Croatia, Croatia, here we come, the ladies of the "eighties", ready to compete in the ITF Super-Seniors Team Cup Competition representing the United States of America, Captain Jane Lutz, Margaret Canby, Joyce Jones and Lucille Kyvallos.
We arrived in Umag, Croatia after long plane rides from Florida, Texas, New York and Washington. Landing in Rome, Italy the ladies boarded another plane to Trieste, Italy where a bus transported them through Slovenia to Umag. Uniformed police in the Trieste airport terminal were roaming the area with dogs. We assumed that was to make sure no drugs were being imported. In Slovenia, the country check point personnel were upset that Italy had not stamped our passports but flagged us on anyway. During the bus ride, the team glimpsed a beautiful, well-manicured countryside of many, many vineyards and various other crops. It gave a clean, well-kept impression to the sightseers. The terrain was extremely hilly green and scenic. In Umag, we checked into their hotel, Sol Stella, which is located on a huge resort grounds on the Adriatic. There are people from all over the world here and the area is definitely family oriented. One can see people in cars, on bicycles, on motorcycles and even some cruising by on roller skates. There is entertainment for youngsters in the huge waterway, as well as on ground bumper cars and other amusement activities for the young. There are many restaurants, souvenir shops and even a grocery store open twenty –four hours every day. There are bars, music nigh entertainment for adults.
We Americans learned early that Kunos are the customary currency, as wells as euros and even some places accepting credit cards. The hotel has currency exchange open round the clock as well as an ATM machine.
Communications was a bit of a problem, and the group learned that early. The team entered a restaurant and was seated. The waiter took their orders. One person ordered a coke, but said she wanted ice in it. Another person ordered beef soup. The waiter returned with ice cream and thought that was "ice". He said that ice cubes would be called ice rocks. Next the waiter returned with a huge steak dinner instead of the soup. When he finally brought in the "beef soup", it resembled what would probably be known as chicken noodle soup. The lesson learned was to be extremely patient and specific until understood.
For two days, Friday and Saturday, the team signed up for practice courts on the grounds of the huge tennis facility. It includes 17 red clay courts near a huge stadium which seats people and has two red clay courts as part of its amenities. Huge pictures of past champions including Dolgopolow, Davydenko and Fererro are on display above the entry.
On Sunday, the captains of the various teams met with ITF officials and learned the nine teams entered in the competition and the names of the individual players. Number one, two and three seeds as Canada, United States of America and Great Britain. They all received byes for Monday play as the draw was divided into three sections. In Group A France will play Argentina, in Group South Africa will play Australia and in Group AC the Netherlands will meet New Zealand. The play offs will begin Thursday with completion and a champion declared after Friday’s play.
The 80 years old competitors are ecstatic that their age division has jumped from its inaugural number of three teams last year to the nine teams enrolled this year.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Super Seniors Team Event was held Sunday Sept 9 in the Stadium court. Ten members, one from each team marched in and filled the stadium court where the Croatian anthem was played and welcoming speeches were presented under a sunny sky. Other team members and guests watched from the sideline seats. Following the ceremony and a hearty welcome from Croatian players, a cocktail party was held outside in the courtyard.