• 2021 Gold Ball Champions

    This will be updated periodically during the year.

    • Father/Son & GF/GS Grass
    • F/S: Peter/Colter Smith
    • GF/GS: Lorenzo/Thomas Brunkow
    • Husband Wife Grass
    • 100+: Steve Geller/Susan Smith
    • 120+: Bunnie/Stewart Jackson
    • 140+: Pam/Greg Shepherd
    • 150+: Julian/Michele Rainwater
    • Open: William/Stephanie Wallace
    • Men’s 60/70 Hard Courts
    • 60 Singles: Bill Moss
    • 60 Doubles: Jon Tyrell/Ross Hessler
    • 70 Singles: Bob Litwin
    • 70 Doubles: Lenny Wofford/Paul Wulf

    Father/Daughter & Mother/Son Hard Courts

    • F/D: D/B Dunkle
    • F/D 60+: Brett/Tatum Buffington
    • F/D 70+: M/O McIntosh
    • F/D 80+: J Wise/J Curran
    • M/S: Diane Barker/Matt Hane
    • M/S 60+: Brenda/J Chidley

    Father/Son & Mother/Daughter Hard Courts

    • F/S 60+: Brent/Jerry Morse-Karzen
    • F/S 70+: Mike/Richard Noel
    • F/S 80+: Alan/Robert Croll
    • M/D: Dina/Jordyn McBride
    • M/D 60+: Julie Gerken/Brenda Chidley
    • M/D 70+: Carol Gay/Katy Bickham
    • Men’s 65 Hard Courts, San Diego, CA May 2021
    • Singles: Dan Waldman
    • Doubles: Ross Persons/Dan Waldman
    • 50/60/70/80 Women’s Hard Courts, La Jolla, CA May 2021
    • 50 Singles: Andrea Rice
    • 60 Singles: Ros Fairbank Nideffer
    • 70 Singles: Judy Dixon
    • 80 Singles: Charleen Hillebrand
    • 50 Doubles: Nideffer/Debbie Spence Nasim
    • 60 Doubles: Sue Pendo/Julie Juliani
    • 70 Doubles: Dixon/Vicki McEvoy
    • 80 Doubles: Roz King/Dorothy Wasser

    National Husband/Wife Clay Courts

    • 100: Bob/Michelle Williams
    • 120: Bunnie/Stewart Jackson
    • 140: Julia Barash/Arnie Resnick
    • 150: Not held
    • Men’s 35 Hard Courts, Surprise, AZ
    • 35 Singles: Tyler Browne
    • 35 Doubles: Browne/Nick Brunner
    • 40/45 Men’s Clay Courts, & 45 Mixed Fort Lauderdale, FL April 2021
    • M40S: Tyler Cleveland
    • M45S: Andre Cherkasov
    • M40D: Wojtek Bratek/Eduardo Pacheco
    • M45D: Guillermo Cosson/Sean Straley
    • 45 Mixed: Mary Dailey/Andrew Lake
    • Mixed Hard Courts, Palm Desert, CA April 2021
    • 50: Oren Motevassel/Caroline Vis
    • 60: Shannon Gordon-Carney/Jonathon Fears
    • 70:Tom Rettenmaier/Dee Williams-Horne
    • 75: Dean Corley/Suella Steel (97th gold ball for Suella)
    • 80: Dori DeVries/Wilbur Jones

  • Update on Tournaments for 2021

    Here is the link to the official USTA Level 1-3 Schedule to date: https://www.usta.com/en/home/play/adult-tennis/programs/national/adult-tournaments1.html

    April 30, 2021

    New dates and site for the Men’s 40/45/50 Grass has been found:
    Sept. 29-Oct 4 Agawam Hunt Club Rumford, RI

    As of May 24, 2021 the following tournaments have been cancelled for 2021:

    • Women’s 35-85 Grass at Germantown: Cancelled
    • Women’s 30-80 Grass at Forest Hills: Cancelled
    • Men’s 40/45/50 Grass at Germantown: Cancelled (but moved to Rhode Island)
    • Father/Daughter & Mother/Son Indoors in So Barrington IL: Cancelled
    • West Coast Seniors (Level 2, Men) and Joanne Russell Cup (Level 2 Women) in Naples: Cancelled
    • The Lamita Jabour Grandes Dames tournament in Fort Lauderdale
    • Grandes Dames, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Both were to be ITF S700.
    • Men’s Level 3 tournament in Naples January 10-16
    • St Petersburg men’s Level 2 tournament which was to take place in February has been cancelled. From TD Jerry Ratledge (via Joe Rasgado): “I can now confirm that our tournament has been officially cancelled. We reluctantly concluded that the risks of holding a large, Level 2, National & International tournament during an escalating pandemic are simply too great. We look forward to a fun, safe, and normalized tournament in 2022.”
    • El Paso Senior Open Level 3 (Aug 25-30)
    • Marin Seniors
    • Men’s Bocage Level 2, Baton Rouge, LA
    • Pacific Coast Seniors, Berkeley, CA cancelled
    • Washington State, Cancelled
    • Cooper Cup, Cancelled

