By Jackie, TW Social Director
Another Friday, another Deuce Club! Many thanks to whitelinefever (WLF) for filling in for me last week. It looks like y'all had a terrific time discussing Monica and her new book, and I can't wait to pick up a copy for myself (or to ask someone else to do it for me - my birthday's next month, after all).
For those curious, I enjoyed myself at the out-of-town wedding. I've been to my fair share of weddings, and this was one of the classiest yet. Maybe I should get started on a DC about weddings - we can even discuss tennis nuptials! (Yay? Nay?)
As Pete mentioned on Wednesday, he and Miguel Seabra (TW spiritual advisor/veteran Portuguese journalist, as Pete calls him) held a TW contest for tickets to the Estoril Open back in 2006. Aside from being a unique idea, it also sounded like an absolute thrill for the winners. I thought I'd share some details about the whole endeavor, considering most of us probably weren't around when it all went down. Miguel so generously provided the following information:
The [headline photo] features the first international TW live gathering, in the beginning of May 2006 at the Estoril Open, exactly three years ago. Pete and I ran a contest and the winners won a weekly pass to the Estoril Open. Of course, they had to get here ... but Victor (Mexico, with the green t-shirt), Tanya (NY, in black and hat), Lydia (LA, orange top; she came with her parents) and Ro'ee (Israel, blue jacket; he came with his mother) paid for the airfare and hotel just to see our Portuguese combined ATP/WTA Tour event. They even got to ask questions in press conferences and I managed to get Marat Safin and David Nalbandian to take a picture with them.
This photo was taken at the historical Centralito, an old court built in the '40's and inaugurated with an exhibition match featuring the famous/infamous Bobby Riggs of the Battle of the Sexes versus Billie Jean King fame. It serves as the Grandstand during the Estoril Open, the second court in the hierarchy of the premises after the Centre Court and considered one of the most beautiful courts in the world by many veteran tennis writers (Bud Collins, Richard Evans, Phillipe Bouin, etc).
Isn't that great? TWibers coming together from all parts of the globe! If you'd like to hear more, let me know and I'll happily pass along some tidbits from Miguel's original post about the contest.
Fast forward to this year's Estoril Open: Our very own naughty t has been on the tournament grounds every day this week, taking in all of the tennis action (and rubbing elbows with players, coaches, chair umpires ... even Miguel himself!). I've heard through the grapevine that his escapades aren't to be missed, so I'd like to invite naughty t to give us the dirt in the comments!
He's also taken some fantastic photos, one of which I couldn't resist including here. Check out naughty and his new best friend, Juan Monaco - what handsome lads! This is only the tip of the iceberg: naughty, if you decide to upload your photos to an online album, we'd love a link. Alternatively, feel free to post your photos in our TennisWorld > Real World Facebook group.
As I read about the Estoril contest, I was reminded of my own travels. I don't travel often, mostly because of financial constraints, but I enjoy getting away and visiting new places. (Don't we all?) I can't remember the last time I was on an actual "vacation," though ... unless the trips to the Cincinnati and Indian Wells Masters count!
Most of my travels have taken place right here in the States, usually to visit family members or to attend a special event, like a wedding (there I go again). It's hard to say what part of the country I fancy the most; each place/city/state has its own merits, those qualities that set it apart. If I could pick and choose, I'd take the comfort of IL, the weather in CA, and the cultural diversity of NY. That works, right?
I've only been outside of the country a few times, something I'm a little ashamed of, really. I almost feel like I'm missing out on potentially life-changing experiences ... like I have only a myopic view or understanding of the world. Yet I wonder, too, about those who are constantly traveling (like tennis players); do they even get a chance to sight-see and soak up some local color or are they too busy tending to their busy schedules to even notice that they're in a new/different locale? But I digress.
My travels abroad have been to Korea, Jamaica, Italy (Sicily), and France. I have fond memories of all of these trips, especially the Sicily one. The food! The climate! The people! The food! (Did I mention that already?) Ah, but Jamaica didn't disappoint, either. I recall the endless hours swimming and basking in the sun, feeling my heart beat out of my chest on my Dunn's River Falls climb, and feasting on local delicacies like jerk chicken (obviously this was before I became a vegetarian!).
I only wish I could find my way to these places again, as I'm certain I'd appreciate them more today.
Judging from the comments in the "Where Are Your Favorite Places in the World?" discussion topic in our Facebook group, it's clear that traveling is a great pastime for a number of TWibers. I'm sure many of you can make up for what I lack in the travel adventures department! So, here's your chance to fill us in (and even if you were a part of the Facebook discussion, don't hesitate to repeat those contributions).
Tell us how you feel about traveling, your favorite places to visit, trips that you'll remember until you're old and grey ... whatever you like! Or, if you're like me and haven't been able to get away very often (or at all), let us know your dream destination(s). Where have you always wanted to go?
Have a great weekend, everyone - and don't forget to thank your moms!