***Viktoriya Tabunshchyk and Maria Tanasescu are currently competing in Italy together with three other U12 players under the guidance of Tennis Canada Coach Sebastian Scutaru. Maria Tanasescu’s father Sorin is on tour with the girls blogging us about their tennis adventures.***
We left Toronto on May 13th and arrived in Venice on May 14th in the morning. Around noon time, we reached the hotel, B&B Hotel, which is a comfortable and friendly place in this small city of Padova. Tennis Canada coach, Sebastian Scutaru, took his role very seriously from the beginning. He went sightseeing with the kids, did groceries with them, showed them where the tournament site was and organized the first training session for the next day.
Friday, June 15th
The day started with a few hours of morning training session. The kids were eager to touch and feel the red clay of Europe, to try their shots and to get dirty. The session was very intensive, and the sun was drying up their bodies. After the morning session, they went to eat their first Italian crusty pizza, which was so tasty and full of cheese. I have decided to eat at least one pizza per day.
In the afternoon, it was another two hours of training and fitness, and our girls were kind of exhausted after the jet lag and such a sunny day in Italy.
On Saturday, because the club started to be filled up with the young competitors, the courts were not available for our team, and the couch found two more clubs very close by, where our Canadian team continued with two more sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Saturday afternoon was the registration time, but in the morning we went to a beautiful club in Padova’s suburbs, and the team trained there for a couple of hours.
Monday, June 18th
The history is written. The first match in Europe for both Maria and Viktoriya. Both of them played against Italian girls, so it was pretty much Canada vs. Italy. Viktoriya started the match pretty slow, but she picked up the pace and she managed to win the first set 6-4. She was playing aggressively during the second set, and she was up 5-2. From that point, something happened, and at the end, she lost 5-7, 2-6.
Maria’s opponent was playing well in the first set, but the heat was too strong and she kind of gave up the match, allowing Maria to have her first European win. Maria played diverse and precise almost the entire match.
Tuesday, June 19th
After a good warm up in the morning, the players were ready to put another fight on the tennis court. This time, doubles matches took place, and both Canadian teams won. Viktoriya joined forces with an Australian girl, but unfortunately, they lost against one Italian team.
Wednesday, June 20th
Another round of singles matches. Maria played against the Swiss girl, Simona Waltert. Maria’s energy level was very low at the beginning of the match. She gave away many free points, plus her power strokes were off, many times. She managed to put herself together in the second match and she came back winning the set and the match. Sebastian was fighting with the organizers to have consolations for Viktoriya, and it was very unusual that a European tournament does not have consolation at this age. Viktoriya will play consolations on Thursday, May 21st.
The tour continues: Thursday, June 21st
Because of the tournament schedule, some of the players woke up earlier in the morning, and some of them a bit later. Also, to get courts at the club was very difficult for all players, so the coach decided to use a different approach. The players were divided into two groups. Sebastian went to the tournament site with one group, and gave me the instructions on how to warm up the second group which went to a different club. Viktoriya was in Sebastian’s group, and Maria was in my group. After a good warm-up, we brought the players together, and then the matches started. Maria played an Australian girl, which is either a Serbian or a Croatian descendent. The girl was very aggressive, but this time Maria took better decisions on what to do with the kind of balls she received, and she managed to win and reach the semis.
Viktoriya was scheduled to play Consolation, and here is where she played her style, without any fear or stress. She managed to win two out of three consolation matches, and she lost in the final to a pretty strong girl.
Friday, June 22nd
With three Canadians remaining in the main draw, the day went pretty much by focusing on the semi-finals in singles for the girls and finals in doubles for boys. Maria played against an Italian girl. She started with a lot of fear in her mind. The body language said that she was tensed and afraid. After the match, she confirmed that it was a fear of losing that made her playing so cautiously. The Italian girl had a very strong forehand, and she used it in some key points of the match. Maria was trying couple of times to overcome that fear and was able to take the lead, especially, in the second set where she had 5-3 lead and 6-4 in the tiebreak. At the end though, she lost 6-7, 6-7. Good performance for her first European tournament.
Viktoria continues to play friendly matches with opponents from different countries and with Brindtha.
Saturday, June 23rd
Relaxing day for the girls. Now off to the next tournament in Trieste.
Arrivederci a tutti!