As our first tournament travel in 2017 is going on, we keep blogging it day by day. Read how we reach a town “in the middle of nowhere”, why Slovak trains are extremely good, and why you need to wake up in 5:30 a.m. to be able to practice.
…Saturday morning was extremely cold for us, people from Adriatic coast where even -1C is a rare thing. It was -11C in Bratislava together with very unpleasant wind. Happily, our hostel was located just 10 minutes walking from Bratislava main railway station, so we avoided too close dive into harsh Slovak winter.
Senec appears to be 30 minutes by train from Bratislava. Tickets cost around 3 EUR per two, and we needed to spend 1 hour waiting for our train.
What can I say about this hour? Well, you must count that it was a very agressive weather outside, and all homeless people of surrounded areas concentrated there. Sashka was impressed to see how people eat from garbage bins :(. But it didn’t last long, so we left the station building soon and jumped to our train.
Slovak trains are awesome! They are very clean, have comfortable seats, super-fast wi-fi and power plugs for charging smartphones / laptops. They also have a very clear information system so you can’t miss your station!
…Senec is a small town “in the middle of nowhere”. As I could understand, they have a kind of life in summer, as there is a lake here with some resorts surrounding it (including our tennis venue). But at this time just a few people are on the streets, specially in the evening. At a daytime, “the central square” of Senec is its frozen lake, where kids and adults skating & playing hockey!
We asked Google Maps how to reach our hotel and got “40 minutes walking” answer. It was too much, so we called a hotel asking for any bus… NO, YOU SHOULD WALK!!! Oooohhhh!
But at the end it was not so terrible. We talked with Sashka about different things from tennis to movies, LGBT rights (!!!) and philosophy issues. In the middle of our way we found a beautiful cafe called “Different Appetit” and got an excellent lunch for 15 EUR for two, including coffee & dessert for Sashka.
We booked a room in a small family hotel (33 EUR / double, with breakfast). Our room was ready, and after a short rest in it we departured to tournament venue – this time by taxi (5 EUR), as it was near 40 minutes by walk, and I wanted Sashka to be ready for practicing later in the day.
…Oh, junior tennis tournament! We both missed it so much!
This crazy cocktail of boys, girls, parents, coaches, bags, rackets, balls, garments, documents and many more things… Where everybody is running everywhere – to practice, reserve courts and balls, see friends (and competitors), find double partners. It is such a big pleasure to be again inside it!
Sashka paid a tournament fee (39 EUR) and iPin yearly fee (60 EUR) – so we are officially in. The next thing was to arrange a practice. As Sashka (as a player) travels alone – this means NOT in the player’s team – it was an immediate problem to find somebody to hit the ball with. As a result, she entered the court at 19:00 with two Czech girls, they made some hitting together, but for the service Sashka stayed without a return partner, and no return practice. But it is not such a bad, as we will fix this next morning!
Sashka discovered that a local surface (taraflex) is extra-fast, what is not good for her, a 100% clay lover. Another thing that there are just 3 courts available for boys and girls quali. As we were told, last year quali finals started at 00:30!
But anyway, she enjoys this all!
After completing the practice, we found Sashka’s opponent and schedule. She is going to play vs. Andrea Mayerova from Slovakia around 15:00 or so on Sunday. We also signed for the next morning practice – at 6:45 in the morning!!! – so we should be ready for an very early wake up.
That was basically all, so we took Sashka’s bag and went home.
Sashka is sending greetings to all #TeamSashka friends. Please, keep fingers for her today around 15:00.
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