We are in Switzerland now.

It is Saturday 1 February and we are on the move again.  We took the ICE (Inter City Express) train from Copenhagen to Hamburg.  In order to go from Denmark to Germany the whole train loads onto a ferry for a 45 minute crossing of the Baltic Sea.  While the train is on the Ferry, you must get off the train, but it’s locked so you can leave your things behind.  There is a large shop on the ferry and 5 restaurants.  In Hamburg we transferred to another ICE train which was supposed to have Wifi—but, it wasn’t functioning.  I know we have lousy trains in the US and everyone is always harping on how nice the trains are in Europe—well, the ICE train is supposed to be among the nicesest.  Yuk, they are dirty, hardly express (at least not between the cities where we traveled, and Wifi doesn’t work.  The twelve hour journey from Copenhagen to Aarau where we are playing this week would be tolerable with Wifi or some diversion, but boring otherwise.  If we had known we were not going to have Wifi, we would have downloaded something.  As it was, we slept, ate food we brought (leftover chicken from last night, bread, almond butter, apples, bananas, and really good strawberries), Sasha did some English schoolwork, and I watched some episodes of the show Community which he had downloaded.  It is quite funny.  As I write, we just left Frankfurt and have some three hours or so before we are at our hotel.

We practiced on carpet at HIK in Hellerup Denmark (one of the clubs with carpet).  Sasha played a couple of sets with their best junior player, so we had a total of three days on carpet.  I know, I promised to post pictures of carpet courts and will do so tonight or tomorrow while we are in Switzerland.  I also have a lot of pictures we took in Prague and lots of food pictures for which I will post a link.

Sasha is pretty confident that he can play well on the carpet.  The surface is ultra fast.  With his serve (he has to not rely on the kick serve though), and his first strike tennis along with his newly found volleys.  He has a good opportunity to do well here.

This marks the midpoint of our winter European trip.  Including Switzerland we have four more tournaments (Switzerland, Copenhagen, Norway and Lithuania).  When we arrrived Sasha was ranked in the low 700s, he is now in the mid 300s and we are aiming for top 300 now.  Would be great to get to California in the top 250 or higher and that seems doable now.  We have three tournaments to play in California (Claremont Grade 4, Carson Grade 1, and Easter Bowl Grade B1).  We do have the option of substituting Costa Rica, a Grade 3 for Claremont).  Once a player reaches the top 250, Grade 4s are not terribly rewarding from a point perspective.  One has to win the tournmament to move up just a few positions in the rankings.  At that point going deep in 3s, 2s, and 1s are the only way to move ahead and those tournaments are of course the toughest.

Sasha’s ranking after Easter Bowl will pretty much determine whether we can possibly make the French Open this year.  If he is not quite there, we still have the option of playing the clay season in Europe to qualify for Wimbledon and of course the summer to qualify for the US Open.  He is getting within striking range, but he will have to do well at the big events in order to make it.

There was news from Notre Dame this week—the clothing contract with ND is the largest college clothing contract.  Adidas has been their clothing sponsor for years.  When we visited, we were told it was negotiating time for the contract and this week ND announced a new partnership with UnderArmour.  No student athletes will get more “gear” nor will any school get more money from any such partnership.  Hopefully UnderArmour will hire away some decent designers and come up with some innovative stuff.

I will post a link to this weeks tournament as soon as it is available.  Also, if you like to follow your favorite tennis players, there is a new ap for ipad, iphone and android devices called Resultina.  Once you download the Ap, you just put in the name of the players you want to follow and it tells you as soon as their score is reported no matter where they are playing.  Works for pro players as well as junior ITFs.

Take care everyone.

https://www.icloud.com/photostream/#A55oqs3qGcfD5d

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