While everyone is glued to Tsitsipas/Wawrinka…practicing was going on here in Poertschach (Eurosport switched to cycling in the middle of the match but came back, only to go away to catch viewers up on the day’s events thus far…back for the 5th though!)
I hit with Heidi Eisterlehner from Germany today. Heidi hits a cracking ball, and we had a good hit. We played on a court lined for juniors (a 60 foot court) and it wasn’t easy. The lines are cloth and nailed into the court. And much more visible than the tape lines. The court was pretty bumpy. Apparently it rained a lot the last few weeks and the courts were neglected and got quite soft. It’s warm now, upper 70s, and dry so they should play better day by day.
The tournament going on here for young juniors has been interesting to watch. A lot of the players have apparently been taught to serve second serves underhand. Older kids are in the chairs calling all the lines (and doing an excellent job). Parents sit Courtside and encourage the kids and give them high fives, win or lose. They are all playing with orange balls.
In the afternoon I hit with American Bruce Barrett again…we were bumped by my potential first round opponent though, Shirley Friedl & Bruno Renoult, but got in a good hit before that happened.
They balls they are using here are Babolat Tour and I got a hold of a can today. They are a bit heavier than the Wilson US Open ball, and the courts are soft so one really has to get behind the ball and whack it to make it go anywhere. Dropshots could be very useful here.
I ran into the legend who is King Van Nostrand today. He won in Bournemouth, England and now is playing here for two weeks. He’s 85 and still hits a great ball. Though he’s only seeded #3, the other players should be very wary (actually, they all know he’s the best).
The draws and some times are finally online. I play my first match Thursday, the winner of a match played on Wednesday. Draws can be found here.