    Good News!: Jan 19 Update: Mission Hills has approved the Women’s 35-85 Hard Courts for 2021 according to TD Andi Polisky. The tournament dates remain as scheduled in October. You can enter the tournament here once entries are open. The Women’s 90 Grass are also approved. You can enter here for play Dec 7-10, once entries are open.

    More good news:Men’s 65 Hard courts will be held May 17-22 at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.

    Good News: Husband Wife Grass has been relocated to Rhode Island in June. And the 150 combined age division is on offer.

    The following tournaments have been postponed to the fall:

    • Men’s 75-90 Hard Courts has been rescheduled to Sept 13-18. (Per Ned Buckman, TD)
    • Daniel Island NWTO Women’s tournament has been postponed to Oct 20-24. The tournament link is here.
    • 40-80 Women’s Clay Courts has been postponed to Sept. 28-Oct 2. The tournament link is here.
    • The 35-90 Clay Courts will take place Sept 20-26 in Houston, TX (changing from its original April dates largely due to a slow vaccine rollout).
    • The women’s 40/50/70/80/90 Level 2 Indoors dates are now Oct 27-Nov 3. The tournament link is here.

    I will be updating this post weekly with tournament changes as I find out about them.

    Please post any tournament changes or cancellations you know of in the comments section below.

    Happy New Year!


  • 2021 Super Seniors (65,70, 75, 80, 85) Cup Team Information

    • Location: Mallorca, Spain
    • Team Event: Sunday, Oct. 10 – Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

    Are you eligible to participate? Read the guidelines here. Of particular importance are the following changes which supersede the eligibility requirement and timelines as follows:

    • Approved 24-month USTA Category I USTA National Championship eligibility requirement, the option to participate in one USTA Super Category II National Tournament or one USTA Category II National Tournament within the last 24 months or participation in one Designated Open Sectional Championship within the last 12 months to fulfill the eligibility requirement; and
    • Approved to lengthen the selection time period for results that will be considered for selection from 24 months to 36 months.

    2021 Super Senior International Teams Timeline

    • Location: Mallorca, Spain
    • Team Event: Sunday, Oct. 10 – Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
    • Applications Open: April 1, 2021 Click here to apply
    • Application Deadline: May 1, 2021
    • Players who have applied for consideration will be listed on the Preliminary Applicant List posted on USTA.com: May 5 See the list of applicants here.
    • Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted Preliminary Applicant List (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results): May 10
    • Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status: June 1 See team selections here.
    • All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN): July 1
    • Players may make their travel arrangements: August 1
    • Travel arrangements due to staff: September 1

    Fact sheets are now available from the ITF.

    2021 ITF Super-Seniors (65-70-75-80-85-90*) World Team & Individual Championships

    The 2021 ITF Super-Seniors (65-70-75-80-85-90* years) World Team & Individual Championships will take place in Mallorca, Spain from Sunday 10 October – Saturday 23 October 2021. The Team Event will take place from 10 – 15 October 2021. The Individual Event from 16 – 23 October 2021.

    (* Refers to Individual Championships only). (**A final updated list will be published at the nomination deadline)


  • 2021 Young Seniors (35/40/45) Cup Team Information

    • Location: Umag, Croatia
    • Team Event: Sunday, Sept. 12 – Friday, Sept. 17, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Sept. 18 – Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021

    Are you eligible to participate? Read the guidelines here. Of particular importance are the following changes which supersede the eligibility requirement and timelines as follows:

    • Approved 24-month USTA Category I USTA National Championship eligibility requirement, the option to participate in one USTA Super Category II National Tournament or one USTA Category II National Tournament within the last 24 months or participation in one Designated Open Sectional Championship within the last 12 months to fulfill the eligibility requirement; and
    • Approved to lengthen the selection time period for results that will be considered for selection from 24 months to 36 months.

