• Tag Archives Grade A
  • 2020 Category I Mixed Doubles Schedule

    For official updates check USTA.com. Note that all Category I Mixed doubles tournaments except for the 30s are ITF Grade A tournaments as well as USTA Category I tournaments and are open to all ITF players.

    Age DivisionClayHardIndoorGrass
    30
    Dec. 4-9
    Lauderdale Tennis Club
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    June 5-7
    Plaza Tennis Center
    Kansas City, MO
    Postponed or suspended: May 22-25
    Lexington Tennis Club,
    Lexington, KY
    40Oct 8-11
    Seabrook Isl Club
    Johns Island, SC
    11/30-12/6
    La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
    La Jolla, CA
    45 Oct. 23-28
    Lauderdale TC
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    50Oct 8-11
    Seabrook Isl Club
    Johns Island, SC
    Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA
    60Oct 8-11
    Seabrook Isl Club
    Johns Island, SC
    Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA
    8/17-8/22
    Seattle Tennis Club
    Seattle, WA
    70Oct 8-11
    Seabrook Isl Club
    Johns Island, SC
    Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA
    75Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA
    80Wilson World Tennis Classic
    Shadow Mountain Resort & Club, Palm Desert, CA

  • Wednesday: Singles & Laundry Successes

    Santiago, Chile

    Today I played my first match, against Austria’s Shirley Friedl. She is a nice lefty player, but I played pretty well and the altitude helped my high balls jump a bit and I won 60 60. It’s always an enjoyable, fair match. We played on Court 1 and again, the courts this year are playing much much better than five years ago. I don’t know what they’ve done but kudos to the grounds people for making them so nice to play on.

    After the match (and a short massage, $8 for 15 minutes and the guys working in the massage area are good and seem to be pretty knowledgeable physical therapy.

    After lunch I decided to see if the app I downloaded to pay for the laundry machine worked. What one does is open the app, give it access to your camera and then point it at the QR code on the machine you want to use. The laundry is in the basement, but there was some cell service there (this wouldn’t work without it), but it was slow. It took a few minutes but I managed to get both machines working, so I will have no more issues with a lack of coins for the machines.

    While I was waiting for my laundry to finish, I went to the Unimarc for some food and sunscreen. The packaging all has warnings (not the carrots I bought of course)…the chocolate says high in calories, saturated fat and sugar. As a result it’s quite good.

    I think I figured out why the stores were all closed early yesterday…buses stopped running at 5pm, and the metro shortened its hours, and there were more demonstrations at the Plaza Italia, and also in other cities in Chile. But there’s not much in the English language newspapers I can find. In Las Condes today, it was business as usual, and calm. But downtown, in the center, it’s a different environment.

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    First Practice in Santiago

    Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Practice Day 3, Monday, Santiago

    Santiago Tuesday: Last Practice Day


  • Practice Day 2, Santiago, Chile

    Santiago, Chile

    It was another warm (90ish) late spring day in Santiago. I practiced twice today, with a pro at the club and then with a Canadian I ran into. He’d come from Brazil where he said the courts were soft & wet and there was no altitude and seemed surprised by how differently the courts played (keep in mind it’s his 4th time here..). Today the courts were drier and were playing pretty fast.

    As was true yesterday, the restaurants were busy in the afternoon, and again there were basketball and volleyball games going on, though today the basketball game was being played by men, not boys.

    After leaving the club, I walked back to my apartment, stopping along the way to buy water. In front of the big OK store, there are always many motorbikes with cases on the back for deliveries and their owners just hanging out waiting for a delivery. The streets were quiet today, but it’s Sunday.

    I decided to do laundry. The laundry is in the parking garage. There was no signage, so I asked and finally found it. I was hoping there would be a coin machine there (it takes 1300 Chilean or just under $2 a load, only 500 and 100 coins). There was not, and the person at the desk had no change. Since all the washers were full, I took the laundry back upstairs and went down to search for change and to figure out how to add money to my Chilean SIM card. At my third stop, the OK store (very similar to a 7-11), I found someone who knew what I was talking about regarding the SIM card. So now my phone works, though I’m not sure how much data I purchased! But they had no change. I only needed about 400 so I went to the grocery store and got an item I wanted and which would give me that amount of change, and successfully figured out the laundry instructions…you’ll be glad to know I now have clean, albeit wet laundry (not enough coins for the dryer!). Next time it will be easier.

    The difficulty for me has been that very few people I’ve run into speak English and my Spanish is pretty rudimentary. But now my phone works (google translate is my friend). I am really wishing I’d paid more attention in Spanish class!

    The tournament begins tomorrow but I think I won’t play till Tuesday or Wednesday…I’m in a round robin of three people and the other two seem to be playing Tuesday. My first round match is likely to be a good one.

    Tomorrow I am going to try and find some practice and watch a bit of tennis.

