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Brenda Carter helps bring home Kitty Godfree Cup

Brenda Carter, a resident of South Carolina and member of the USTA South Carolina Hall of Fame, will be representing the USA, the USTA, the Southern Section and South Carolina in the ITF World Team Championships at Club Ali Bey near Antalya, Turkey. Follow along with Brenda's adventures, on and off the court. 


 

October 18, 2014

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For USA KGC team, it was a glorious day in every respect.  The weather was beautiful and we won the Cup!  We defeated the French team, winning both singles matches, to seal the deal.  I played Martine at the #2 position.  We had never played each other.  In fact, this is the first year I've ever seen her on the French team, so she was a surprise to everyone.  I knew she was strong based on the players she had beaten all week.  She played a strong first set, which I lost 6-1, however, I fought back and took the second and third sets 6-4, 6-4.  After almost 3 hours, I jumped for joy in victory, because it was important that we win at least one singles match.  Martha followed my match, playing Gail, whom she had never played.  Gail is certainly not an unknown, as she has led France to many Cup victories over the years.  Martha played an incredible match, mixing drives, loops, drop shots, volleys, overheads and strong serves to take Gail out of her game.  If you like watching tennis, you would have loved seeing this match! Carol and Kathy tried not to be nervous as they held Martha and me together during our matches.
Since we had won the two singles, the French preferred to not play the doubles.  Hence, we won the tie 2,0.

At the awards ceremony, it was with great USA pride that we stood in the #1position to receive our gold medals and the Kitty Godfree Cup!  We felt like we were at the Olympics.   It's been a wonderful week -- our team has had lots of fun together.  Carol heads home early tomorrow and I head home early Monday.  We'll enjoy following Martha and Kathy who are staying for the Individual World Championships which begins tomorrow.  They will play doubles together and Martha will be playing singles as well.  By the way, the 75s women's team and the 80s men's team won their respective cups as well, so kudos to them.  In fact, kudos to all 10 of our USA teams who played hard all week and represented the USA well!

All of us are wondering if we will be able to adjust back to our own "all you can eat" kitchens after what we've gotten accustomed to here at AliBey.  Thanks to Martha, Carol and Kathy for being such awesome teammates and thanks to all of you who have supported us on this incredible journey.

Blessings to you all!

Brenda


October 17, 2014

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KG USA and Great Britain

Hello all,
My heart is full and there is so much I could write today, so hopefully you won't get bored.  It was a fabulous day on the courts as we won our tie against Great Britain.  At the number two position, I played GB's Shirley Fox, a very good all court player with a vicious forehand and a very nice slice backhand.  I felt fortunate to win the match 6-2, 7-5.  Somehow, I came back from being down 2-5 in the second!!  Next up, Martha takes the court against GB's #1 player, Marjory Love.  Boy, did we see some serious backhand slices and super play.  Martha seemed in control, winning the first set 6-2, but Marjory had other ideas in the second.  She kept it close the whole way and every game was tit for tat!  Martha played very smartly and closed it out 7-5.  By winning both singles, we knew we were in the finals!  Carol and Kathy played beautifully against Shirley and Marjory and they almost pulled out a win, losing in 3 sets.  I am so proud of our team!
Tomorrow we will play the French team, the #1 seeds, who beat the Aussies.  They played on the court next to us so when we weren't playing, we could see some of their points.  We definitely have our work cut out for us, but we all feel great and are ready to give it all we've got.

When we are playing, we are allowed to have one teammate sitting on the court with us for coaching and support.  Carol has been sitting on the court with me and has been great help.  As she has everyday, she had on her flip flops.  Well, today, I noticed she pulled out her tennis shoes and was going to put them on after I'd won a string of games.  Superstitious me said, "please Carol, don't put them on yet.  Wait."  She said "fine."  As I'm preparing to serve, the official appears at the fence and calls my name, telling me to wait.  I did not realize Carol had been asked to put on her tennis shoes by the umpire!!!  We had a big laugh about it, but I did proceed to lose a few games after she was properly clad.  Whew, I'm glad I didn't have to blame Carol's shoes for a loss!

