My mom's painting... isn't it amazing?
© Vania King
Vania King has had an outstanding career since turning pro in July 2006, winning one WTA Tour singles title and seven doubles titles, including the Brisbane doubles championship in January. A 20-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., King is writing an exclusive blog for USTA.com throughout the year as she travels to different tournaments around the world. This week, she is in Madrid, Spain, competing in the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.
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Thursday, May 14
So today is my last day in Madrid, and we will be off to Paris tomorrow! *slightly dreading* My coach assures me that THIS time Paris will be amazing and beautiful, and I will "see" the real Paris that I apparently missed the last three years. OK, so I did just go from the site to the hotel and willingly closeted myself in my room, but I really felt that was a better option than to have to interact with people outside. OK, yes, that is very close-minded of me, so I'm hoping that this year will change. :)
I was planning to stay at the qualifying hotel (at Grand Slams there are many "official hotels," and the qualifying players are designated to one or two hotels that are cheaper), which I wasn't looking forward to because the rooms are pretty basic and there is not much around that area. However, at the near last minute, a former player who lives in Paris helped me find an apartment that is really close to the site and is quite inexpensive. So I will update later and let you know how nice the apartment is!!
I'm finally feeling a little bit more upbeat now, I'm not sure. As I wrote before, when I travel alone, I often get emotional, and sometimes the emotion is just dead. I kind of felt a little emotionally dead the last two weeks, maybe because of the jet lag in the beginning. Europe is tough for me, though, especially being here on my favorite surface, being away from home for two months (or more), and not knowing how to speak the language of the country I'm in.
All right, so I'll let you guys be and surf some more on the net.
Sunday, May 10
I'm in Madrid now, and when I first got here, I was so happy to see the hotel -- new, modern, clean and cheap! And free Internet downstairs in the lobby. I think that sealed the deal. I liked the hotel in Rome, but it was really old and basic. I think I was lucky, though, because I was the only one I knew who had a tub in my room.
Unfortunately, I lost yesterday in the last round of qualies -- I know, I keep writing only after I lose. I'm not doing it on purpose, I promise. Next time I'll write after I win (so, hopefully, I win!). The match was pretty awful, I must say, so I'm trying to move on from it. I wasn't in the match at all and didn't play at all the way I should have. However, I still have the doubles, so I'm looking forward to getting some more practice and matches in.
Where we are staying in Madrid is in the city center, so there are plenty of restaurants and shops around. The hotel is really nice -- and the rooms only 65 euros!!
So some of the most amazing things have happened at this tournament (and I'm not talking about the disorganization). There have been three "mini" tornados. One I saw three days ago when we were practicing in the afternoon. Alla and Christian were serving on the far back practice court, and we were on the court practicing in front of them. The wind was blowing a bit but not gusting. Suddenly, the wind switched direction and started gusting heavily, tossing around three large umbrellas (with stands) up high in the air. I was already scared for Alla and Christian (and myself, too, but I was watching this from another court), but then a huge gust of wind started a "mini" tornado on her court, just feet away from her. She and Christian crouched in a fetal position, while the tornado ripped apart the back of the court. And then five seconds later, all was calm. It was the most amazing thing.
These "mini" tornados happened three times already. Today on Center Court, apparently one person had to be hospitalized in intensive care because they were hit in the neck by something that was picked up by the tornado.
OK, so amazing thing No. 2... It was raining off and on today, so the matches were postponed at times, and around 3 or 4 p.m., the matches went back out on court. However, after around 30 minutes, court 4's match had to be suspended. The reason? Hundreds of bees swarmed the court, and firefighters had to be called to clear them out. An hour later, the match hadn't been resumed. Hopefully the bees didn't choose to go to court 5 after.
Today is Mother's Day, and I must admit that I kind of miss my family right now! Mother's Day was never a big holiday in my family, but I miss my mom a lot! However, I know that she's happy right now at home. By the way, she started Chinese painting classes again (after a 30-year hiatus), and she's doing fantastically well. I've attached her second painting. So if there are any potential buyers, I proclaim myself as her agent. And I want 10% :)))
So I'll update soon, and cheers everyone!!
Read Vania's past blogs:
Italian Open in Rome
Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C.
Back home in California
Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.
BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
Monterrey Open in Monterrey, Mexico
Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tenn.
Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.