Archive for March, 2014

Last practice in Palm Spring then on to Carson on Sasha’s Birthday

March 29, 2014

We practice one last time at the club today and then off to Carson.  Last night we had Birthday Dinner at:











Healthy lunch to make up for the red meat dinner ūüôā



Dinner at home the other night—Thom’s Burrito Bar


Murphy wishes Sasha a Happy Birthday


A Happy Birthday wish from Carl Emile in Denmark–Sasha liked the picture from Facebook so I put it here


More from Carson later today or tomorrow!!


Let’s make it short since there isn’t a lot to talk about Sasha won his opening match at Claremont

March 24, 2014

Score 6-7 (6) 6-3 6-4 ¬† ¬†His opponent in the draw was Ryan Shen, a talented high school player from Thousand Oaks High School who got a wild card into this event. ¬†The real opponent was Sasha himself. ¬†Tomorrow, Mark¬†Epshteyn-Losev. ¬†The quality of tennis from Sasha’s end of the court will have to be better and if it is, there will be no problem.


Lost in the Quarters in Costa Rica

March 21, 2014

Sasha lost today in the quarters against Valero. ¬†He actually played very well, played aggressively, and served amazingly. ¬†The serve is just so solid now. ¬†Valero is more experienced and has been as high as 71 in the world in ITF Juniors. ¬†Sasha does not consistently see a hundred mile an hour plus heavy serves and that’s something he needs to be exposed to and practice against. ¬†Since I harp constantly about moving forward and playing first strike tennis with Sasha (that’s definitely his brand of tennis), it’s hard for me to say, that in this case he should have adjusted better for the return of serve by moving back and then moving forward after the return. ¬†Valero adjusted better to Sasha’s serve by moving back. ¬†His¬†ground strokes cannot penetrate the court from 10 feet behind the baseline. ¬†He returned from there and stayed there. ¬†If Sasha had returned from further back and then moved up I believe he would have had chances in the return games. ¬†The score was 6-4, 6-4, one at 5-4 in both sets. ¬†So Sasha had the pressure of holding all the way through the match. ¬†

As I’ve said earlier, we’ve both been sick here in Costa Rica (as have a number of other people in the tournament). ¬†Sasha woke up this morning with a resurgence of the stomach bug we both had earlier in the week. ¬†He said it didn’t bother him a lot in the match, but was sure a bother in the warmup and after. ¬†Addrenillin does interesting things. ¬†So here is what we ate for lunch. ¬†

Sasha says it’s the only safe food in Costa RicaImage

Into the quarters in Costa Rica

March 19, 2014

Well, the opponents today were the wind (25 mph and swirling) and a scrappy, fast opponent who gets lots of balls back with no pace and had nothing to loose. So Sasha had the mental strength to endure it. He won 7-6(7), 6-4.  A good win considering he had multiple opponents. But, he has to play aggressive tennis to be competitive and this was too cautious, too defensive, too many opportunities not taken.  So, onward. 


Sasha and Jose both won their matches today

March 17, 2014

Sasha won 6-2, 6-2  He and I both either ate something or whatever and had a bit of stomach bug today.  So glad to get the match over with.  

Jose played Emile Reinberg and won 6-4 4-6 6-3.  It was not the best match from either side of the net, but again nice to get through.

Doubles starts tomorrow. ¬†Both will not play singles now until Wednesday. ¬†I’m sure we can get over the stomach bug and Jose can play a bit more aggressively on Wednesday.


Draw from Costa Rica :)

March 17, 2014

order of play (which means we will not play singles tomorrow since he plays today)

Two great days of practice and now signed in and ready to play

March 17, 2014

We had two great days of practice at Costa Rica Country Club (the site where the Coffee Bowl is played) courtesy of Jose’s connection to Julian Saborio, the number 1 player in Costa Rica (thank you Julian!). ¬†We are settled in, practiced with Jose (Jose Fernando Carvajal Torres). ¬†He will be traveling with us to the US after this tournament. ¬†He and Sasha both have a birthday this month. ¬†What better way to celebrate your birthday than winning ITFs. ¬†ūüôā

Today we have a combination of tennis pictures from practice at CRCC, videos and of course the obligatory Sasha food pictures.

Here are tennis pictures:

Here are the videos:

The Sasha Food Pictures:

We are alive and well and now in Costa Rica via my house in Palm Springs

March 14, 2014

Ok everyone. Yes there was a definite vacation from the blog. Let’s see…we said goodbye to our temporary base in Copenhagen on March 3. We had a good flight back to the USA via LondonImage





We caught an early flight from LAX to Palm Springs, so we were back in California for Dinner.

