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ITF Super-Seniors Blog: Florida's Larry Turville, Sept. 9-10

September 10, 2012 09:37 AM
Larry Turville of Naples, Fla., the playing captain of the U.S. Von Cramm Cup (Men's 60 & over) team, blogs from the 32nd International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super-Seniors World Team Championships hosted by the Hrvatski Teniski Savez (Croatian Tennis Association), Sept. 10-15, 2012 in Umag, Croatia.

MONDAY, SEPT. 10

turville_blog_9-10
From left to right: Tony Dawson, Larry Turville,
Paul Wulf and Wesley Jackson
Today is scouting day; we will try to view our opponents for Tuesday and Wednesday, plus a few more. Naturally, the more you can learn the better. I was selected by the USTA to be the captain, not quite sure of the process, which means that I have to put together the lineup each day. Although being captain is an honor, it involves a bit of decisions, meetings and paperwork which I'm happy to have someone else do. That said I will do my duty and be the best captain I can be. 

The format is similar to Davis Cup with two singles matches and one doubles. Matches start at 10am with the #2 singles first, then #1 to follow and finally doubles after singles with a little break in between, depending if the #1 singles is playing in the doubles. Normally our lineup is myself at #1, not just because I'm captain, and Paul and Tony, who won the deciding match last year in doubles. 

For me as manager, it's a bit like baseball, if we can just get to the doubles (win at least one singles) then Paul & Tony are great closers. My main dilemma is to select our #2 player between Paul, Tony, or Wesley. They are all good so any one of them will be good, but if the #2 can win their match, it takes a lot of pressure off the #1.

A few words about the Opening Ceremony (Sunday): this is where they line up all the teams (10 per country limit), and we march into the stadium to music and listen to some welcome speeches and in Turkey [last year] even watch belly dancers. Also it is picture day. I give this ceremony a C+ as it was hot and mostly speeches. It was a little odd that there was maybe 200 observers in the stands sitting on the shade side, and we faced the sun side with only a handful of officials there (I guess the microphone was on that side).  

My best opening ceremony was in Ireland where we met in a neighborhood park (usually 200-plus players) and had a parade to the tennis club through the neighborhood led by a bagpipe and motorcycle policeman. Most people were having a hard time figuring out who we were, but it was fun.

More later...

SUNDAY, SEPT. 9

turville_blog_9-9The International Tennis Federation each year hosts World Senior Cup events in age groups 35 to 80, men and women and the Individual World Championships.  This year the 60-plus age Cups are being held in Umag, Croatia at the site of an ATP yearly event.
 
Each Cup is named mostly after famous tennis players such as Gottfried Von Cramm (60's), German player in Don Budge era; Fred Perry (65's), England; and then a few are named after countries: Austria Cup (55's) and Italia Cup (35's). Not sure why, except that maybe they were some of the original Cups.

How does one make the team to play in an ITF Cup?  The USTA each year selects a team of the four top players in each age group using rankings and head to head results with some priority given to the surface it's played on and possibly having a doubles specialist. Our team is Paul Wulf, Portland, OR; Tony Dawson, Dallas, TX;  Wesley Jackson, Palm Springs, CA.; and myself from somewhere in Florida. Paul, Tony, and I are repeats from last year's winning team.  Wesley is the newbie. To make it possible, the USTA provides a stipend to cover most of the cost of travel and hotel.

Travel to a less-than-major city is always an adventure, and this year was no exception. The closest airport to Umag is Trieste, Italy, but that requires a bit of work, or you can fly to Venice and take a 3-hour transport which we did. The hiccup was that Tony was scheduled on Lufthansa, and they conveniently went on strike that day. Luckily he got on a United, and was only two hours later than scheduled. Unlucky for Wesley, his flight was canceled and had to wait a day to leave. Needless to say after flying for 10 hours overnight, 3 hours in an airport, and 3 hours transport you are pretty well worn out arriving.

One never knows what kind of accommodations you will have, but a least nowadays you can see pictures and hope for the best. At our site they had apartments you can rent for $90/day so we went for it. They are not fancy, but quite adequate. A good bed and good bathroom are the main items. The complex is primarily a family resort with a nice swimming area (on the coast) and even a small grocery on site. They like to stay up a little later here with the disco still going at 4am (had to close the windows and turn on the air).

The tennis site is the one used for an ATP tournament so the courts and layout are very good. In Europe all clay courts are red clay and you brush your courts after playing (we need to start that in the U.S.). Some of the little things like on-court chairs and fences are showing a bit of wear, but otherwise all's good. The have a group of young females in orange outfits checking the players in, who are a bit disorganized but try hard and manage to keep smiling even with a bit of confusion.  

Tomorrow first matches start; we have bye. More later...


 
 

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