Tennis member Felicity Thomas has returned from playing in the Grade A Mallorca Seniors tournament on the eastern coast of the island.
She was within about six miles of the disaster area caused by almost unprecedented rainfall, in which 12 died, and a child is still missing. Press coverage in the UK showed Raphael Nadal helping the clean-up – he comes from Manacor about 5 miles on the Palma side of the worst-hit area, where he has his tennis academy and museum.
The tournament tennis centre and hotel suffered extended thunder and lightning and torrential rain, though nothing as bad as further inland where nine inches fell in five hours. The courts were obviously well laid and were playable by the following afternoon.
Felicity has not played this tournament for about ten years, partly because it often coincides or overlaps with the world championships. This year there was a four-day interval making participation possible. Also, for the first time, the young seniors played a week before the super seniors because the tournament entry had become so large. The super seniors alone attracted about 350 participants from around 40 countries.
She lost in the over 75s singles semi-final, in line with her seeding of four. She lost once again to Heide Orth, who has spent most of the past year as world number one. She has played Heide five times in the last two years and has yet to take a set off her. On the way she beat a German lady 6-0 6-0 and found out afterwards that she was the losing finalist in 2017, highlighting the variation in standards if world team players are unable to attend.
With new partner Margaret French, they lost in the 75s doubles final – against Heide Orth and another German player who is still very strong in doubles despite her lesser mobility. Margaret returned to tennis about five years ago following a long period as a tour umpire – she had not faced opposition as strong and experienced, but she was not overawed. Felicity says “we were just not good enough against them.”
Felicity has no plans to play a tournament before the British Indoors in January, an opportunity to recover fully from her recent injury.