    2021 Young-Seniors World Championships (35/40/45)

    • Location: Umag, Croatia
    • Team Event: Sunday, Sept. 12 – Friday, Sept. 17, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Sept. 18 – Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021
    • Applications Open: March 1, 2021
    • Application Deadline: April 10, 2021
    • Players who have applied for consideration will be listed on the Preliminary Applicant List posted on USTA.com: April 13
    • Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted Preliminary Applicant List (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results): April 18
    • Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status: May 10 List of Young Seniors Players Selected to Teams
    • All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN): June 10
    • Players may make their travel arrangements: July 10
    • Travel arrangements due to staff: August 10

    2021 Young Seniors Team Championships – Participating Teams**

    Factsheets, Accommodation and Travel Documents:

    The 2021 ITF Young Seniors (30*-35-40-45 years) World Team & Individual Championships will take place in Umag, Croatia from Sunday 12 September – Saturday 25 September 2021. The Team Event will take place from 12 – 17 September 2021. The Individual Event from 18 – 25 September 2021.


  • Seniors (50/55/60) Cup Team Information

    • Applications closed January 10, 2021.
    • Location: Umag, Croatia
    • Team Event: Sunday, June 6 – Friday, June 11, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, June 12 – Saturday, June 19, 2021 [now changed to 4-11 Sept.]

    Are you eligible to participate? Read the guidelines here. Of particular importance are the following changes which supersede the eligibility requirement and timelines as follows:

    • Approved 24-month USTA Category I USTA National Championship eligibility requirement, the option to participate in one USTA Super Category II National Tournament or one USTA Category II National Tournament within the last 24 months or participation in one Designated Open Sectional Championship within the last 12 months to fulfill the eligibility requirement; and
    • Approved to lengthen the selection time period for results that will be considered for selection from 24 months to 36 months.

    The 2021 USTA Seniors International Team Timeline is below:

    2021 Seniors World Championships (50/55/60)

    • Location: Umag, Croatia
    • Team Event: Sunday, June 6 – Friday, June 11, 2021 (NOW 29 Aug-3 Sept.)
    • Click here to see new dates
    • Individual Event: Saturday, June 12 – Saturday, June 19, 2021 (Now 4-11 of Sept.)
    • Applications Open: December 1, 2020:
    • Application Deadline: January 10, 2021
    • Players who have applied for consideration will be listed on the Preliminary Applicant List posted on USTA.com: January 13.
    • Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted Preliminary Applicant List (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results): January 18
    • Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status: February 10. View the list here.
    • All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN): Contact Staff
    • Players may make their travel arrangements: Contact Staff
    • Travel arrangements due to staff: (Now July 10)

    Participating Teams:

    Factsheets, Accommodation and Travel Documents:

    (* Refers to Individual Championships only). (**A final updated list will be published at the nomination deadline)


  • 2021 USTA Tournament Schedule

    Women’s Level 1 Tournament Schedule (2021) (grid by age division

    Men’s Level 1 Tournament Schedule (2021) (grid by age division)

    Women’s Level 2 & 3 Tournament Schedule (2021) (grid)

    Men’s Level 2 & 3 Tournament Schedule (2021) (grid)

    Family Level 1 Tournament Schedule (2021, partial) (grid by event & surface)

    Family Level 2 & 3 Tournament Schedule

    The USTA has published the 2021 Schedule here.


  • Return to USA from Barcelona

    Barcelona (BCN): The check-in process at the airport was quick. I arrived quite early..nearly 3 hours before my flight.

    Note that at BCN you will need a boarding pass, electronic or paper, before being allowed into the airport. So make sure you have taken a covid test within 3 days of flying, tested negative, and that the airline has reviewed and approved the test, and issued a boarding pass BEFORE you go to the airport! I suggest purchasing a few quick test kits before leaving the USA.

    Security was quick and for the first time on this trip my bags weren’t flagged by security. 👍

    When flying out of the EU you will also need to clear passport control. So allow time for that. Once past passport control (which was quick today, under 5 minutes), there aren’t many services and shops, though there were a couple of places to eat and buy water.

    Arrival in USA at Newark (EWR): Arrival at EWR was the usual “hurry up and wait“ scenario..quick passage through passport control because I have global entry (highly recommended, includes tsa precheck), then a long wait for bags, another for rechecking bags, another for the train to a different terminal…then going through US domestic security (TSA PreCheck helped but there was only one security check line open). I still had a couple hours to kill..and an extra one since the plane boarded an hour late. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

    Masks are mandatory at all airports and on planes..for the most part people comply but in the airport many do not. Or they wear their mask below their nose.

    Arrival in California: Bags arrived quickly. It was very crowded. Uber and Lyft prices were double or more what they used to be..at least for this trip. Plan accordingly.

    Leaving near dawn; “shopping” in the international part of BCN; crowds at the airports; Which airport?

    And that’s a wrap on this trip. More to come in the fall. Have a great summer everyone.