Rob picked us up without our luggage which did not make the flight but was delivered the next morning. Speaking of morning, Sasha and I both woke up at 3am even though we stayed up as long as we could. The 9 hour time difference is tough a tough adjustment. Sasha got to meet MurphyImage

Sasha got a cold as we were leaving Lithuania and I thought I had escaped it. We no, it was just delayed getting to me. I spent most of the time we were in Palm Springs congested and coughing. It still isn’t completely gone for either of us as we fly to Costa Rica.

When we arrived at my house, we were greeted with a HUGE carrot cake Rob had made for Sasha celebrating his winning the Safina Cup.


To be honest neither Sasha or I did very much the first few days.  Hung out in the hot tub and pool.

ImageWe all had dinner at Kiyosaku, my friends Sushi restaurant.


I reintroduced Sasha to the vegetarian restaurant he like when he was here for Easter Bowl last year and a new veggie restaurant–palm greens


We finally cooked a few times while we were home.



ImageThe big event of our stay in Palm Springs was the new racquet demoing and racquet change.

I’ve always thought Sasha’s racquet was a bit to stiff and the head too small, but I never really talked about a lot except as a future project. You can’t put doubt into a players mind with respect to their equipment. So we ordered demos of five racquets to which we had narrowed down the choice. They arrived on Wednesday afternoon but because we were tired and because we were sick we delayed hitting until Thursday. Quickly, four racquets were eliminated and the choice was–the Babolat Pure Strike 18×20. The new racquet is little lighter, has a larger head (98 instead of 93), less stiff and just overall a better fit. Presto, deeper shots, safer shots, more spin when he wants it, more work done by the racquet, and we virtually eliminated mishits!!!! So, practiced with the racquet this week and Costa Rica will be the first tournament with the new frame. That was a big accomplishment in just over a weeks time.

The new weapon


Other accomplishments during the week included getting our teeth cleaned and dental check ups which in Sasha’s case found five cavities that needed attention. Fortunately my dentist’s office stepped up to the challenge and got the work done in two one hour visits. (Thanks Petra, Cara, Dr. Enright, Diego, and Edith) ¬†And a haircut ¬†Image

Of course BNP Paribas Open is going on now in Indian Wells. While we left Copenhagen. On 3 March, the people of Copenhagen followed us. My friends Jan and Aga usually come during the tournament and use my tickets enthusiastically. They usually bring a couple of Denmarks tennis players with them. This year was no exception even though they now have a little baby (Jacob). This year Andreas and Jesper along with Jespers girlfriend were here. So while we left Denmark also followed.

Sasha was to go to the matches with them for a couple of sessions but he opted to work on school, physio, on court hitting and relaxing. So we enjoyed some of the matches on my big screen. Sasha ran a lot during the week including several runs from my house to the club for practice and one up the tram road.


Now it’s Thursday 13 March. Those ten days flew by. We are on the flight to Costa Rica. We will meet up with Jose and play a Grade 3 after 3 or 4 days of practice. Jose and Sasha will both be seeded in this tournament and will play doubles together. The results of this tournament count for seeding rankings for Easter Bowl so if Sasha does well, he has a good chance to be seeded. We have the Claremont tournament (grade 4) when we return. Sasha will be seeded in the top 4 there. Then Carson, the Grade 1. Many of these players we have not seen since we played the US tournaments in the fall. Will be interesting to see who’s improved.

Well, that’s the catch up news for now. More from Costa Rica in the next few days. ¬†But we are settled in to the hotel and having first hit!!


Last practice in Copenhagen, last Joe & the Juice, last Raw Food and we’re packed

March 1, 2014


Ok, we are ready to come to the USA.  Trip to Lithuania was long and Sasha played ok in both singles and doubles, but lost both first rounds.  We may again come to a situation where he lost to the tournament winner.  The guy he played in singles was unseeded and got to the semi-finals and the team they played in doubles won the tournament.  

As you can see, we are packed and ready to go.  We had some good practice in Copenhagen yesterday and today.  We said goodbye to our great hosts at B.93, the club at which we practiced, had lunch at one of our favorite places, Joe and the Juice and had chai tea at our favorite raw food place.  I should also mention that we had our favorite superb danish bread for breakfast.

Tomorrow we will go to the airport with Jan (who is leaving for the States–he goes to New York for business then flies to Palm Springs to join Aga and baby for two weeks vacation–at my house ūüôā We will stay at the airport hotel and do some Copenhagen sightseeing tomorrow. ¬†We leave here on Monday morning at 7:50am and fly to Palm Springs. ¬†We will pretty much take the week off from tennis. ¬†Sasha takes the SATs on Saturday, then he will join Jan et al for a few matches at the BNP Paribas Open which is 20 minutes from my house. ¬†We will re acclimate to outdoor tennis along with demoing a few new racquets and practice. ¬†We leave for Costa Rica on 13 March. ¬†Grade 3 in Costa Rica, Grade 4 in Claremont and the Spring Championships in Carson, then Easter Bowl.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is playing some great tennis!!  They won their match yesterday and are now ranked 6!!!  Go Irish!