By Jane Lutz, Captain, USA Doris Hart Cup
Octogenarians in October are paving the way for the eighty year old women to compete in Super Senior Cup competition for the first time in the Doris Hart Cup division. The United States team consisting of four Floridians arrived in Antalya, Turkey on October 7 around noon. A shuttle picked them up at the airport and drove them to Club Ali Bey Manavgat with other Cup team tennis players. The four, Captain Doris "Jane" Lutz, Joan Brisbin, Louise Russ and Nancy Stout spent the rest of the day registering, getting settled in their rooms, and exploring the grounds and the facilities.
The huge resort situated on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea has all the amenities of a luxurious vacation spot. One of the first areas to explore was the enormous red clay tennis facility sporting 63 neatly groomed courts just waiting for the following weeks competition was as temptation that the women couldn’t resist and the next day found them signing up for practice courts and getting the feel and touch of the red clay.
The food at Ali Bey is absolutely fabulous. A large banquet sized rooms has variety to the largest degree. There is something to satisfy every taste and people choose whatever they wish, fill their plates and then sit wherever they wish in the seating areas. Most of the teams meet together and then are able to visit with other teams and even teams from other countries. The camaraderie and international flair adds to the enjoyment of the total Cup atmosphere.
A gala Black & White dinner was held on Saturday night in the open air restaurant located on the beach on the Mediterranean. Everyone dressed in black & white attire and all the tables are decorated and draped in white. The food was superb as usual.
Surprise, Surprise! On Monday play was set to begin for all the teams except the 80’s. The heavens broke loose Sunday night and rain deluged the grounds and continued into the early morning. However, the red clay absorbs the rain quickly and play began around noon instead of the scheduled 9am. The 80’s who have only three teams are scheduled to play a round robin with games Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Therefore they spent the day cheering on the other USA teams and trying to find an empty court for a brief warm up. It was inspirational to watch the high level of tennis but just as the teams was in the midst of play, heavy rain, lightening, and hail interrupted and halted play for the day.
October 11, 2011
The 80s started the day with high hopes under a cloudy sky as play begain in their Doris Hart Cup. The USA team played a strong Canadian team. We started with USA number two singles player Louise Russ, who lost to Rosemarie Asch 61 60. Then the USA renewed its hope for victory when the USA number one, Doris Lutz, defeated Canada’s top player, Huguette Fontaine 62 62 to even the score. The final blow to the USA’s chances came when Lutz and Russ fell to Asch and Fontaine 62 62.
The 80s are playing a round robin format. Because of this, Canada now meets Great Britain on Thursday and the USA then faces Great Britain on Saturday. The USA has a chance still, depending on the outcome of the GB and Canada match.
Later yesterday, at dinner at the Park Restaurant, the USA teams had a terrifying experience as they were dining outside. Lightning started cracking and illuminating the skies and thunder was rumbling and roaring. Then forceful and gusting winds whipped throughout the area. All the diners pushed and swarmed to the inside where they socialized until the storm subsided. Then we trudged back to our rooms through flooded walks tour rooms, to dream of the tour we have planned for Wednesday. We plan to visit historic areas of interest in and around Antalya all day.
Since the "ladies Eighties" team was not supposed to compete again until Saturday we decided to sign up for a one day tour of Antalya. We boarded a bus at the reception center at Ali Bey at 8:45am and traveled the 55 or 60 miles to Antalya. We viewed the beautiful waterfalls near the city, visited a huge jewelry complex and watched a runway show of a leather company, which also featured beautiful silk rugs.
After dining at a restaurant near the waterfalls which featured Turkish food, we traveled on to the city where we were to view some ancient ruins and do some shopping. While there, Joan Brisbin and Nancy Stout accidentally fell on some cement and were injured. The shuttle transported them to a hospital in side where Nancy the more seriously injured one was treated and released. Thus, an eventful adventure of a tour to Antalya ended in a frightful experience.
On Thursday, what a shock the USA 80’s team experienced. Since we thought we ere to play again on Saturday, we headed to the tennis courts to cheer on and watch h other USA players win their matches. We met members of the Great Britain’s team so we greeted them and wished them good Luck against the strong Canadian team. They retorted, "We don’t play Canada, we are playing you!" The schedule has been changed. It was posted at the restaurant."
With all the commotion of the accident of the day before, the US team did not receive the news and headed to the courts for competition not the cheerleading they had planned.
Louise Russ played number two singles against Great Britain’s; Betty Howard and lost 6-2, 6-2. Then Great Brittan’s number one Ruth Ilingsworth topped Doris Lutz 6-2, 6-3 to oust the USA team. Lutz and Joan Brisbin played Great Britain’s doubles team of Cynthia Smith and Jennifer Collins only to fall 3-6, 6-1, and 6-0. That places the USA eighties in third place and Canada and Great Britain will meet Saturday for first and second place.
The sadness of the loss on the court was counteracted by the spectacular gala dinner held in the evening around the swimming pool at the main restaurant. The pool at the main restaurant with large painted pyramids that radiating different colored lights and a geyser sprinkling water as it spurted up in a fountain. Music was playing in the background and massive area surrounding the pool was decorative with the many tables and chairs all covered in white. Lighted centerpieces on the table held flowers and each lady who attended was given a red carnation as they entered the white, floral arch entry way and many placed them in the centerpieces to add color to white roses already there. The food was beyond imagination. The dessert table had food carved as a tennis racquet, tennis court, many different seas creatures and other animals. It was culinary creativity.
After the dinner feasted on the diverse culinary delights, the president of the International Tennis Federation Francesco Ricci Bitti addressed the guests and introduced and thanked the president of the Turkish Tennis Federation.
To conclude this magnificent evening a colorful loud and illuminating display of firework flashed on the sky above which was already breathtaking with the full moon shining. It was a gala night to remember.
Octoner 15, 2011
The culmination of the week's activities in the Cup play was the awards ceremony. It was held Saturday Oct. 15th for our Cup and six others on the tile patio by the tennis clubhouse. A table was set up with the Cups on display. they are silver trays or trophies donated by former professional players. Starting with the women's 60s, the teams finishing third, second and first march to the trophy table accompanied by lively music and have their medals presented and placed around their necks by the ITF representative in charge of the particular Cup. For our team the ITF representative was Dutch, Elsie Vaeentjer. She congratulated us and lots of photographers gathered and took countless photographs!
The 80s women's teams were last on the women's program and we received the bronze, third place, medals, then Great Britain was awarded their second place medals, then Canada proudly marched up to receive their first place medals and the Doris Hart Cup.
Following hte presentation of the medals, the USTA held a photo shoot in the stands of all the USA Cup players who received medals on Saturday. Due to rain, three Cups finished Sunday, the men's 60s and 80s and men's 70s. The men's 60s and 80s won too.
It was and impressive and colorful spectacular event to award the medals and honor the skill and performances of the winning teams.
As players we exchanged small gifts during the week with other teams we played during the week. The USA gifts included a small banner, navy blue towels (for the other captains), wrist bands with the USA flag on them, pins that were replicas of the banners and US Open pins.
After the team event, I can relax and prepare for the ITF Individual World Championships, which was scheduled to have it's opening ceremony Monday.