    First Practice in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)


  • First Practice in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile

    The tournament I am playing next week is called the Alfredo Trullenque, an ITF Grade A. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s being played at Estadio Espanol, a club built along Spanish lines,with many interior courtyards, lovely gardens and many clay courts along with pools (indoor and out), soccer fields, a covered multipurpose area (tennis, and today basketball and volleyball games were going on) and more.

    There are many dining areas, formal and informal, indoors and out and all were being used today.

    I hit for a while with one of the pros at the club, and then hit some serves and ran some sprints afterwards. It was warm but there was a nice breeze and it’s very dry. There’s a bit of altitude, not much though, somewhere around 710 meters or about 2300 feet. So the ball carries some but not excessively. The court I hit on today was much better than any I remember from five years ago, there weren’t any more bad bounces than are usual for a red clay court.

    The draw is now published. There are six players in the draw, so we have two round robin groups of three players. There are two seeds, one for each group, but it doesn’t mean much…one of the players in my group just beat the second seed in Brazil 62 61 today.

    Here’s a link to the draws and results.


  • Santiago, Chile (Las Condes)

    Santiago, Chile

    I’m on the bottom half of the world now, in the Las Condes part of Santiago.

    The flight from Houston was delayed…not because the plane was late (it arrived around 5am; our flight was scheduled for about 10PM), but because no one brought it to the gate in time and when it arrived…it hadn’t been cleaned after the flight from Australia! It makes me wonder what the plane was doing…did it have an invisibility cloak? Did it decide to make a quick trip to Florida or Cancun? Anyway, we only arrived a bit late though it was a loooong walk from the plane to passport control. (Hint…there are about 10 restrooms along the way, so if there’s a wait at the first, keep walking). There were a lot of signs advertising this climate conference which has now been moved out of Chile due to the riots in late October.

    I had a taxi waiting, which I was happy about since several people approached me who weren’t official taxi drivers. There’s been a lot of vandalism here and rioting but honestly, we went through a lot of tunnels and I kept falling asleep, so didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary on the drive from the airport, but it was midday, not when the unrest has been occurring.

    I was able to enter my apartment and after putting my bags away, went to the bank (where there was an armed guard who was quite alert, by the door), and managed to get some Chilean pesos out of a machine which had instructions only in Spanish. Then I went to get a SIM card for my phone, in the subway area. It was humming, full of open shops in the middle and both sides of the passage. Then I went to the grocery store. The grocery seemed pretty normal. But there was a guard at the entry, and the entryway windows were covered with plywood. There was a very large area for avocados, another for citrus, and juice oranges, but overall the produce section was small. The refrigerated beverage section was huge and I even found bags of ice. Cookies seem very popular, chocolate bars less so.

    After I put my stuff away I decided to try and find the tennis club. Google took me to the parking garage. Instead walking a bit farther the same direction (which would have led me to the entrance), I walked around the opposite way which was over a mile, but I know now how to get to the club tomorrow for practice. (Turn right by the McDonalds).

    There were a lot of boarded up stores along Apoquindo Ave. but overall everything seemed here like business as usual. The area around the club had some really nice houses. A lot of them were in the half-timbered style of Normandy, and all had high fences with spikes on top. The club had a double fence.

    The weather here was nice today, warm but not humid and overcast so it didn’t feel very warm.

    Buenas noches.


  • Hungarian Triple

    On a train near Lake Balaton, Hungary

    Janos Latura and I won the mixed doubles in Hungary today over Eva Bogar Szabo and Peter Sakovics from Hungary 64 31 retired. We were down 3/1 in the first set (we couldn’t get in a warm up, the tournament had not hired the courts we had been warming up on past noon today), and nearly down 4-1…we won a 3-3 point to make it 2/3. Eva was banged up from playing three events this week…she had a back brace, knee braces and both quads taped…the joys of senior tennis. We didn’t even have to ask for new balls today, we were just automatically given them, as it should be.

    The weather today really changed, it was cool and overcast and the forecast was for rain all afternoon. We were lucky to get on 15 minutes early and get in our match before the rain hit.

    After the match we went to the Krystal Hotel where we received our prizes, for singles a metal thermos and trophies for mixed and doubles. No prize money, though that’s not why we play ITF tournaments, it’s more about seeing and meeting old and new friends and playing tennis.

    I am on the train now to Budapest and fly back tomorrow to the USA. It’s been a fun summer in Europe but will be great to get home again.

    Thanks for reading.


  • Hungarian Doubles Champion; Mixed Final Friday: New Balls Please

    Keszthely, Balaton Lake, Hungary

    I played the mixed doubles semis and our first and last women’s doubles match today.

    Our mixed was scheduled yesterday for “not before 2 pm” but this morning it was changed to “not before 12;30 pm”. Good thing my mixed partner looked again at the time. Today there were no practice courts.