  • Last Day in Spain

    July 19, 2021

    I started my day with the “new normal” for international travel…a covid test. I had an antigen test I brought with me…you connect online, and the proctor goes through certifying your ID, date of birth, and putting together the test…the regent for the test, the nasal swab, followed by a 15 minute wait, then reconnecting with a proctor to view the results. Mine was negative (vaccinations do work), so I was able to check in and my test was approved.

    Next I played tennis with Lisa from Florida at the Real Club de Tennis de Barcelona. It turned out that we’d been staying not 5 minutes apart all week and I was a 9 minute walk from the club. The club, established in 1899 is the site of the ATP 500 event which Nadal won this year. Members there include Feliciano Lopez, Karen Khachenov, Carlos Costa, Andrei Rublev and more…tons of good players. There are lots of courts, a restaurant, gym, padel courts and more.

    After tennis we went shopping, me for chocolate and Lisa for gifts for her friends. The walk took us past another Gaudi creation, the Guell Pavillions. It’s closed for restoration but the main gate is on the Pedrables street and quite interesting, with a dragon on the front. The classic Gaudi mosaics and undulating waves.

    And that’s a wrap on this European adventure…thanks everyone for following along.


  • Montserrat

    Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain range not far from Barcelona. It’s known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat. Montserrat in Catalan means serrated mountain, and the mountains appear to have sharp edges. The Monastery of Montserrat which houses the virgin that gives its name to the monastery is also on the mountain.

    To get there I took the Metro to the Espana (also the stop for the circular Plaza de Espana and Montjuic castle) on the L3, then got lost long enough to miss my train…what I needed to do was go up into the Plaza and follow the signs to L1 Metro line (and the green/white swirly icon below)…when I finally did that there were signs for the R5 train which goes directly to Montserrat. Tickets can be bought at a ticket machine there…you have to decide whether you want to take a funicular train up to the monastery or a cable car. The cable car is quicker so I chose that option.

    After I exited the train, I took the cable car up to the monastery (and it’s straight up the sharp face of the mountain, a five minute ride), then another funicular, St. Joan, up to the top of the mountain. At the top there are some hiking options. I took a short hike which had very nice views, to St. Joan. There is a further 15 minute hike to Santa Magdalena, which is pretty steep…I went part way but stopped at the bottom of the stairs…they were pretty crumbly and I didn’t have hiking shoes on. I went back and then part way up the other side before taking the funicular back down and viewing the monastery.

    The monastery is right on the edge of the mountain…it’s amazing that something was built so long ago in such a seemingly inhospitable place. The outside was not too fancy, but the interior courtyard was pretty and the church was gorgeous. Beautiful lanterns on either side, and gorgeous stained glass windows.

    The trip back was easier but still took a while…cable car to the train, wait 30 minutes, then a one hour plus ride back to Espana, then Metro back to my stop and a 10 minute walk

    Montserrat is a special place. It’s worth a visit…preferably with a friend who owns a car! (By car. it’s only 40 minutes to the bottom of the cable car).


  • Girona & Barcelona Gothic Quarter

    Today I went to Girona, about 45 minutes NE from the Barcelona Sants station by fast train. I just missed the first subway train at Maria Christina, so had only 10 minutes to make the train when I got to Sants…I had to run and made it by seconds. On the AVE and AVANT trains you have to show your tickets before getting on the train and put any bags through a metal detector…good thing I sliced up my apple instead of taking a Swiss army knife on the train! Tip: you can buy the tickets using the RENFE website or app and then showing the ticket (with the QR code) to the ticket taker from your phone…no printing necessary.

    Girona is a town of about 100,000 people and is an ancient town..and it’s been conquered seven times. It was founded by Romans, and conquered by the French. There’s part of an old city wall still intact and a famous cathedral, and many museums. Many of the streets are mostly pedestrian and quite narrow. The Onyar River flows through the town and is lined by colorful buildings.

    I walked from the train station down some pedestrian shopping streets. When I got to the bridge, one of several which cross the Onyar, I saw the colorful buildings and church spires. I crossed the river and meandered towards the cathedral…which has 90 steps to the entrance. I bought a ticket and walked into the cathedral. It wasn’t as spectacular as the one in Seville but was still impressive with a huge nave, some stained glass windows and lots of carvings. There was also a nice courtyard, and a small museum.

    After leaving the cathedral I went to the art museum which was mainly full of religious art depicting lots of suffering.

    I next wandered through some of the old town and also went to most of the bridges to take photos of the buildings in the changing light. I walked in and out of some shops and then headed back to the train station to catch the 4:15 train. This time I was early and easily made the train.

