Friday, January 24, 2014

Australian Open Day 4 and 5

In an effort to get caught up, I thought it would be best to combine a couple of days. Both days consisted of a lot of tournament play and I mean a lot! Each match was one set, but they were playing 3 and sometimes 4 matches each day. We were at the courts about 8 hours each day. It seems none of us can even figure out what day it is much less what time it is "in America" Team USA was privileged to receive a visit from the US Consulate General, Mary Warlick and her staff. They are tennis fans and when they heard the USA had a delegation, they came right over. Photos were taken and they stayed for quite a while, visiting and watching our group play. So exciting for all of us and very special for Team USA. On this day, which would be Thursday, Team USA did very well. Everyone moved on to the next round in both singles and double. The nerves had settled and they were feeling right at home. If you looked around the park you could see a lot of new friendships. Katherine's FB page is going to get another international boost! Our uniforms have been a huge hit! I hear how great they look at least 4 or 5 times a day and this is everywhere we go. We are a colorful, sharp looking group! Besides the interview and photo with 774 ABC Melbourne radio, the Australian Open radio station came over to the courts to interview Barry Holman and Katherine and Ben. This will air on Saturday. They will be sending us the link after it airs. Friday we attended a Sponsor's breakfast. Tennis great, Wally Masur spoke about the importance of having more players from all over the world compete in this section of the Australian Open. He also said having the USA participation shows The Open the commitment to growth in the Adaptive section. Wayne Bird, President of Ausrapid said, " Indeed 2014 is an historic year..... There are 2 players entered from Japan and in a first, we have a team of 4 players joining us from the United States. This is a significant step forward for the event. Steve Healy, Pres. Tennis Australia said, " this long standing tournament continues to attract talented local, interstate and an increasing number of international players to Melbourne to compete during the world's best Grand Slam tournament, The Australian Open." The Lord's Taverners Australia and Tennis Australia are presenting sponsors and have been committed to this event. All matches were pushed back until 1:30. Some of Team USA visited with another tennis great, John Alexander, who was staying in the hotel. I have know idea what they talked about, but I hope Katherine didn't try to help him with his strokes! She said he was very nice and asked a lot of questions about their team. And like magic, the sky cleared up and we were on the courts. Katherine had 4 matches. She won her singles, but didn't make the finals in the end. I haven't talked much about the competition, but I will in a later email. We arrived not knowing what we would up against. The competition is wonderful and is certainly a new level for us. I will say we are not at the bottom, but if I had to guess, would put USA around #4 or 5. Rankings will be out later and we will see. In doubles, the girls came in third. They did very well against the #1 team in the World, which was very impressive considering they have only played together once. When the day was over, Team USA did not have anyone in the finals. We are not discouraged, although it is hard to be so close and not able to play in Melbourne Park. A lot of new friendships have been made and our hosts for everything we did have been amazing. An amazing experience and we are so fortunate to have been able to be a part of it all. The finals are this morning, at Melbourne Park. This evening we leave for Benella. More tennis and celebrations. It is Australia Day on the 26th and Team USA will take part in all the celebrations. Still 3 more days of events for us!