    We got on a bit early and played the #1 seeds who were better than they looked. Before we took the court I asked the referee if he’d given our opponents balls. He said yes. Then I asked if he’d given them NEW balls and he said no. So I asked for new balls. After a big sigh and and eye roll I got them. (See the photo…the balls at the top were the ones we were supposed to use for our match; the ones below were the new ones after we played nearly two hours with them. In other words, they not only expected us to play with used balls, they expected us to play with really bad used balls!)

    Our opponents formed a yin/yang team, the guy was a runner and steady, and pretty much played back the whole match, while the woman whacked her forehand and overheads and was not a runner. We lost the first set 62, made some adjustments, went up 42 and won the deciding point to go up 52 (we are playing no-ad in doubles). We circled the correct mark and our opponents came across to our side (allowed in ITF tournaments), found another mark (also out), complained to the referee…who looked at the second mark, said he wasn’t sure if it was in our out (to be clear, the referee was nowhere near the court during the point in question, so did not even know which mark was the correct one). The referee then told us we had to replay the point! After more argument, we did and lost the point and therefore the game and then lost two more games to go down 54. However, we ended up winning the set 75 and the tiebreak 10-3. We play another unseeded team in the final, my doubles partner Eva and her partner.

    We played doubles about an hour later. The time was a TBA time, after suitable rest. “Suitable rest” turned out to be 10 minutes after my partner and one of our opponents finished their mixed match. We won the match 60 64. We were down 43 but played a good last three games. We beat Sylvia Singer and Encarnita Gomiz Ruiz. My partner was almost mummified…she had both quads wrapped, her back wrapped and both knees. So I played singles and covered the lobs and she did a good job whacking her forehand and hit some nice volleys too. We got a default from the third team in the round robin, so are Hungarian Champions.

    After the tennis, I biked to the train station and bought my ticket back to Budapest for tomorrow. The ticket seller didn’t speak English, but I managed to convey the information than I needed the train times and to buy a ticket for tomorrow, and bought the ticket.

    We play not before 1:30 tomorrow afternoon, and then I will bolt for Budapest right afterwards.

    Draws are here.


  • Singles Done & Won; Mixed Semis and Doubles Await; Biking Around Keszthely

    Keszthely, Balaton Lake, Hungary

    It was an early start today at the Hungarian International Grade A. I had a “not before 9:30” match and warmed up around 8:30 and we started a little early. I played Maria from Venezuela and won 60 60 to finish first in the four player round robin. Later in the day Yanos and I played Maria and her husband Ricardo in mixed and won 61 63. Ricardo was given used balls for us to use in our match. All ITF tournaments which give ranking points are required to give players new balls…long story short, I asked for new balls and with some reluctance, was given them. However, the tournament continues to give players used balls unless they insist on new ones for doubles. The doubles and mixed format here is no-ad and if teams split, a match tiebreak. We started off using ad scoring but the referee came out and told us to switch. I also found out today that Hungarian players pay only 45 euros entry fee while non-Hungarians pay 90 euros. Players 80+ pay no entry fee. So younger and foreign players subsidize the tournament for Hungarians.

    Tomorrow we play the top seeds in mixed and play one of the two other teams in women’s doubles.

    In between singles and mixed, I biked around a bit. I finally saw the Balaton Sea. It was pretty calm at the courts, but only a few meters away, it was windy on the water. I was surprised that the water was so green. Also, though I read it was shallow, it was odd to see people 50 yards from shore and not waist deep in the water. School started here already and so many of the restaurants and shops were closed already for the season (or at least during the week). There are one-hour “cruises” on the Sea available at the pier, which is not far from one of the tournament sites.

    I visited one more grocery store, it was a small one and pretty much a miniature version of the Spar…lots of ketchup, mustard, mayo, drinks, a small deli and a big bread area. There were some seasonal fruits and vegetables..but no apples! So far here I like Lidl the best of the grocery stores I’ve visited.

    Draws are here.


  • Windy & Cool Tuesday in Keszthely

    Keszthely, Balaton Region, Hungary

    Today was very cool and windy, quite a change from the mid 90s on Sunday! There are two venues here, the Fonix venue and the Ady venue. The Ady venue is bigger, with six courts outdoors plus two (not very good) practice courts and a bubble over two courts. From the patio overlooking the courts one can see the big church in the distance. As you can see the courts are in a long line and on a windy day such as today, there’s not much wind protection.

    I played Sylvia Singer from Austria. She speaks several languages, German, English, Italian and seems to understand Spanish pretty well too. The other interesting thing about Sylvia is that she’s a diabetic and has a port in her arm for insulin and she tests herself pretty often to see if she needs to eat or needs insulin. She’s pretty high energy too. I won 60 61…the one game I lost Sylvia was convinced I’d won when it was deuce, but I wouldn’t win a game that way…and she ended up winning the game with a nice smash and was so happy. I play Maria Faria tomorrow in singles and in mixed.

    Sylvia is the tall woman in purple; Eva, my opponent from yesterday is bottom right; and Maria, my opponent tomorrow is top left with Eva.