    Once I was back at Sants I decided to go to an eyeglass store in Barcelona which was in the gothic quarter…which was pretty crowded. I got off at Liceau in front of the theatre, on Las Ramblas, a tree lined boulevard that was packed with restaurants and people, though not quite as packed as I’ve seen it in the past. It was about a 15 minute walk from there. I came across a gathering of supporters for Cuban freedom in front of an official building.

    The street turned into the Gothic quarters, lots of very narrow quaint streets. I found my eyeglass store and looked around for a while. Then it was back to my hotel which I reached before 8pm for the first time all week!


  • Barcelona Singles Champion

    Saturday Morning July 17, 2021

    I played my final tournament match in Barcelona last night. I had the “early” start time of 6pm, and we started right on time. I played Carmen Chilleda-Belzunce and played well to win. I played on a sunny day on an East/West facing court and it was tough to see on the side facing West!

    After winning the singles, I watches several matches and had dinner. I watched a few games of the 60 singles final between American Veronica Lima De Angelis and Giovanna Tortorella of Italy. Tortorella is a very good player…smooth, accurate strokes and good anticipation. That match went pretty quickly, in contrast to the one between 55s players Sophie Orsini (FRA) and Elisabetta Morici (ITA). Orsini was the more expressive of the two, and she started the match very frustrated, losing the opening set 60…Orsini though found her range on drop shots and steadied her shots from the baseline to finish the mach 64 63. Both players have loopy western forehands, but Orsini has both a slice and two-handed backhand; Morici has a very good one-hander.

    I finished the evening watching Lisa play mixed…it was a good match though tough to see the ball, especially high balls, under the lights…both guys had great forehands; the opposing woman had good court sense and cutaway volleys, and there were far more winners than errors. I finally tried one of the crepes being sold at a food truck and it was very good (goat cheese, spinach and walnuts in case you were wondering). The match finished within 30 minutes of the end time for sporting events due to the curfew. Susana Amelia Diaz and Ramzi Shuaibi-Morales won 64 63 over Lisa and Martin. I ran for the tram after the match finished (and made it).

    And that’s a wrap on the ITF Seniors Barcelona 2021. Draws and results are here.

    Tomorrow will be a sight seeing day somewhere…more on that tonight.


  • Barcelona Doubles Success; Singles Final Tonight

    Draws and order of play are here.

    Last night we were scheduled for doubles at 9pm but our match went on about 15 minutes early.. I was scouting my singles opponent for tonight…their (not before) 7:30 pm match started around 8:30, so I didn’t get to see much before doubles. Kim Reed and I played a decent team, the #1 seed in 60 singles and her partner. We had some nice points but won 62 61. Playing under the lights was a bit challenging, though the lights are decent. As we were warming up an official came out to tell us the scoring for doubles had changed to no-ad and a 10 point Match Tiebreak for a third set due to the new curfew (of 1am).

    Kim is to my right above and our opponents are on either side of us. Kim just switched racquets and as it turns out we play with the same Volkl model, the V Cell 4. We play rather similarly so that makes sense.

    After we finished and took photos, it turns out the match I was scouting (which was on an adjacent court) was till ongoing. Carmen Chillidea-Belzunce, who I play tonight, won the first set 60 before it got dark, but the second set was turning into quite a battle. She was playing Mireia de Gispert Talavera who I played Monday night. Mireia was playing a lot of high topspin balls and coming to net behind some of them, pretty successfully, and pounding some two-handed backhands to good effect. She held off some match points at 5-6 and got the match into a tiebreak, which was even to 3-3…then Mireia stopped hitting high balls and lost four straight points and the match. Carmen stayed pretty calm to finish out the win.

    This morning I practiced again with Lisa for about an hour, then took the tram back to the hotel. Just before we started the club had all the kids from the camp on our court to take a photo…there are a lot of them of all ages, from about 3 years to teenagers. She plays mixed not before 10pm. It’s not bad playing at 6 and even 8:45 wasn’t terrible, at least it was light during warm up, but 10pm is tough!

    My tram stop going back to hotel.


  • Into the Singles Final; Doubles Final Under the Lights Tonight

    Thursday July 15, 2021

    Draws and order of play are here.

    Yesterday I practiced in the late morning (the earliest practice times are 11am) with Lisa B, then went back to the hotel to write my blog and relax before my 6pm singles match. There aren’t many people practicing in the mornings, Reinheld Adams and Michelle Bichon have been out every morning at 11am though. I played Magdalena Gual Pascual, a club member whom I have played her a few times before. She’s very nice and we had a pretty good match. I won 61 61. She whacks her forehand if it’s in her strike zone…but didn’t like my drop shots so much. The other RR match will be played tonight at 7:30 so I’ll go and scout the players.

