I am going to take some time out from my opinionated, amateur analysis and comparisons for this post and blow my own trumpet. As some of you will know, one of the things I love about living in Florida is the tennis scene – there are lots of players, facilities, and the good weather means that you can play pretty much all year round.
|My Over 18s Team|
I joined a team not long after I arrived, and have been playing friendlies, practices, and competitive matches ever since, typically playing three or four times/week. Currently I am in 3 teams: a men’s over 18s; a men’s over 40s; and a mixed over 18s team.
|Me on the tennis court|
Players and teams have a rating that is used by the tennis governing body, the USTA. Both my men’s over 18 and men’s over 40s won their leagues in their respective categories. This means a trip down to Altamonte Springs near Orlando to play a tournament against other Florida teams.
|With Daniel, the Over 18s team captain, who is also my doubles partner|
It was my over 18s team’s turn to go to Altamonte Springs this weekend just gone. The teams we played had each finished top of their respective county leagues, so there were no easy matches. Basically, the format was two groups of four teams. Each team plays the others in the group, and then the winners of each group play each other in a final.
|Rear view of Daniel and I playing a match|
It is pretty arduous fitting a tournament into one weekend, as many players, including me, end up playing two matches in one day. Playing a singles match can be especially physically taxing in the Florida heat and humidity. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we won our group and then we won the final too!
|Me taking a drink of cool water after our victory.|
This means that we are through to the nationals, which this year are held in Tucson, Arizona. That’s on the other side of the US, of course, so there is no simple or inexpensive way of getting there and staying for a weekend. We also need at least 8 of our players to commit to going.
|We are the Champions|
It looks like a few of us will be traveling there by road. I am actually pleased with that. Not only will it make the trip affordable for me, but I will also be able to see some more of the USA. Let’s face it, I’ve been here over two years, it’s about time I did an epic road trip!