    I watched a couple of matches today; there were two American guys playing, both lost, Janos lost in 3 sets to the 5th seed and had 2 match points (the Hungarian guy was a very good counterpuncher, who footfaulted 90% of the time at least); Aussie Alan Walsh beat Hans Webber who played a good match; Alan was simply too good.

    Warming up this morning there were more Aussies on the court next to us than Americans in the entire tournament…four. And none were under 75.

    Draws are here


  • Bordeaux Champion & Avoir Bordeaux, Hola Espana

    Bordeaux, France

    Sue Bartlett and I played the 60s final today and finally played on Court 1, which was a good court! We were the 4th match after 9am (and not before 1:30). Fortunately, the three previous finals were straight sets, so we got on court not long after 2pm. And then we hogged the court for nearly three hours. The first set was very long, and had a rhythm till the end; we actually were on serve till 5-5 with no breaks which for 60+ women on red clay was sort of amazing. We had a lot of long deuce games though, starting with the first one which lasted over 10 minutes I think. I finally broke at 5-5, won the first point of the next game….and then lost 8 points in a row, then won 7 straight to win the set 76 (4). The second set was also tough. I got up 4-0 because Sue slowed down, then she seemed to get a second wind and won 3 games straight. I managed to close out the set 63, but it took quite a few match points. Sue played really well and I scrambled well. As one spectator told me, she volleyed well and I had good legs for running.

    Sue and I with our doubles prizes.

    Ross Persons had a tough match with Pierre Godfroid in the men’s 60s final, losing 76 75. Ross said he had some set points in the first set but that Godfroid came up with big serves on the big points and accurate volleys. Persons though won the men’s and mixed doubles.

    Darren Price fell in the semis of the men’s 45 doubles in a match tiebreak (navigating those is tricky) and Catherine Taylor (Mary on the draw) lost her first round robin doubles match, but has another tomorrow.

    I didn’t see much this year of Bordeaux. I had to play one match each day at an undefined time and also had smashed my toes at the beginning of the week; they were ok by today but I couldn’t walk a lot on them till today. But I had a nice time, loved the local food and club.

    There was a nice awards ceremony after the matches finished (they were waiting for us I think) with prize giving, and some food and drinks. I won a huge bottle of wine (see above) which I exchanged for a gift certificate at a local tennis shop which sponsored the tournament. And we received tea towels from the club for doubles (much more portable than wine!). So we all went shopping after the ceremony and I have some more tennis clothes and a RF hat!

    The Alles (Adrian plays in the 85s) are at a lot of these tournaments…always smiling and dressed to kill!

    I’m off to Mallorca tomorrow to train for the worlds in Portugal. It’s very hot there so hopefully I’ll survive the training Monday!

    Draws are here.

    Previous posts about Bordeaux


  • Doubles Champions; Singles Final Saturday

    Bordeaux, France

    It was another lovely day in Bordeaux. Sue Bartlett and I were rescheduled to the 6th match after 8:30 (not before 2pm)…we got on around 5pm. We played two Spaniards, Encarnacion Gomiz and Carmen Lang and won 60 60, (and there were 3 no-ad games we played). We played on Court 7, which is basically concrete with a bit of red clay on top, painted lines, dangerously slippery.

    Sue and I play the singles final tomorrow 4th match after 9am, not before 1:30pm but on Court 1, the first time either of us has played a match on the main bank of courts. It’s unlikely I’ll see much if anything of Bordeaux this trip but I’ve seen a lot of Villa Primrose, which is a lovely old club.

    Don’t forget to sweep the court after play!

    Ross Persons finds himself in three finals; he won the mixed 55 with Luisa Gouveia of Portugal; and he’s in the 60 men’s final vs Belgian Pierre Godfroid and the men’s doubles final with Fritz from the Netherlands.

    Darren Price from USA and Andrew Moraghan GBR are into the QF of the men’s 45 doubles, beating two Brits to reach the semis.

    And that’s a wrap on today’s action. Final tomorrow then on to the next stop Sunday morning.

    Draws

    Previous posts:

    Traveling…

    Bordeaux Doubles Day

    Bordeaux Thursday; Singles Success; Slippery Clay!


  • Bordeaux Thursday; Singles Success; Slippery Clay!

    Bordeaux, France

    I played my second round robin match today against Carmen Lang, who just won the Spanish closed nationals in the 60s. We were the 2nd match after 11am on court 7, the 4th match overall on that court. The 3rd match began about 11:30 but went three sets so we didn’t start till after 2pm. Meanwhile, Court 8 next door was open for hours, till after we finished our match, while many matches were waiting for courts. But I was told that it was not possible to change courts once posted on the schedule.

    Anyway, it was my only match, a pleasant afternoon and neither hot nor cold so it was not unpleasant to wait under the trees. I warmed up with Ross Persons who is in the men’s 60 semis after upsetting the #2 seed yesterday. He had the day off from singles today. We warmed up on the slippery fast indoor clay (picture a cement court with thickly painted lines and a lot of red dirt thrown on top and you get the picture…VERY slippery). It was a perfect warm up because Court 7 was also very slippery, very dry, quite fast and had painted lines and clay thrown over cement. It was also pretty windy at times.