    On the way into the club I watched some of the kids activities…some were learning to ride horses and others were learning to hit a golf ball. I saw yet another big hockey field (and no soccer fields)…hockey is the big game at the Polo Club.

    Top, the view from my room; bottom left, the large polo field being used for camps, golf and riding lessons; bottom right, part of a massive hockey field

    The order of play for the evening only comes out the morning of play…till then players don’t know from one day to the next if they have a match. Luckily for me, the referee told me my schedule yesterday, so I knew I was playing the doubles final tonight, and not singles. We play doubles at 9pm against the #2 seeds (one of whom is the #1 singles seed in 60s), and Kim Reed, my doubles partner, plays her singles semi at 6pm. There are matches scheduled till 10:30…one player has a 9pm and 10:30 pm match. However, due to new curfews in Barcelona from tonight, all sporting events have to be finished by midnight and the club will close at 12:30am.

    I practiced with Lisa again today, and we got in nearly two hours before being bumped. Again, only the 70 women were out practicing till we were bumped by two guys around 12:45. We did move courts after an hour and the second court was much drier and faster than the first one, even though they were side by side in the stadium.

    After practice I made another trip to the grocery store, for apples and snacks. This time I found the bakery and gourmet part of the grocery, and a Lindt store. I looked at the fish department because it’s so extensive and different from those at home. Normally one doesn’t see three types of squid for example.


  • Tennis Under the Lights in Barcelona

    Wednesday July 14 (Happy Bastille Day), 2021

    Draws, schedule of play and tournament information is available here.

    Last night I caught the tram just before midnight back to the hotel after a “not before” 10pm start for doubles. The tournament was behind schedule but fortunately our match was quick. I played with Kim Reed, a Brit who lives in Marbella, and she’s a solid singles and doubles player.

    Earlier in the day I went to the club to practice serves again, and Kim and her husband ran into me. So I had a good hit with Kim which was great. We warmed up on one of the two center courts which are very deep…good for running, not so good for walking to pick up balls.

    After tennis, I took the subway to the L3 Diagonal stop on the Passeig de Gracia, a broad tree-lined shopping street. My destination was Tennis Point Barcelona. I was on the hunt for tennis balls and practice balls for the tournament. I found the latter Wilson French Open balls but no Head tour XT balls. The shop also had a huge selection of Padel racquets which are large thick paddles with holes in them and brightly colored. There was also a large selection of clay court tennis shoes.

    The subway stop was also near La Pedrera, a Gaudi designed apartment house which I toured a couple of years ago. There weren’t many tourists around compared to August of 2019.

    After that adventure, I returned to my hotel for a late lunch, late because my doubles match wasn’t till 10pm. I returned to the club around 7pm, so I could scout my next opponents. I got there just in time to see the last 20 minutes of the match. Then I waited three hours or so for my match, but ran into some Brits, Alex, Liz and Peter and also an American friend of mine from Florida who was playing mixed. Alex practices with Sue Bartlett of GBR (and Tennessee) when she’s there and just played American Michael Beautyman in the final of the European Championships…both Lisa and I practice with him. Tennis is a small world.

    By 8pm, the food trucks were open, champagne was popped and there was a musical entertainment (a woman singer who was pretty good). By 9:30 Lisa and I were both yawning.

    Kim and I played our match under the lights. It was pretty dark, but since our opponents were not very experienced, it was ok. After the match we walked to the tram station and got one of the last trams of the night back to our respective stops.

    Today I play singles at 6pm. But that’s an article for another day.


  • Successful Tournament Start in Barcelona

    Draws and order of play: https://itfseniorsbarcelona.com/en/cuadros.

    Yesterday, after I went to the club (via the tram) I went to El Cortez Ingles, a huge department store about a 10 minute walk from my hotel. It’s 4 or 5 stories…two of which are below street level. I went to the large grocery store in the basement. The Spanish love tinned and fresh fish, along with Iberico ham, sweets and fruits and vegetables. The milk aisle (unrefrigerated) and yogurt (refrigerated) were also large. I got some cooked mussels (delicious with lemon and a salad) and a couple of tins of shellfish…and of course a chocolate bar and apples.

    I played my first match in Barcelona at 6pm on Monday night, which is the earliest any matches are scheduled here. I got to the club around 4pm and it took me about 20 minutes to get practice balls and find my court. The kids camps were still going strong with hundreds of kids playing tennis, running through sprinklers on the soccer fields and generally seeming to have a good time.

