minutes each way, a nice way to warm up and cool down. Only the Dutch players have also rented bikes though. I’ve also biked to the big market, Carrefours where there’s more variety than the small Spar market in the square here.

Last night we had a picnic in the hotel lobby, the 50s, 55 and 60s team, or the majority of them. I also managed to successfully navigate the laundromat, which is right down the street. With so much wind all our warm ups and other clothing are caked with red clay by the end of the day! Even my ears were full of the “terre battu”.

Today I ran into Bill Woo who now lives in China, but who lived in San Diego for 10 years. He went to the Young Seniors in Turkey and enjoyed it so much he came back to watch the seniors. He’s a self-described tennis fanatic and a very nice guy…it’s nice to have fans in France!

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Tomorrow we play either Switzerland or Germany. I think they will split the singles and it will come down to the doubles. Great Britain will play Netherlands or France, a match that also may come down to the doubles. (Update: Switzerland beat Germany 2/1; it did go to the doubles. When I left Netherlands and France had just split the deciding doubles as well. Update; France completed the upset 2/1, winning the third set of the doubles 64.

In the Connolly Cup, USA plays Australia. That’s going to be a tough tie…if we finish early enough I’ll try and catch the end of it, but we don’t usually finish very early.

In the Bueno Cup, USA is playing its last round robin match today, and if they win, they have a bye tomorrow. Update: USA Bueno Cup team beat Germany 3/0. USA has a bye tomorrow.

The Men’s 55 have advanced to the quarter finals tomorrow and have a day off today; the men’s 50 and 60 play their last round robin matches today. They are playing at venues far away from here, especially the 50s and 60s, so I don’t have photos. However we do all get together tomorrow at the Gala Dinner so I’ll try and get at least some team photos then and upload them over the weekend.

Sherri, Tina, Wendy and I practiced on indoor clay today for a couple of hours. It was so nice to get out of the wind! We watched some of France/Netherlands and then I got going on my bike as the weather looked wet, and it was misting all the way home. France ended up winning 64 in the third, so they play Great Britain tomorrow. I think that tie will go down to the doubles.

Other USA results from Wednesday, late update:

USA Von Cramm Cup team beat South Africa 3/0 to advance to the knockout part of the Cup. Chris Bennett at #2 and Bill Ashley at #1 both won, Ashley in three sets; Tom Smith and Paul Wulf took the doubles point. They are in the playoff group 1-6 and as second seeds have a bye tomorrow.

USA Austria Cup, Men’s 55, Connolly Cup, Women’s 55,  and Alice Marble Cup, Women’s 60 advanced to the knockout rounds yesterday.

USA’s Fred Perry Cup team, men’s 50, seeded 5th, took out Estonia yesterday 3/0 and Chile today also 3/0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the knockout draw. Kelly Ward, #2, Mitch Perkins, #1 and Doug Elly/Ken White had no problems today, dropping no more than three games a match. They are now in playoff group 1-7. They play #4 seeded Austria tomorrow.

USA Bueno Cup beat Germany 3/0.

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