    I won 61 62, and Carmen played a good second set. She really whacked her forehand any time the ball was short or mid court, and whacked it pretty well to the corners, but also made a fair number of mistakes, which helped me out. We again were given pretty water bottles (which I didn’t’ realize was in my backpack so I carried it home).

    I also caught up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, Andrew Moraghan, Catherine Taylor and Darren Price. Darren fell in three sets in men’s 50s, Catherine lost in W45 but Andrew won, to face the #2 seed next.

    On my way to the club I walked by my favorite Patisserie and sandwich shop for a “poulet aux crudités” or a chicken, veggie and egg sandwich on a fresh baguette. It was wonderful (and I have half left for tomorrow)…all for about $4. On the way back from the club I picked up some carrot salad which is so very good in France and had a wonderful dinner with that, some Tomme cheese and baguette.

    Tomorrow Sue Bartlett and I play doubles, our final RR match and then on Saturday we play each other in the singles final. It’s been a pretty spread out schedule with only a match a day starting Tuesday.

    Draws are here.

    Traveling…

    Bordeaux Doubles Day


  • Bordeaux Doubles Day

    Bordeaux, France

    Today was a pretty relaxing one since I only had one doubles match, 2nd match on court 9 after 2pm. We started around 3:30 or so I think and played Sylvia Shipley and Fiona Walker, whom we’d played in singles yesterday. We won 60 61. Here the format is no ad and a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. We forgot about the no ad on our first deuce and won the point (and game; we asked the referee and he said points played in good faith stood); we remembered it the second time and lost the point.

    Sue won her round robin group today while I still have to play my second round robin match tomorrow. I play fourth match on court 7, 2nd match after 11am. So maybe around 1, 2 or3pm. It depends on the length of matches earlier in the day.

    Here’s a photo of Sue Bartlett and me. She’s playing the deuce side and when she comes to net for some reason our opponents lobbed me. Hmmmmm. We don’t have doubles tomorrow so she has an off day to tour a bit. My touring day will be on Saturday.

    Draws are here.

    Traveling…


  • Traveling…

    Bordeaux, France, Wednesday (WiFi was down Tuesday….)

    After a long weekend watching my nephew getting married (The Carmel Mission Church is beautiful as was the wedding), I drove to SFO. I had a stop in Scott’s Valley (bear Santa Cruz) for a tennis match. We interrupted the match several times to listen to Wimbledon Radio as the men’s final kept going…

    I flew Tap Airlines to Lisbon. It arrived late but I made my connection. Neither flight left from a gate. We were bused to the terminal a long way. There were only stairs, not ramps.

    I cleared passport control and security and made my flight where we waited for quite a while, 20-30 minutes outside on steps for a bus, then once again were driven to the plane.

    The flight to Bordeaux was smooth and my bags came pretty quickly. I arrived at my lodgings on time. After a walk to the market I went to the club, only 10 minutes away by foot and hit some balls with Sue Bartlett, with whom I am playing doubles this week. The courts, red clay of course, are very very dry and quite fast for red clay.

    I won my first round on Tuesday over Sylvia Shipley from Great Britain. Sue had a tough match with Fiona Walker, winning 75 64. The second set was pretty topsy-turvy. Sue led 30- 40-15, Fiona leveled at 4-4, redlining her ground strokes. Sue was up 5-4 but down 40-0 with Fiona serving and won five points on the trot to finish the match. Sylvia is shown below.

    I play the #1 Spanish player tomorrow, Thursday, but we play Fiona and Shirley today in doubles.

    Ross Persons from the USA, a member of the men’s 60 Cup team is here, one of the few Americans in the draw.

    Draws are here.


  • Men’s 75 Grass Moves to Rancho Mirage November 19-23 or 24

    The Men’s 75 Grass has found at home in Rancho Mirage, CA at the Mission Hills Country Club. Steve Solomon, who runs the 60 Hard Courts will take over this event from the Wesson LTC in Michigan.

    Here’s the link to the tournament home page:https://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=239813

    For questions, go to the home page which has Steve’s phone and email listed and hotel information

    Note that the 75s will start on Tuesday the 19th and finish on the following Sunday or Monday according to the website.


  • Successful Semis in Poertschach

    June 13, 2019, Poertschach, Austria

    The order of play here was posted pretty late yesterday (about 9:30pm), due to the thunderstorms which delayed play. I was scheduled for 9am which meant an early warm up. Fortunately Ellen Neumann and her friend Katy Boeroecz (who was in the 55 semis) allowed me to warm up with them!

