Don and Tim got to play two of their three matches together as partners, and the fearsome duo were quickly nicknamed, The Brothers, like out of a mafia movie. We won both of those matches pretty easily, using our shared parentage and love of pizza club as a team building advantage. Scores were 9-5 and 9-3. One day we each teamed with other guests, but we won those matches pretty easily, also. We were a little stronger than the guys in our grouping, but it was very good tennis.
Sheryl was a big hero on the last day. Prior to that she won a couple and lost one, but on the last day our team was ahead by two matches, with four matches to go at 11am on the courts. We needed to split to be champions, but not only did we drop all three mens matches, but Sheryl and her teammate were behind 1-4. What a rally, however, as Sheryl stayed calm and cool in her new coral top, volleying easy and keeping everything in play, and the next thing you know, they won 4 straight games for a 5-4 victory. Team Caribe won the tiebreaker match for the week’s victory!
Putting the boating disaster behind us, Tim and Don got up on Thursday morning at 6:30 am to try deep sea fishing. It was a great way to see a big portion of the island, and enjoy a morning at sea. We only caught two fish, a 3 foot king mackeral and a smaller tuna. Best of all, the boat did not catch fire or smoke uncontrollably!
Lunch is always on the beach. By lunchtime, people have played an hour or two of tennis, so drinks start flowing at the bar. Lunch is buffet style, and again you either grab a table with your date, or you join some other friends for a meal. The buffet is really fresh, and always includes a salad bar with local fruits and vegetables, a fancy cheese display, a carvery, and a pasta station where the chef will create your own masterpiece (like they do at Mongolian Grill, but the view is better).
Every day also includes high tea at 4pm, back in the garden area, but in a more intimate setting than the breakfast. I only visited the first one, but it featured some traditional English items like those little sandwiches. Like all high teas, I resist the urge to collect six little sandwiches at once, and put them on a hamburger bun to eat. I pace myself.
And of course each day includes tennis, as much as you want. Sunday and Monday featured clinics in the morning and doubles play in the afternoon. There was a little mixed doubles, but mostly not. The clinics are run just like Tyler runs our junior program. Each court stresses one or two things, and the players rotate through the four courts. You’re assigned to players of similar ability on your court. You’ll sweat a lot, because the heat/humidity is a step up from what we’re used to in May. But you have all the drinks, ice, and towels you need at the tennis cabana, where we get all our instructions. Steve Contardi, who runs the company behind Tennis Week in Antigua, sets up the matches as people arrive in the afternoon.
Last night they divided us into two teams, for more organized matches for the rest of the week. I’ll post more on that as it plays out. Most of the men are low 3.5’s through 4.0’s, with a few 4.5 players. The women span from beginners through 4.5’s. Everyone is very impressed with the quality of Sheryl’s play, and I’m told daily that I should volley as well as she does. Then, they ask me why my strokes aren’t as smooth as Don’s. Other than that, Antigua is great!
Our resort, Curtain Bluff, is fantastic, and amazingly beautiful. There are 24 men attending Tennis Week, and 20 women. I would guess that about 75% are couples where both play tennis, and the rest may or may not have a spouse in attendance. Most of the players have been here before, and they keep coming back (some for over a decade!), but then there are others like Sheryl and I, that are here for the first time (maybe a quarter of the players). More about tennis tomorrow.
Our hosts are Fred Stolle, Owen Davidson, and Ross Case, three tennis legends from Australia. They’ve been running Tennis Week in Antigua for a couple of decades. After just one day here, you learn that the hosts are very gracious to everyone in attendance, and still awesome tennis teachers. The resort is an “all inclusive”, and the staff is mostly locals that have worked here for years. They are very engaging, and have a strong desire to serve. And like a lot of places in the Caribbean, if the first thing out of your mouth is Good Morning, or Good Afternoon, you will do fine with the locals.
Today’s itinerary includes tennis clinics in the morning, lunch on the beach (that’s every day), tennis matches in the afternoon for those that want it, then a cocktail party at the private Bluff House, which used to be a part of Curtain Bluff. Then we take in dinner, at one of the two restaurants on the property. Finally, every evening they have a different band playing in the garden area, for the guests enjoyment. That’s a busy day!
On a more specific note, are you going to use signals? Do you like to talk a lot during the match? Or not!
These are personal choices that sometimes are better left alone, but the list above is essential for all teams at any level so there is no hesitation when it comes time for action on the court! It will make you look and feel more like a team rather than two confused individuals!
Have fun, play hard and be positive!
All the best!
Pete Sampras, a great champion, was quoted as saying… “…you have to have a short memory out there”.
The next time you go out there to play, go at it one point at a time! Have a short memory and enjoy your fresh start!
If you need a refresher, check out our video lesson on this website!
All the best!
On behalf of our athletic staff we look forward to seeing you:
Men’s & Women’s Tennis
Men’s & Women’s Tennis
Associate Athletics Director
Compliance and Academic Services