This is the best women’s age division tournament you will find anywhere. 275 women in the 35/45/55/65/75/85/90 + divisions…275 women players in just eight divisions (this tournament should be in competition for the best ITF Masters 1000 tournament).
This is why the tournament is so wonderful:
- Location: Houston Racquet Club, a wonderful high end facility with lots of both hard and clay courts (and Pickleball…)most of which clay courts are watered underground; beautiful gym and locker room, friendly Texas hospitality
- Excellent tournament director who is very organized and even helps with pairing up doubles partners (Sue Bramlette, thank you, and Bob).
- Food: Breakfast (and not just bagels and cream cheese…hot breakfast, eggs, wonderful fruit selection, oatmeal, bacon and more) and a lovely lunch buffet Monday-Saturday, plus a player dinner and three other evening hospitality events which serve enough food for a dinner
- USTA Level 1 Gold Ball event and ITF Masters 1000 event
- Feed-in consolation for singles and doubles
- Complimentary massage therapists, licensed athletic trainer, certified stretch therapist daily
- Practice courts both Saturday and Sunday before the tournament.
- T-shirt, hat and discounts provided from various sponsors
- An opportunity to test oneself against the top players in one’s respective age divisions…very large draws (40 doubles teams in Women’s 55 and 40 singles players in Women’s 65’s for example).
- An it cannot be said too often…Texas hospitality…everytime I come to Texas, the niceness of the people is so striking…people here are just very nice…please thank them!
I arrived late on Friday into Houston. Saturday Susan Wright and I met at Tennis Express (now owned by the company which owns Tennis Point) at the new location. We wandered around the large store which has every racquet under the sun (including the Volkl Cell 4 which I play with) and a newer iteration of the racquet Susan plays with (she now has two new racquets). We also met with Tracy Rolling who works in marketing at Tennis Express…we’d last seen her in New Zealand after the 2011 earthquake there took out much of Christchurch and broke some of her ribs (her husband Leland was on a USA Cup team). She asked Susan if she had any gold, silver or bronze balls (Susan has 124 including 9 as a junior, a much tougher gold ball to win). Each one represents a win at a USTA national championship! We didn’t even get around to discussing ITF Gold medals. Tennis Express is a sponsor of the tournament.
We practiced on Saturday afternoon and then hit the gym for various stretching and rehab exercises.
Sunday I hit with Manola Colter, but it started raining as we finally got on a court and we had a long delay, which was a perfect chance for me to do my shoulder etc. exercises in the nice gym and catch up with friends, especially Carol Wood. The rain stopped, the courts dried by about 2pm and we got in our doubles practice match with Rainy Miller and Anna Zimmermann and I finished my hit with Manola.
Tomorrow I have an early hit and hopefully a bit more doubles…the tournament begins at 9 tomorrow but Susan and I have a bye in singles and doubles.