    I played Cornelia Keller from Germany. We played on Center Court (only women’s matches were scheduled for such an early hour!). I won 60 61 and then watched the other women’s 60s semis for a while. I knew for sure I’d play another lefty, since the other semifinalists were both lefties. In the end Karin Theeuwes of the Netherlands won 75 75 over the #2 seed, Sylvia Reigl.

    I also watched a bit of Lucie Schwab’s final…she looked tired and her wrist was taped but she played very cleverly, using lots of spins and angles and drops and won 63 63 to take the 50s division over Karola Thumm. In the women’s 75s, Michelle Bichon beat Heide Orth again, in two close, tough sets. Laura DiVittori beat Katy in the 55s semis and Barbora Koutna took out Lisa Prechtl, so they face each other tomorrow. DiVittori played smart, mixing up the pace of her serve and ground strokes and holding off a determined opponent in the second set, winning 75 64. Koutna used her superior groundstrokes to power past Prechtl. In men’s 85’s, Aussie Adrian Alle lost but German Herbert Althaus won. Werner, the German 80s player I hit with the other day lost to an unseeded player who moved very well. Wayne Crowley of Australia won in men’s 65s. Heidi Eisterlehner, with whom I trained the second day I was here beat Carol Campling of Australia 61 61. Canada’s Taras Beyko was playing top seeded Alexander Lindholm when I left and the two were having a good, even battle in the first set. I ran into Danny Shaw, and American living in Europe. He was playing doubles with Keith Porter of Canada and mixed with an Austrian.

    The weather today was great, no rain, sunny and warm. They had a nice display of trophies up today since some finals were already played.

    I play the singles final tomorrow and doubles semis (50s).

    Draws are here.


  • The Sun Returns…then So Does the Thunderstorm

    Wednesday June 12, 2019, Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    This morning was beautiful and sunny here in Carinthia (the sun rises at 5am!). I hit midday with Laura DiVittorio (Italy, W55), and watched a little tennis. I ran into an Austrian friend and we arranged to hit at 3:30.

    I went back to my hotel for lunch and to do some writing (no, not this blog). I had the drapes shut so I could see the screens and did hear noises from time to time but thought it was the AC cycling on (it wasn’t…I had actually turned it off). A bit after 3pm I left the hotel and saw that the ground was wet. It was sunny…I had totally missed a couple of downpours. The practice court was soaked, and matches delayed. Back to the hotel for a bit.

    I went back around 5pm to see if my doubles partner was playing yet (she ended up coming on court after 6:30pm) and stayed to watch a really exciting women’s 50s match between #2 seeded Lucie Schwab (Austria) and #3 Petra Dobusch (Germany). This match was of a high level (the power was ridiculous) featuring huge forehands and service returns, insanely powerful overheads and magical down the line slices from Petra and gorgeous drops, slices that didn’t bounce (but still were returned), and lovely heavy topspin forehands combined with ferocious slice forehands from Lucie. Lucie won the first set before I started watching. Petra won the second 64. The two players didn’t take much of a break between sets, neither left the court and they didn’t even ask for new balls! Lucie won the first two games quickly; Petra rebounded, finding the court again from 2-3 down to go up 5-3 (Lucie gifted her the 53 game with two double faults and errors). Petra then blinked a bit…backed off with the power allowing Lucie to raise the ball more and hit some gorgeous dropshots, to win the final four games. This match was on court 11, the last court in the club. It should have been on a show court, it was a semifinal, or even center court. But center court seems to have only men’s matches. OK…there are more men than women by at least a 3/1 ratio but some women’s matches (and this was one) should be on center…and Lucie is Austrian!

    The other match I watched was a 35s women’s match (on a show court) which was in the third set when I sat down. It was interesting as it was between a counterpuncher who slid beautifully and an aggressive baseline who occasionally went to net. Apparently, after I left, one of them injured an ankle (the blonde aggressive baseliner). It was either Katherina Jacob or Christine Kraupa. Scores aren’t posted, so obviously it was the loser of that match. (I’ll update with the winner later). Update: Kraupa won by retirement, so Jacob was the one who was injured (taken to the hospital).

    American Bruce Barrett was upset in the quarters today. That match was next to the women’s 50 match, but other results aren’t posted yet.

    I didn’t play a match today…the match which went unfinished yesterday turned into a default today as the Austrian player had a conflict. So actually the four seeds all reached the semis and I play the German Cornelia Keller while two lefties battle it out on the bottom half of the draw.

    Draws are here.


  • Sunny Morning, Donner & Blitzen Afternoon

    Today was a tale of two different weather patterns: in the morning and early afternoon it was quite warm and muggy, but by mid afternoon it was cloudy and thunder and lightning were heard and seen. And then it rained on and off the rest of the day.

    I played Gundi Wieland for the second time in less than a week (we played last Friday). I won 60 60 but it was a better match than last week. We played at a secondary site, the Leonstein Club. The courts there were harder, more level and since it was warm, they were dry too, so the ball ran a bit more on the surface (not that much more…it was still red clay after all).