Kathy has been sitting on the court for Martha and has done a great job keeping Martha in winning ways.  Today, as the second set got close, I was afraid I would have to find her an airplane bag.  Occasionally, she would drop her head in nervousness, then, immediately pass on her words of encouragement!  You see, it's all a great team effort!!!  No one ever gives up!  We even have a necklace that reminds us to never give up, made by Tracy VieBrock.  We feel your vibes as well, because we are playing for the USA -- that's you -- and we will give it all we've got until the last point is played.

kkHere's what else will be happening tomorrow: USA 60s men, 60s women, 75s women, 80s men are in finals.  65s men, 70s women and 80s women are playing for 3rd.

Our team has been saddened this week as we've had news of the deaths of three husbands of players in our tennis family.  Our prayers and sympathy go out to these friends.

Another AliBey tidbit -- there are two open air stages and each night a live musical show is performed on each one.  In years past, I have seen a few of the shows, but none so far this year.  They don't start until 9 -- we always need to be at the courts by 8 AM for warm-up.

I've attached two pics.  One is of KG USA with KG GB.  The other is me with my Finnish friend, who gave me her Finnish cap she knitted.  She and her team are dear people!

We so much appreciate your kind thoughts and good wishes.  We'll be meeting the French at 9 AM!

Cheers and blessings!
Brenda


October 16, 2014

Happy Thursday!  USA KG14 did not lose a point in competition today since we did not play.  However, we had made a tentative plan to watch some of our men's teams, then go to the nearby village and do a little shopping. After shopping we would return and practice.  Well, we met at breakfast, then took off for the courts to cheer for the men.  Boy, there were some nice matches.  All were nail biters.  The 65s men split their singles, so the doubles would determine the winner of the tie.  Our men pulled it out, with the first set going to a tiebreaker.  They won the TB 8-6 after being down 6-3, then went on to roll in the second.  Unfortunately the 70s and 75s men weren't so fortunate.  Their singles matches were very close, but they came out on the short end.  We never made it to the shopping area!!  But we did have a good practice, then it was time to shower and meet for dinner!!!!

A little more about AliBey -- there is something for all!  The resort boasts a huge water park with many water slides and play areas, there is access to parasailing, there are maybe 5 pools.  One of the pools is the "silent pool" -- a nice way to say that no children are allowed.  And of course, it's nice just to go and sit on the beach if there is time.  Once a week they bring in a Turkish bazaar.  That was last night and I didn't make it over there.  Oh yes, you can ride on a camel!  I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of that.

Tomorrow is a huge day.  It's exciting to be in the semifinals, playing Great Britain.  The tie begins at 9 and I'll let you know how it goes!

Again, thanks for your support!  Blessings!
Brenda, for the KGCUP Team

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Kathy, Carol, Martha lounging after practice at the tennis plaza

October 15, 2014

Greetings! 
It was another successful day score-wise for KGC14!  Again, we won all three and by lop-sided scores.  Austria was the strongest team we've played so far.  However, we as a team have adjusted daily to the competition and have been able to "hunker down" and get the job done.  We all are hoping our level of play will continue to rise as the competition only gets tougher.  By defeating the Austrians today, we earned a spot in the semifinals.  We will play Great Britain, who are seeded 3rd, on Friday.  We know their players and know how tough they are.  The strong Australian team defeated Germany, which could be considered a mild upset.  The other Friday semifinal tie will pit the Aussies against France, the number one seed.  The #1 player for France is the sister of the #2 player for Australia, so that adds a little spice to that matchup!

A general tidbit:  after three days of competition, 9 of 10  USA teams are undefeated.

sqAfter a quick lunch, we went back out to watch the end of some crucial matches, but actually ended up having a little more "on your own" time than we've had all week.  However, at 7:00 PM, all participants and spouses/guests gathered around one of the AliBey poolside plazas for the Gala Dinner.  We all looked a bit different than we do on the court!  You can imagine how large the area is if over 700 people could be seated!  There was plenty to eat, music, socializing and dancing.  It was a gorgeous night and beautiful occasion.  I've attached a photo as an example of food presentation.  Those sculptures are huge squash sculpted by a food artist!!  It's quite amazing.  The other photo is of one of the many fountains on the grounds of Club AliBey.

We are looking forward to our day off tomorrow, but we will have a practice in the afternoon.  That's it for today.  Cheers and blessings.

Brenda

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October 14, 2014

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USA KGC Team with Swiss KGC Team

Hello!
The USA KGC14 team had another successful day on the courts, as we won all three matches in our tie against the Swiss team.  They played with heart and character in all three matches, but we were able to come away with the win.  Martha Downing (#1) and I played the singles and Carol Clay and Kathy Bennett played the doubles.   The matches were fun with lots of good points.

