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ITF Seniors World Championships -- Florida Player Blog -- Monday

March 29, 2010 07:00 PM

ITF Seniors World Team Championships
March 29-April 3, 2010
Mexico City, Mexico

By Trish Riddell

March 29 -- Monday

Day One!  Victory!! The usa women's 35 cup team (Lenglen Cup) started on a good note today.  We were victorious against the Turkish team.  Good start.   Our team made up of myself, Trish RIddell from Maitland, Florida; Mary Dailey from Delray Beach, Florida; Michelle King from Austin, Texas; and "rookie" Mary Beth Williams from Pensylvannia. 

I only arrived on Saturday night, while my teammates arrived on Friday, giving them a good day's worth of practice on Saturday.  We practiced on Sunday morning at the club Yaqui - VERY nice!  We were all struggling a little with the altitude - causing the balls to F-L-Y! plus the courts are super super fast - meaning attempting to catch the ball early and short points!  I had another hitting session with a couple of the 45 players and things were beginning to improve.

The highlight of yesterday was most definitely the opening ceremonies, which were held and Club Chapultapec, we entered a lawn area filled with stands and women dressed in traditional attire.  We then had an extensive photo session see attached pics!!  We all lined up and entered the stadium to a warm welcome! It was awesome.  Some of the older players, veterans of these events even commented "the best ever" -BUT the speeches had just begun!! 

Finally we left the court and found our seats in the stand and watched a very good mix of traditional dancing, although two or three would have been preferable to the ten or twelve they did!!  Everyone was getting a little cold and hungry.  We were all about to leave when we had to stop and observe a fantastic fireworks display - PHENOMENAL!!  Great finish. 

We returned to the lawn where food stands had been set up, but most of us headed back to our hotel.  All the USA teams are staying at the same hotel which is awesome since we can catch up and keep track of everyone's success.  Since it was so late last night I apologize for not starting this sooner.

On to the REAL day one and the competition:  There are 11 teams in our division.  They divided us into 3 groups, two of four and one of three.  We are in the group of three with Great Britain, the number 3 seed and Turkey.  As I mentioned at the beginning - we beat Turkey today. We have a bye tomorrow and then play Great Britain on Wednesday.  SO - victory one under our belt; looking forward to a great practice tomorrow and then watch out GB!!  I shall check in tomorrow. NITE

By Carolyn Nichols
March 29 -- Monday

The Cup competition officially began today in Mexico City. My team, the Maureen Connolly Cup team, had a bye. We took the 8am bus along with the other seeded teams in our competition, France, Great Britain and Netherlands, all of whom had the day off from competition today. We were all eager to practice and get more used to the altitude and courts. We had only had an hour on the courts yesterday. These courts are really unique, to put it kindly. They seem to be cement courts, with painted lines, upon which a little red clay has been dusted, enough to slip on anyway and my shoes are certainly red. They don’t resemble any clay courts I’ve ever played on before. The balls either skid if they hit a bare patch (and leave a white mark, which is really the cement showing through) or kick up if they hit more clay. We were on the practice courts today, not the match courts.

The Reforma Club is a delightful place other than the courts. There is a full restaurant, good food and reasonable prices, overlooking the pools and grassy area surrounding the pool. They handed out a tournament program, which had listed the price of various services…racquet stringing, $10 (US); massage $10 (US)…for about an hour! When I saw that price, I thought maybe it was a mistake, but, I had a massage and with a tip it was just over $12, can’t beat that.

The US men’s 55 team, Austria Cup, is also playing at Reforma. They played So Africa today and won 3/0. I had dinner with them, Tom Smith, Fred Robinson (and his ipod Spanish translation ap that has a mind of its own), Chris Bennett and Joe Bouquin. We hit the popular Italian restaurant, and Fred found out why he kept getting confused looks when he asked for no ice (sin hielo = without ice); Fred’s IPOD ap translated “ice” as hiso, which does not mean ice. You had to be there.

In other US action: Men’s 35s won; Men’s 40s had the day off; Men’s 45, day off; Men’s 50 & 55 won; women’s 35 won; women’s 40, 45, and 55 day off; women’s 50 won. US women's 35s team are the only unseeded team...they have a tough match tomorrow against Great Britain. 

We play Turkey tomorrow, then Sweden in our round robin. Turkey brought a large delegation this year. They have hosted the world championships several times and since they started doing that, they have been much more active in international team play.

Here’s a link to the article about the opening ceremonies last night and it includes some photos. I was able to carry the US flag for our delegation and that was really special. Walking into the stadium carrying the flag…it gave me goose bumps, really a fantastic feeling. Below are a photo of me as we were getting ready to walk into the stadium, and one of the Turkish delegation marching in.


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