Sue has been selected to represent the USA at the World Team Championships as a member of the Women's 70 Team. So after a short but very sweet few weeks back home, it was an exhausting journey from Boston – Munich – Trieste – Umag, where the team arrived, practiced, slept, practiced again and managed to lose in the first round to Great Britain (the 4th seeds). Shockingly, the 1st seeds (France) also were knocked out on the first day by South Africa.
We came to Breda, The Netherlands because the couple we befriended during the tournament in Grottamarre, Italy was organizing this tournament. The weather did not cooperate for the first 4 days of the tournament. Mas was not happy … it was cold and wet … and in addition he managed to wrench his back picking up our luggage with all those heavy trophies in them (ha, ha).
Even though it rained Monday and Tuesday morning, we were able to play our first single matches Tuesday afternoon. Once again there was no W70+ division so Sue had to play down in the 60+ division. Her first match was against a Belgium woman who was a physical trainer and could run EVERYTHING down. It was a long (nearly 3 hours) match which Sue eventually won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
It has been such a wonderful 2 weeks here in Tuscany, we are torn between wanting to stay for another week or moving on to our next activity … our last ITF tournament in Breda, The Netherlands. It’s a good thing the villa here is booked so there wasn’t any room for discussion about extending our stay.
So much has been written about the Tuscany area of Italy that we were a bit skeptical and wondered whether it would meet our expectations … WRONG! It is as wonderful as it has been described by our friends and family, in books and movies over many years. Certainly it is not for everyone. If you don’t like great food and wine, miles and miles (or kilometers here) of beautiful vistas, narrow, winding roads up to villages and towns that have been here for over a thousand years, clean, fresh air and friendly, jovial people, don’t come to Tuscany!
First, a little housekeeping. Several folks have let us know that they cannot see all the videos. Some of them don’t come up at all and some stop and go. We have switched all of them to come through VIMEO (something like YouTube), so there shouldn't be any more problems. If you still have trouble, let us know … we want you to have the full experience!
It was another day of rain on Saturday so it looked like no doubles and since we had to leave Sunday morning, it wasn’t looking good for a possible 4th win in the Mixed Doubles.
A short walk from our hotel in Barcelona to the subway which put us right inside the terminal at the airport, an hour and a half plane trip to Milan, then an hour and a half bus ride to Lugano and finally a short taxi ride to the Hotel Pestalozzi Lugano where we arrived in a semi-comatose state after partying until the wee hours and having to struggle out of bed at 6:30am. The hotel is small and basic but right in the city centre and only a 10 minute walk to the tennis courts.
Lugano is located in the southern part of Switzerland, bordering Italy, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino.
Sue's Spanish certainly came in handy because almost everyone spoke Spanish here in Barcelona although the semi-official language is Catalán. We noticed that all the subway station names are in Catalán but much of the signage was in all three languages. During the week, we enjoyed the wide avenues in much of the city as well as the narrow streets in the older neighborhoods opening up to small plazas dotted with cafes where one could eat several dishes of tapas and drink a beer or two for around $15.
It's back to the warm weather here in Barcelona ... Yay!! We flew in mid-afternoon and were surprised how empty the airport was until we realized it was Sunday. Figuring out the subway system was a bit challenging but now, having used it every day, we think it is terrific. We have been traveling everywhere on a 5 day unlimited pass for the subway, buses and trams which only cost about $35. After checking into the tournament hotel, which is 10 minutes walk from the courts, we took the subway "downtown" to enjoyed our first Tapas dinner.
Until a couple of days ago, the weather has been typically English … cloudy with a bit of rain on and off. But no complaints … we sat with our friend and USTA president, Katrina Adams, in the International Box and watched Sam Querrey beat Novak Djokovic last Saturday, went to see Carol King in Hyde Park on Sunday and to the theatre Monday evening. More Wimbledon tennis on Monday and Tuesday with lunch in the Members Enclosure and to top it all off … watched Roger Federer come back from two sets down to beat Marin Cilic in a thrilling 5 set match on Centre Court on Wednesday. Life doesn’t get much better! We feel very fortunate.
We made it to London … attended the pre-Wimbledon IC Ball at the Dorchester Hotel (a very posh, black tie affair) last Saturday night, took our picture with the Davis Cup Trophy, which was on display at the ball and met up with many friends that we haven’t seen in several years. After much eating, drinking and dancing, we rolled home at about 1am. On Sunday, we attended the Garden Party at the Hurlingham Club, which is an annual pre-Wimbledon event. There we watched a doubles exhibition with Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares (the #3 seeds at
We have been gifted with another beautiful week of weather … low 70s during the day and cool nights … perfect for sleeping! Grottammare is a small city on the eastern coast of Italy to which we wouldn't think of coming save for the tennis tournament here. What struck us immediately is that most people here don’t speak english. English was pretty commonplace in Prague, Vienna and Koper, so it took us a bit by surprise that there was wasn’t much english spoken here. The good news is that we have had to learn enough Italian to get by.
Koper, Slovenia is a beautiful country with coastline, flatlands, hills and mountains. We have hit the weather just right with warm days and cool nights. Mas did his usual first match, “getting my monies-worth” tennis but managed to beat the #1 seed (a player from Italy) in 3 sets, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 in a little over 3 hours. Mas was serving for the first set at 6-5, managed to lose that game, lose the tiebreak but then regained his composure in the following sets.
We have finished our visits to the Czech Republic and Austria ICs with our Bahamas IC teammates and friends. Next stop ... Slovenia. More about that down below but first, a bit of a recap of our IC visits.
Prague was delightful. If you like beer, bread, sausages, meat and potatoes, you’ll be in heaven. There were some very good wines and other culinary treats, but the beer stood out as incomparable to what we’ve drunk elsewhere in our travels around the world.
After a rather grueling 24 hours of traveling (ferry from Martha's Vineyard to Woods Hole [our Cape air flight was cancelled due to weather], then a bus to Logan Airport in Boston, a 6 hours layover in London and finally we made it to our first stop in Prague, Czech Republic where we will be playing an IC Czech Republic tennis event.
We took advantage of our early arrival to take in some of the many sights here in Prague, get some well-deserve rest and prepare for matches starting tomorrow.
Sue & I are elated that so many people have asked us to keep them informed about our tennis travels and results in the tournaments that we enter together and separately. In the past, we have sent emails to our friends and family but with so many of you wanting to be kept up-to-date with our tennis going-ons, we thought a blog would be a better vehicle. So here we are!
While Sue has been playing most of her life, I took up tennis a bit later, at the tender age of 28. It was tennis that brought us together over 25 years ago and it continues to be an important part of our lives. We hope you enjoy our ramblings, pictures and videos that we post here and will comment if you have the time and inclination.
We start our European sojourn Monday in Prague, Czech Republic and then on to Koper, Slovenia ... look for our next post in a few days.
Mas Kimball has been a pro at Farm Neck since 2006. He & his wife, Sue, have traveled throughout the United States and internationally ... mostly to play tennis.
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