Poertschach, Austria…Planes, Trains and Tennis

Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

Thursday and Friday were travel days…I left California around 11:30am Thursday and two planes and three trains later ended up in Poertschach (with a nine hour time change) at 9pm on Friday. I put my racquets in a Volkl backpack instead of a bigger racquet bag and since they were visible got a lot of questions about why I had three with me. (Answer basically is 18 gage string doesn’t last, particularly on red clay). A player from Vancouver (but a Czech native) was very interested in seniors tennis; the Americans from Charlotte, NC on the train to Salzburg with me also had questions. Tennis is more popular than I thought.

I had scheduled an 11am hitting session with Bruce Barrett from Florida. He won the 70 doubles at the worlds last year and I know him from a number of tournaments. He’s also a lefty. As it turned out I hit with three lefties last week and again today (twice) and will be playing with a righty (Heidi Eisterlehner) and Bruce tomorrow too. The draws were posted here and it turns out that I’m very likely to play a leftie first round, so my scheduling turned out to be a fortuitous accident.

Bruce and I hit at the main courts in Poertschach. There was a junior tournament for quite young players (they were using short courts and soft balls), and it was co-ed…lots of girls vs boys matches in singles and doubles. That meant the practice courts were limited. We hit on Court 1 which was in pretty iffy shape. Lots of weeds are growing on it and the lines are half buried under the dirt. We swept them and rolled one end, but the consistency of the bounces were more reminiscent of a grass court than a clay court…some balls rolled, some jumped up or sideways…or both! We practiced twice. Today was sunny, warm, dry and beautiful…lucky us, apparently it’s been raining here for nearly a week!

The tournament begins on Monday. I have a bye so don’t play before Tuesday. There are 14 players in the draw, and a number of good players. The woman I am likely to play first round was my final round opponent when I played her here several years ago.

All for now…I’ll add some more photos but I’ll leave you with this view or the Worthersee, and some photos of the planes, trains and scenery along the way.

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