After we finished, we went to support other teams still on the court.  There were a few nail-biters for USA, but all USA teams were victorious. 

Club AliBey is not all about tennis.  It's quite a place and it's not short on food.  The food is beautifully presented with lots and lots of choices.  Even at the beach restaurant, it's all you can eat at every meal!!  That's dangerous.  At lunch today, we ate fairly quickly so we could go back to see completion of matches.  As we finished, Carol placed her spoon in her empty ice cream bowl and said, "I cannot wait for dinner!" because it's always an event.

The 65s men's team and their wives invited us to join them for dinner in one of the big dining areas (not on the beach).  Joining us also were several from other teams.  It was a fun get-together.  (See pic below).  I think in all, there were about twenty of us.

Ziggy, pictured below, is our team's little mascot that travels in each of our racquet bags.  I don't think he can really help us keep the ball in the court, but he's a fun thing to have.  Tomorrow, we play Austria.  It's a huge tie -- if we win that one, we will be in the semifinals!!!

As always, thanks from our team for your support.  Blessings.

Brenda

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October 12, 2014

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Left to Right: Martha Downing, Carol Clay, Kathy Bennett, Brenda Carter

Hello all,

We had a very busy, but successful day today.  Martha and I practiced at 7 AM, then we all met for team pictures at 8 AM.  I'm attaching our team picture as well as a picture of the entire USA delegation of 10 teams.  At noon, our team convened for another team practice.  I left from there to attend the Captains' meeting for the Kitty Godfree Cup, aka KGC14.

At the meeting, I found out that KGC--USA (us) had been given the #2 seed.  France is #1 seed, Great Britain is #3, Germany is #4.   Australia also fields a very strong team, so they lead the pack of the teams not receiving a top 4 seed.  The 16 teams are divided into 4 groups of 4, with one top-four seed in each group.  Everyone begins play tomorrow (Monday) 9 AM.  We will play Brazil, Switzerland, and Austria on Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday respectively.  Each day's play consists of two singles matches and one doubles match.  Winning two of the three matches constitutes a win for the day.  At the end of round robin play, the teams having the best record in each group will then play each other in semifinal play, followed by the final and 3/4 playoff which will be on Saturday.  We are excited to begin play!

The opening ceremony was in the afternoon.  No, it wasn't the extravaganza quite like the Olympics, but it was still exhilarating and humbling.  Each country entered the stadium court to music, following their country's flags.  We Americans were also waving our small flags as we proudly marched in together, wearing our red, white and blue warm-up uniforms.  After the ceremony, there was a social time and we could spend time with our friends from USA and other parts of the world!

The evening concluded with a terrific dinner at the beach restaurant. From our table (open-air) we could step off and walk a very sort distance down to the water.  It was a beautiful evening, which capped a beautiful day.

If you are interested in more USA team information and photos from Club AliBey this week,  you can go to www.carolynnichols.wordpress.com and/or www.carolynnichols.com.

I hope you had a glorious day as well.  Blessings to you all!

Brenda

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October 11, 2014

Hello from Club Ali Bey,

Most all of the teams have arrived at Club Ali Bey in Manavgat, Turkey as the ITF World Team Championships will begin on Monday.  I arrived on Thursday night and my three teammates arrived on Friday night.  My teammates are Martha Downing (Northern California), Carol Clay (Florida), and Kathy Bennett (Southern California).   We will be competing for the Kitty Godfree Cup (Women's 65s).  There are a total of 16 countries competing in our division.  The divisions competing in Cup play next week include Men and Women 60's , 65's, 70's, 75's, and 80's, so there are a total of ten Cups being vied for.

Club Ali Bey is a resort beautifully situated on the Mediterranean Sea.  Among many other things, the club has 60 well-kept red clay courts which makes it a perfect venue for an event such as this.  Everyone is housed on-site, and we have everything we need in the confines of the complex.  

We had good practices today, will practice again tomorrow and the games will officially begin at the opening ceremony tomorrow afternoon.  I also will attend a captains' meeting and will find out who we will be playing.  Our first matches should be Monday, but more later on that.

We feel so honored to be representing the USA and you in this incredible event.  We meet people from all over the world.  Even though we might not always understand a person's speech, we understand smiles, hugs, and tennis!

I hope you enjoy the ride!  

Thanks for your support.  Blessings!

Brenda

 

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