    My practice court was court 38 which is a few hundred meters from court 37. I walked past courts and two field hockey (not soccer) fields to find it. There’s one hard court at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona and I could hear the sound of the players on that court…the sound of very good players hitting. When I got closer, I saw that one of them was Carla Suarez Navarro of the beautiful one-handed backhand club.

    I finally found my court and a pro with a bunch of students came on the court within minutes…but also moved to another court, maybe she was lost too. I hit some serves and bounced some balls and did a bit of running…that was my warm up yesterday. At 4:45, there were. still lots of people running around the tournament check-in site, setting up food trucks, the check-in area, etc, but by 6pm everything was fairly sorted out. There was a long line to pay entry fees. Everyone was given a nice shirt (v-necks for women, polos for men, lime green), and a mask from the sponsor. No one asked for the ITF form that everyone was supposed to fill out and show the tournament before playing. The only ask was for proof of payment of the entry fee (80 euros plus a 5 euro IPIN fee). When I left around 7:45, there was music going, champagne being handed out and the food trucks were operational, though things don’t really get going there till well after 8pm.

    I played Mireia de Gispert Talavera. I played her here 3 years ago and won 60 60 this time. We played on a court that went east/west, but fortunately it was cloudy or the sun would have been a problem. I was going to watch my future opponents play but ran into one of them…she said her opponent couldn’t play Monday so asked if she could play Tuesday…so I know I don’t play singles today. However, the order of play for today came out as I was writing this (at 10:22am) and I play doubles not before….10 pm!


  • Hola Espana

    This morning I left rainy Essen, Germany for sunny Barcelona, Spain. I flew Vueling airlines (affiliated with Iberia), a discount airline that had the best nonstop flight today to Barcelona from Dusseldorf. I think Sunday may not be a great day to fly in Germany in particular. There was one woman at the check in counter for the entire plane full of people. And the way some of the fares work, is that a cabin bag (such as a small roller bag…anything that won’t fit under the seat) has to be checked. I got there early when there were only 30 minutes of people in front of me. But the check in counter only opened a bit less than two hours before the flight was to take off. By the time I’d checked my bags, the line was several hundred feet long. On the other hand, there were few people at security, most of the TSA equivalents were standing around. The security guy though where my bags were inspected decided to check everyone’s bags for what I assume was explosive residue. I still had plenty of time though and the flight was on time. By noon I was in warm Barcelona and at my hotel by 1pm.

    Long line to check in this morning in Dusseldorf
    Plane to Barcelona is at the gate

    After checking in and organizing my stuff, I walked to the Reial Club do Polo de Barcelona to meet the Guille, the son-in-law of members of my club at home. We’d hit once before when his family visited there, and they’ve since moved back to Barcelona. We had a good hit. The tournament is using the same Wilson balls as were used at the French Open and they were good to hit with, a little less flighty than the heavy duty Wilson US Open balls used three years ago. They seemed more durable too.

    After hitting, I walked to a gas station to get more water and snacks (all other stores are closed on Sundays) and then back to the hotel.

    Avenida Diagonal, Barcelona on a quiet Sunday afternoon

    I play my first match tomorrow at 6pm.

    Draws and results are here.


  • Dusseldorf

    Today I took the train to Dusseldorf. Parking here is difficult, and there is tons of traffic. The Essen Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is only a few minutes walk from my hotel. So theoretically it’s an easy trip. I bought a ticket and got on the first train I saw to Dusseldorf HBF. The ticket taker was blowing her whistle and the doors were closing as I hopped on…but it was an ICE (faster) train and my ticket was only good for RE (regional, slower) trains, which I didn’t realize. She kept asking me why I didn’t ask her if I had the right train…(answer: no German, doors were closing, she was blowing her whistle, I didn’t think of asking)…after she finished berating me to her satisfaction, she decided that if I agreed to get off at the next stop, she wouldn’t make me buy an ICE ticket…I did and about 3 minutes later was on a RE (slow) train to Dusseldorf. There I bought a ticket for the subway, and naturally got on a train going the wrong way. But I realized it after a couple of stops and got off, crossed the RR tracks, and got on the right train to my destination in the old town of Dusseldorf.

    Despite my train woes, the decision to take a train was a good one, the city, at least in the old town, along the Rhein River (which goes through Dusseldorf) and the main shopping street was extremely crowded. I got off the subway into a Galleria Kaufhof and wandered around for a while. I found the chocolate area, which in Kaufhofs are extensive. I got a few small pieces, and meandered through the store before going outside. I had a destination in mind, the “Think” shoe store. It is in the old town. The streets were lined with restaurants, all of which had large outdoor dining areas. Both the restaurants and the streets were full of people, eating or wandering and pretty much any type of cuisine you can think of was available from Vietnamese to German to American to Mexican to Turkish. I found the shoe store…then walked down to the Rhein River which had quite a few barges going down the river, and more restaurants lining the promenade. I also walked into a market at Carl’s Plaza which had lots of fruits and vegetables, sausages, cheese and bread, flowers, and a few craft type places.