    After our match Gundi and I had a drink at the main club. After lunch I wandered back to the club to scout a match, the winner of which I would play in the semis, Inge from Austria and Cornelia from Germany. Inge hits hard and is very athletic and Cornelia is a retriever with funky but consistent strokes. I left when it started pouring; and went back later…they were still playing but didn’t finish, they are tied at a set apiece and Cornelia up 21 in the third. On the other side of the draw are two lefties, the 2nd and 3rd seeds.

    There are a few Americans here. Danny Shaw, who lives in Europe but who is originally from San Diego played Max Bates from Australia first round (not a good draw) and fell in straight sets. Bruce Barrett, M70, won. Veronica Lima de Angelis retired down 3/0 in the third in women’s 60s. Hans Weber, M75, prevailed. Keith Porter, M65, Canada lost in three sets.

    The thunder and lightning ⛈ went on till dark, but tomorrow should be a good day. I don’t play tomorrow because Cornelia and Inge didn’t finish. They didn’t finish because they had a 1:30 start since Inge is local and gets afternoon start times every day…the one accommodation impacting the rest of the draw and delaying it by a day. 🤔

    Draws are here.


  • Practice Day in Warm and Sunny Austria

    While it’s raining in England….it was warm (upper 80s) and sunny on the “Austrian Riviera”, and it’s supposed to hit 90 by Friday.

    I had a hit set up today at 11, but my practice partner strained something so I wandered down to the courts to see if I could find someone interested in hitting. I ran into Herbert Althaus who plays in the 85s, and he said his friend Werner needed a hit. Werner is the top seed in men’s 80s and is tall and walks very fast. The court I had been told was at the Leonstein courts up the road, but it turns out it was at the PTC (Poertschach Tennis Club) further up the hill abutting the railroad track (literally right next to the end of the courts). The court reservation had been made by a friend of the person I was supposed to hit with so there was initially a bit of confusion at the PTC as well, but it was soon sorted and we were hitting.

    Werner isn’t super fast but he hits a good ball and we had a great hit. It was not only warm but a bit humid and I was soaked at the end.

    I went to the store (Billa) to get lunch stuff and drinks (along with a lot of other people, it was pretty packed), and after lunch watched a bit of the match between Gundi Wieland and Ingrid Bruckner. I play the winner tomorrow which, as I expected, was Gundi. Both are lefties…there are a lot of lefties in this draw.

    Overall it was a mellow day, really warm and lots of people were swimming in the lake. Or having a drink in the shade.

    I play at 11:30 tomorrow (though looking at the schedule, I expect the tournament to be an hour behind schedule) and there’s a pretty good chance of thunderstorms all afternoon so I hope I get the match in without too much delay.

    And that’s it for Poertschach today.

    Draws are here.

    PTC, Interesting Window, Babolat balls are heavy, door to go with the windows

  • Werzer Cup Final Matches; European Regional Championships Draws

    Rafa, 12 French Opens; Dominic Thiem…fought so hard. I enjoyed listening the to the French Open final on Radio Roland Garros (Via Tuned In’s ATP Radio station, it’s great), while watching Eurosport. So much easier to watch when you are in the same time zone. Today was a pretty mellow day…watched some seniors tennis, watched Rafa/Thiem, recovery massage etc. Back to practicing tomorrow with Laura Vittori from Italy, then I play my first round of the next tournament Tuesday.

    The Werzer Cup finished today with a few singles matches (men’s singles of course on center court while the women were on a side court, that’s the way it goes here). Even when the 50s women’s final featured a fine Austrian player…

    Sabine Schmitz and Gundi Weiland won the 60 doubles quite easily today. Gundi teamed with Canada’s Keith Porter to win the 60 mixed. Taras Beyko, Canada, won the men’s 50s. Ted Bowen, USA (whom I just met…he’s from Ft. Lauderdale and has been playing tennis only 5 years!) won the 75 mixed with Kim Blackburn from Australia. That’s about it for North American winners (along with King Van Nostrand, 85 singles and doubles, and Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek, M75 doubles).

    Sabine Schmitz & Gundi Weiland, left, W60 doubles champions

    The European Regional Championships begin tomorrow and I play on Tuesday morning. In my division, the players are pretty similar except Sabine Schmitz has gone home. The 60 singles draw is below and the rest of the draws are here.

    Draws are here.  (Werzer Cup)


  • Werzer Cup Singles Champion

    I didn’t get to catch much of the French Open today because I had three matches…but did catch Thiem’s third (and final) match point and the first five games of the women’s final..(congrats to Ash Barty!).

    I played Sabine Schmitz today and it was a pretty good match, even at the beginning as Sabine is an attacking player who mixed up drop shots and approach shots effectively. As the match went on I countered better and won 62 61, but we had some good points and the range of my lobs (according to Sabine) was spot on (the lines).

    After having a drink with Sabine I got ready for our 2:30 doubles match in women’s 50s. We won our first match 64 61 against a Dutch duo. It was no-ad scoring which always comes as a shock to me even though if’s quite common in Europe to play this format.

