The synopsis: I won the 65 singles and doubles (with Anna Elmore, a club member) in Peru; Toni Novack avenged her loss to Leyla Musalem from Chile (she lost to her a few years ago in the Miami Regional ITF) to win the women’s 75’s, and Luisa Gouveia of Portugal won the Women’s 60 singles & mixed.
Other winners: Renata Caceres of Peru, with whom we shared a warm up court the other day and got to be friends, won the women’s 40s, beating the #2 and #1 seeds respectively in three sets. She lives in Spain. She was warming up this week with her dad. Carlos Behar of Columbia won the men’s 65 singles & doubles. Karim Strohmeier of Peru won the 45 singles, unseeded (she’s 53…played 45s and her doubles partner, Lorena Rodriguez (Peru), also unseeded, won the 50 singles in three sets. They combined to win the 50 doubles, where they were unseeded, despite having won the 50 doubles at the previous world championships (in Palm Beach Gardens in 2022)! The results aren’t posted, those are the ones I paid attention to. Jaime Pinto Bravo of Chile of course won the men’s 80s.
The doubles semis (and our first match) was really tough…it was a “not before 4pm” match…we started at 6pm (and only that early because Strohmeier and Rodriguez dispatched the #2 seeds quickly the match before), under the floodlights. It is close to the shortest day of the year here, and gets dark early. The lights weren’t the worse I’ve played under and it was the center court but they were placed to be in the position serving similar to playing at 1pm (or 2pm if Daylight Savings Time). We got out to a quick start, 5-1 (did I mention all doubles were using no-ad and match tiebreaks?). We lost all but one of the 3-3 games and closed out the set 63. Anna and I had not played before, so I had to figure out her game (nice groundstrokes, good movement, not a volleyer) and she had to do the same with mine. Our opponents, a lefty/righty team switched sides after the first set to put their forehands on the outside, and that worked better…we held off 4 set points at 4-5 but they closed out the set 75…onto the MTB. We were down 4-1 but came back and won 10-8. We had changed our sides for the tiebreak and the strategy was for Anna to play back and I played the net (and got passed down the line a bit too often!). So onto the final which was won 61 64 but the second set was close…we kept losing the 3-3 points but Anna played great from the back and I was at net…fun anyway!
In the singles final I beat Graciela Donoso from Argentina…she won the 60s here last year and beat last year’s 65 champion in the semis.
This is what I learned this year:
- You can warm up early, till about 7:30-7:45 depending on the court. Earlier in the week Luisa was told no warm up early, courts were for members then. It was not true.
- The tournament ends on Saturday, not Sunday no matter what the fact sheet says
- Matches are played really late…till 4:20 am on Tuesday and till Midnight on Friday (the 11pm curfew was lifted till midnight for the weekend)
- The type of balls used (this year the low grade Wilson clay court balls) is not decided till a few days before the tournament as they have to see which type they can get in the quantity needed
- Umpires and ball boys for every match. You can tip the ball boys but all are paid so it’s not mandatory or expected. Nice to have a few coins available
- If you want or think you might receive hospitality you need to ask at least four months in advance and it can vary from food to entry fee to hotel.
- No prize money, nice (heavy) glass trophies (they ran out of women’s champion trophies so Luisa is the “cabarellos” (gentlemen’s) champion for 2023 in Peru.
- The food everywhere is good and inexpensive; pisco sour and ceviche are specialties
- The people are really nice, and helpful
- English is not very prevalent…and the umpires only announced the score and gave instructions in Spanish…so learn how to keep score before coming! Google translate is also helpful
- Weather was perfect, low 70s for high, mid-60s for low, but quite humid
- There are 2 venues; “prom” on drawsheet means you play at a venue 15 minute walk away by the cliff overlooking the water where it is windier and courts are different
- Courts at Terrazas are quite good.
- The Wilson balls used were very, very light
- Courts were groomed before each match and watered as needed
- Be prepared to play late if playing doubles and very late if playing mixed
- The tournament is played at sea level…you can see the sea (Pacific Ocean) from the end of the club…maybe it’s a few 100 feet above the see as it’s on a cliff)
- Peru is a good place to buy tennis clothes..the booths set up during the tournament had very good prices
- The physios were free for tournament players
- Locker rooms are next to the covered pool, under center court (I discovered this Friday night)
- There was a dinner Thursday for players, cost 40 PEN ($11)… I was told yesterday by Toni, (Sunday)… apparently there was a sign up but neither of us got the message. Again, communication could be much improved.
- I’m sure I missed something but anyone reading all the way down please feel free to comment