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.
Many of the games with his left-handed opponent went to multiple deuces with a total of 7 breaks in those two sets but Mas was able to win the critical points to close out the match. He then had an easy match in the semis playing against a jovial and very talkative Koper local and then met the #2 seed in the finals. After losing the first set 5-7, he surged back with a 6-1 win in the second set and was up 5-2 when the wheels came off. His Slovenian opponent brought it back to 5-all, then they each held to put them into a tiebreak. Both players had match points in the tiebreak but the Slovenian won the final point for a 11-9 victory, much to the delight of the 15 or so locals who had been watching. They were very gracious as all of them came to shake Mas’ hand and congratulate him on a great match.
Mas also managed to pick up a doubles partner from the Netherlands with whom he lost in the 35+ doubles finals against a much younger team 6-0, 6-4. A new friend made and to stay in touch with … so it was all good!!
Sue, on the other hand, went into her first match with some trepidation. Because there were only 4 ladies in the tournament, they collapsed the draw to the youngest division … 45+ and made it a round robin. Her first match was against a fit and athletic 45 year old but experience and treachery won easily over youth, speed and power, giving Sue a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Her next match took her 3 sets in a 3 hour marathon prior to which Sue observed her opponent smoking at least 3 cigarettes and during which her opponent drank little or no water, refreshing herself on changeovers with a couple of cans of beer! After cruising to an easy 6-2 win in the first set, her opponent started playing better and won the second 6-3. But after a 10-minute break, Sue proved to be the fitter of the two (I guess the beer and cigarettes caught up) and with a change of tactics beat her Slovenian opponent 6-1. Sue beat her final opponent easily with a 6-1, 6-1 victory thereby winning the tournament. At the presentation ceremony, the tournament director pointed out that she was very impressed with the oldest woman (Sue) beating out her younger competition to win the tournament.
We loved Slovenia and definitely hope to make another visit in the future: the people are friendly and calm. The children are well behaved and calm. Even the dogs are calm - we never heard a dog bark the whole time we were there. The water was so clean and crisp tasting ... we began to think they added something to the water to keep everyone so calm!
We rented an apartment through Airbnb while we were here and our landlady was wonderful - plying us with wine, pears and even ironed our clothes for us. While on the subject of food - the fruit is divine. We visited the local market and have been overindulging on cherries, peaches, apricots and melon - all superbly sweet and dripping with juice - they are small and don’t look perfect like in the US, but their taste is unsurpassed. In between our matches we did get to see a bit of Koper which was another delightful experience.
Next stop … Grottammare, Italy … a 5 1/2 hour drive which Sue took on herself as Mas was exhausted after playing a 3 hour singles final followed by the doubles final. Check back in a few days … we’re sure we’ll have plenty to say about the food (which everyone knows is incredible) and tell you more about our tennis. We’re hoping that we will be able to play mixed in this tournament!
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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