    We agreed to play the final an hour later against Lucie Schwab and Valdone Povilioniene. Schwab is a very good player, a former world champion and once they got warmed up won a lot of points crossing and drop volleying. We had a chance in the first set but lost the 4-3 game, Valdone relaxed then and we lost 64 62. It was a fun match though, good points.

    Top: Ellen, Lucie and Carolyn; bottom left, Sabine and me after the match; bottom right, me with the wine and trophy.

    After doubles Valdone had to rush off to play mixed while Lucie, Ellen and I went to have a drink (ok, fizzy water for me), and had our photos taken.

    Tomorrow I have a day off, practice on Monday and then start the next tournament on Tuesday where I will probably play Gundi Wieland first round.

    Draws are here. 


  • King Van Nostrand Sweeps 85s; San Diegans Win 75 Doubles

    While in a rain delay during Thiem/Novack (and the Barty/Anisimova semi was…streaky).

    I won my singles semis against Gundi Wieland from Germany. She beat the #3 seed yesterday; I won 60 60, though we had some good points. Gundi is the second straight lefty I’ve played and I practiced with a lefty most of last week…so it will be a bit weird playing a righty tomorrow! However, I warmed up with my doubles partner, Ellen Neumann who is in the 55s and a righty.

    Ellen played an excellent match against Laura DiVittori who is the #2 seed in the 55s. When I started watching it was the beginning of the third set and there wasn’t much between the two of them…believe perhaps. Laura won 75 in the third set, rallying from 1-4 and 4-5 down. Lots of slices and drop shots and from Ellen, great drives, from DiVittori, high changeups at critical times.

    King Van Nostrand beat his doubles partner, Herbert Althaus of Germany in the 85 singles final and then teamed with him to beat Hans Jell of Austria and Ashley from New Zealand. Ashely was really happy since they won 8 games. King is on his way home to Florida after this tournament.

    Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek won the 75 doubles over Peter Pokorny and his partner, and they are off, Dave to Spain and Karl to his native Czech Republic. Karl lost his semifinal singles today.

    Lisa Prechtel won her singles today and plays DiVittori in the 55 singles final.

    Taras Beyko from Canada was playing again on Center Court and Germany’s Stephanie Kolar was on a side court playing W40.

    Michel Bichon beat Heide Orth in the 75s in three sets but they are the top seeds next week, so may play again soon.

    They are using Babolat Team balls (not available in the USA…and they come in a metal can!). 8 Euros for 3 balls or you can rent them with a 5 euro deposit. Needless to say we search for lost balls and on the warm up court there is a lot of foliage at the end and side of the court where balls go to hide. So far we’ve found them all.

    Lake Worth, DiVittori, Neumann, Prechtel, Kolar, Beyko, W60, Sabine, Karl & Dave

    one.

    Draws are here. 


  • Let the Tournament Begin

    So the French Open ended early on a delayed quarterfinal day…so I’m writing without that distraction! Who will reach the final: Konta vs Vondrousova; Anisimova vs Barty; Fed vs Rafa; Thiem vs Djokokovic?

    Onto the tennis at the Werzer Cup in Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria.

    I played my first round match today. I had a good warm up with Laura DiVittori from Italy, who plays in the women’s 55. I played Shirley Friedl who is a good player from Austria (lives in France too). However I won 60 60 in under an hour because she has a bad back, a stress fracture in her right foot and also a partially torn plantar in the same foot. It was nice of her to give me a match (and she won one yesterday), but I hope she heals up soon.

    Speaking of injuries…Luisa Gouveia hurt her right arm (she’s a righty with a one-handed backhand)…falling off a hover board while trying to jump (hmmm), so is playing lefty this week and her forehand looks good…she won a match yesterday, but lamented her lack of a serve and volley left handed! She did lose today however.

    Karl Placek from San Diego played the #2 seed today in men’s 75, Johannes Muehlenburg from Austria. Placek won the first set, lost the second and it looked bad for him when he went 41 down in the third. Muehlenburg had several points to go up 52, but Karl saved a big one by hitting a behind his back lob over Muehlenburg for a winner. He was in control from then on, even if he didn’t got to net as often as his doubles partner Dave Van Den Berg wanted him to (which was every point). He’s in the semis now.

    Karl Placek after a 3+ hour win today

    King Van Nostrand won today in the 85s over Adrian Alle to advance to the final against his doubles partner, Herbert Althaus. Althaus is always smiling, talking, really a nice guy and a good player…my money is on King though.

    Adrian Alle left, King Van Nostrand, right

    Bruce Barrett, USA fell to his doubles partner from GBR, Chris Ornstein and they were having a tough time in doubles when I left, playing Velasquez and Hoefling.

    In doubles, Ellen Neumann and I have to play in the 50s and are in the semis (5 teams). So that will be a challenge, but hopefully a fun one.

    Draws are here.