    After leaving the river I walked slowly back to the HBF and took the correct train back to Essen.

    I leave early tomorrow for Barcelona and I play in Barcelona on Monday night at 6pm (the earliest time slot for the tournament). Hopefully I will find a doubles partner…I had one but she had to pull out of doubles. The draws are pretty small, a combination of Covid and the ranking changes this year which made this tournament an ITF S700, of which there seem to be two or three every week instead of a more special ITF Grade A of which there were few. Plus ranking points for some tournaments including this one will stay on players’ records for three years.

    Draws and results from Spain are here.


  • Essen Singles/Doubles Champion

    Draws are here.

    I played the singles final, and the doubles semis and final both today. I played Jutta Boekmann in the singles final and won 60 60, though she had several game points. It was a good style matchup for me, plus I scouted her yesterday and had a good idea how to play her. After about an hour break we played the doubles semis a bit early against Yvette DeRoche and Christina Gehrke. We won 61 60 and then played the doubles final almost immediately after against Sylvia Balkow and Gabriele Meier and won 60 60, though we had many fun points. So Essen is done for this year, I have the day off tomorrow to go to Dusseldorf and then on to Barcelona on Sunday morning.

    I watched a few matches including the 30 singles final against two ridiculously young looking “seniors”; Ellen Neumann, Heidi Eisterlehner, Keith Porter and Fritz Raijmakers and Haim Ohn.


  • ITF Seniors Rankings Update

    From ITFtennis.com:

    ITF Seniors Tour (updated 09 June 2021)

    • From the 1st January 2021, all normal grades and ranking points for all existing tournaments were reinstated, subject to an ITF analysis of travel restrictions and player accessibility.

    With immediate effect the following will apply to the ITF Seniors Rankings:

    Points earned from  18 March 2019 to 2 September 2019 Points earned from 9 September 2019 to 16 March 2020 Points earned from 7 September 2020 onwards 
    Points earned in this period will drop on a weekly basis between 14 March 2022 – 29 August 2022 Points remain countable for 3 years (156 weeks) Points earned in this period will drop on a weekly basis between  6 September 2021 – 14 March 2022Points remain countable for 2 years (104 weeks) Points earned from 7 September 2020 will drop after 52 weeks. Points earned drop after 52 weeks 

    Between September – December 2021, players will lose points earned between September-December in both 2019 and 2020. For example, points earned on 9 September 2019 and 7 September 2020 will drop on 6 September 2021. 

    • Between January-March 2022, players will lose points earned between January-March in 2020 & 2021. For example, points earned on 6 January 2020 and 4 January 2021 will drop on 3 January 2022. 
    • Results from higher graded (World Championships, S1000, S700 & S400) tournaments will be counted a maximum of once within a player’s best 4 results during the extended rankings period, i.e., double counting of the same tournament is not permitted. If a player competes in the same tournament on multiple occasions within the extended period, the best result will be counted. 
    • Points earned from the World Championships will remain countable until the next edition is played, even if this date is beyond the extended rankings period. E.g., points earned from the Super-Seniors World Championships in September 2019 will drop after the next edition of the Super-Seniors World Championships takes place (scheduled for October 2021). 
    • Questions on the ITF Seniors Circuit rankings should be directed to seniors@itftennis.com


  • Into the Essen Final

    Draws are here.

    I had a pretty easy semi today. The woman I played, Corrine Franoux (France) had a three hour semi yesterday and a two hour match the day before and fit as she was, it slowed her down a bit. I won 60 60. Her running was good but her technique let her down. I play Jutta Boekmann in the final. She had a two hour match with the #3 seed, Sylvia Lievers-Kronenburg. I warmed up with Sylvia this morning and did think they would have a good match. It was punch (Sylvia)/counterpunch (Jutta), and Jutta in particular made very good use of the drop shot, and anticipated Sylvia’s responses well.

    Corrine and Carolyn

    The weather looks iffy tomorrow…hopefully we’ll get to play on clay and not indoors on carpet (or I will have to get carpet shoes, which have smooth soles).

    Jutta and I also will play doubles tomorrow, assuming out opponents get their match in later this afternoon…the forecast apparently is dire.

    Heide Orth lost her final today to Barbara Von Ende 62 63…my warmup must not have been good enough today. Von Ende though gets a lot of balls back and is very fit (as is Heide).