Today I awoke to find the ground wet, but I know how quickly the courts dry here so thought there might be no delay for my scheduled 10am match. After breakfast, a bit before 9am, I walked over to the courts and was told my match would be on time…but it kept raining and eventually it was postponed till 11…but only 30 minutes at a time. The last rain finally put puddles on the courts, which were dried using old towels!
I got in about a 10 minute hit with Laura DiVitorri…it took 10 minutes to walk all the way to the practice courts, 10 min back….it’s a large facility!
I played Katrin Dippner. I’ve played her a couple of times in Mallorca, but the conditions today were much different from Spain, much heavier (it was raining during most of the match) and it was difficult to get the balls do do much but just plop on the court into her hitting zone (which is low), and the air was very still. The clay here always seems quite heavy and soft…but add rain to the equation and it’s a different experience to playing on a sunny warm day (ask Rafa!). She played very well, hitting deep and volleying and hitting her overhead/swing volleys accurately and consistently. Fortunately, my drop shot came to my aid on the dead court! In the end I won 62 62, but we had a lot of close games.
A couple of other Americans took home gold medals: Dan Grossman won the 60 and 70 doubles, with Polo Cowan (USA) and Andrew Rae (AUS) respectively.
Below: Grossman & Cowan
After the match I worked out a bit, had lunch and a bit of massage (all the walking here takes a toll on my calves!) and waited for the awards ceremony which was long and loud (music was blaring as were the announcements). There were numerous categories…men’s/women’s singles & doubles, mixed, consolation and the “B” tournament (a separate 1-set tournament for 2nd round losers)…winners and runners up (and singles semifinalists) walked on a carpet up to a podium to receive prizes…which were racquet bags for doubles winners and medals and trophies and cash for singles winners and finalists.
The ceremony finally ended around 6:30…I stopped at the gym for 20 minutes and finished the day with a nice dinner. Tomorrow I am off to Istanbul in the evening and then to France on Easter Sunday morning.
The tournament here is quite well organized, and since nearly all players stay on site at Alibey Manavgat, the courts are easy to access. Staying her is a lot like a land-based cruise ship, I really didn’t get out to see anything this trip…though I have been all over Turkey in the past.