Road to Nationals: 40&O 3.0 Team
Our Adult 40 & Over 3.0 women's team hit the court at the 2021 USTA League National Championships, ultimately placing fourth!
Read on for a first-hand account of the team's day-to-day action on the court in Surprise, Arizona over the weekend of October 22, 2021.
Thursday, October 21
The fun is beginning! We have rented a lovely house for many of the players and stocked it with plenty of water, fruit, veggies and lunch ingredients.
Today we chilled out and adapted to the very dry air until time to practice - both the men and women were on the hard courts with a warm sunny afternoon. Prem Gupta, our coach, ran some drills and supervised point play.
The ball bounces higher in the dry air and from my perspective, it is dramatically different from last weekend in FL on Har-tru clay courts with high humidity.
Kathy Ryan, our captain, will attend the captain's meeting, someone will pick up food and others will get the last two players from the airport. Everyone is pitching in. Tonight, we will keep hydrating and do some taste testing on electrolyte drinks to prepare for two matches tomorrow. The Midwest Section color is lavender, and the team banners match our color - a good sign!
Friday, October 22
First match was at noon, so a casual morning call and breakfast for the team house prior to warmups. There are some good cooks with protein smoothies and fancy eggs, fruit and coffee. There are 13 in the house, so it can get hectic.
On site at the Surprise Tennis Complex, the system is well organized and run by volunteers. It was hot and sunny and doubles ran through easily, but singles was a challenge. But, we finished 4-0 in the first round.
Between matches, we had time to cool off, scout other teams and have some lunch. We had a lot of water available and plenty for lunch and snacking; fruit, veggies, sandwich ingredients. All good!
The later match was at 4 p.m. and was pretty warm to start, although a breeze was refreshing. This was a tough match all around, but we prevailed 3-1.
That evening, we found ourselves in 3rd place overall: a good spot, but with much more tennis to come. The pool and hot tub felt wonderful and pizza hit the spot. Mostly, the evening was spent getting to know teammates, laughing, and telling stories. It is a blessing to be at Nationals and spend time with a group of accomplished women who all share a passion for tennis.
All of the teams have given up their own time to be here, paid for travel, and some are missing family to be here with a shared mission.
We wouldn’t be here without a lot of support from family and friends, and those who are here as drivers, shoppers, and the cheering squad make it more special.
Saturday is going to be a challenge, so we went to bed early to be ready for warmups and our 10 a.m. match.
Saturday, October 23
A beautiful morning - cool with high clouds that greeted us today for morning warmups.
The morning match was once again competitive and doubles all won, making us 3-1 on the day and 3-0 overall; third place going into the afternoon. Unfortunately, our singles player was injured and had to retire late in the second set.
The officials on site, Mae and Moe were attentive and very helpful. Mae made a point of coming to check on our injured player later in the day!
There are amazing volunteers who actually get players organized on to courts and record scores.
Going into the afternoon match, we adjusted the lineup to make sure everyone got to play. It was a hot afternoon and all the doubles won, but singles lost in a 3rd set tie-breaker. Great results finishing 4-0 in regular play and 3rd place overall.
We play Pacific Northwest at 8 a.m. on Sunday. An amazing accomplishment to be in this position.
Sunday, October 24
Wow! Team Midwest is in the final 4!
It was another wonderful morning when we went for a warmup at sunrise. We were 3rd and paired with Pacific Northwest at 8 a.m. They were very talented and despite great play all around, we lost 1-3. They went on to win first place in the finals, so that was a testament to their skill level.
The finals for 3rd place was against Florida. Their team was from Miami and wore pink for their Sectional color. The Florida teams are always tough and they were no exception. We went down again 1-3, but finished 4th in Nationals! This was an exciting weekend and an exceptional honor to be in the final 4, playing on Sunday against some amazing women.
We received a beautiful banner to hang at the Indianapolis Racquet Club, silver award plates and bragging rights. A toast with prosecco continued, as we have after big matches.
We returned to our rental house and chilled out at the pool with some adult beverages. We had 11 people at the house and everyone pitched in throughout the weekend. We purchased our food - fruit, scones, eggs for breakfast, lunch meat, wraps, veggies for lunch, snacks- sweet and salty, and lots of water. We had everything that anyone needed at the tennis site. It makes the day much smoother to have food on-demand. Thanks to the drivers, the teammate who booked the house, cleanup crew, laundry crew, etc. Kathy Ryan, our Captain, goes above and beyond for this team and even supplied frozen washcloths with essential oils to cool off during the match.
This amazing group pulled together for a common goal. The move-up and split-up rule is in effect but hoping we can stay together at the next level.
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