Traveling with Chhavi is not new for me. But mixing tennis with a holiday was a first for us! In June, we were traveling to Biograd for a week of tennis and holidays with Tennis Holidays Croatia. They organize various different events, like tennis holidays for singles or tennis doubles strategy & tactics week.
Traveling with a 11 year old on a connecting flight to Europe almost always results in one thing- a cranky child at the end of it. I was thankful that our pickup from Zagreb to Biograd was super smooth and organized by Tennis Holidays Croatia.
We were greeted by Bojan Dvorsek in the car park itself. Check in was a breeze and he left us to rest and recover. We were meeting later in the evening to discuss the plan for the week.
We loved the view of the Kornati Marina for our second floor balcony of the Ilirija Hotel. While I stood there, I was quite convinced about tennis, but I was not sure how our holiday part would pan out!
While I tried to catch up on sleep, Chhavi would wake me up every five minutes as she slept in the car! I woke up when I could no longer take her constant nagging!
Soon it was time to meet Bojan to discuss our plans. Chhavi had 20 hours of tennis and she was playing in one local tennis tournament in Zaton. However, we would also visit the fun park in Biograd which was on top of Chhavi’s agenda even before we left home. For me there was a trip to Kornati National Park to look forward to! I was now assured about the holiday part too.
Coming from Gurgaon, we found the weather in Biograd perfect. Gurgaon was constantly above 45 degrees Celsius. Biograd was 31 at its peak which was pleasant for us!
We arrived at the Ilirija Tennis Center the next day looking at bright blue skies! Chhavi played with two coaches Bojan (on the left) and Mladen Gerovac during our stay! Both Chhavi and I got to learn a lot from them.
Chhavi tells me she enjoyed learning the slice and volley the most! By the end of the trip Chhavi was much more confident as a player and she is carrying on with the same attitude back home too. Playing in the local tournament was another high for her. But that is the topic of another post.
While the tennis front was well done, I enjoyed my holiday too. After tennis Chhavi and I would go for a swim. On any given day we could choose between an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and the sea.
I loved my walks by the beach! Chhavi had a spiral potato, slushy and ice cream ritual. I was happy she wanted to eat something on her own!
On our trip to Kornati National park, we spotted dolphins in the sea. It was a first for Chhavi. But for her, the highlight was the Biograd fun park. We both came out with a vertigo but sparkling eyes.
I asked Chhavi if she would like to go on a holiday or a tennis holiday next? Her answer is an emphatic yes for a tennis holiday every time!
Tennis Holidays Croatia has the tennis bit thoroughly sorted but then I expected nothing less. I was pleasantly surprised that they know the holiday bit as well and customized it so well for my daughter. It has been a truly memorable vacation for us! I can now emphatically say we can mix tennis and holidays together!
PS. Tennis Holidays Croatia sponsored our stay, tennis and trips in Biograd. Do check them out for a memorable vacation.
Summer vacations are just around the corner. I am usually quick off the block to plan a trip with my daughter, Chhavi. Last year we visited Koh Samui together and we had amazing fun.
Before that my niece, daughter and I went to Prague. My sister and I have travelled to Budapest and Paris on vacations. I am quite used to applying for a Schengen Visa. When I did the formalities for the first time, I remember I was surprised that the Schengen countries have an approved list of travel insurance companies.
However, this year has been different. I have never been so confused as to where to go. I am torn between taking a simple vacation vs taking my daughter to a place where she can play tennis as well. Chhavi started playing tennis in 2017 and within two years she started playing tournaments as well.
— Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) April 6, 2019
Life was a little less hectic before. Now every holiday means extra practice. Twice a month we go around NCR to play matches. In tennis, All India Tennis Association is the apex body that runs a national league popularly known as AITA. She plays in under 12 and 14 age categories as of now. Contrary to all expectations, she won her very first match of Under 12. By the virtue of that one win she has a ranking of 539 or so in the country. The ranking is of course a dynamic thing and changes from week to week!
Before tennis, choices were simple. She would go to school, play in the park in the evening and we were free to travel in all her vacations. Now there is tennis practice and matches to juggle with school!
My original plan was that we will go out in June to a European country. Within Europe, I prefer a Schengen country as it gives me some flexibility to travel around. Schengen visa travel insurance is also easy. We would combine tennis with a vacation.
But I am not so sure now. Her practice is going on well with her coach, Aman Rawat. I am reluctant to break her rhythm. On the other hand, I feel she is not getting any break so we should simply go on a vacation. Going by this idea I start looking at the air fares and then I feel if I am going to spend so much money; why not add a week of tennis in it! I keep chasing these ideas within my head without reaching anywhere!
Another thought is to take a quick short break on one of the long weekends when the school is open and only focus on tennis during the summer holidays. The difficult part is that I am not feeling peaceful with any of these choices. I keep over thinking without arriving at any decision.
Then I ask the child what she wants, and she says, “Whatever you decide!” So, we go back to square one! She doesn’t seem too keen on an extended weekend break! So, I somehow must find a way to make something work in the summer vacation itself or convince her to take a break later! But before I do anything, I need to make up my own mind. Who thought taking a summer vacation could be this tough!
Before I write anything else, let me say I have only respect for the game Serena Williams plays. She won her first Grand Slam title in 1999 and she is still around winning big matches. But I view what happened in the US Open 2018 final slightly differently.
I have been following the game for quite sometime, more so after my daughter started playing tennis about a year ago. I do not wish to write much but present three videos from 2009, 2011 and 2018! Surprisingly all are from the US Open and all involve Serena Williams doing something similar to what happened in the 2018 with one difference. On the earlier two occasions, the chair umpire was a woman!
Here is what happened in 2009 US Open semi-final against Kim Clijsters-
You can watch the video and decide for yourself. In this drama the lines judge and the chair umpire both are women! You can read more about it here. It was Clijsters who was coming back from motherhood then! The result- Serena lost the match. Kim Clijsters went ahead to win the title.
In the 2009 match the lines judge was physically so small! She never even utters a word to Serena Williams other than taking the call about the foot fault correctly.
And here is what happened in 2011 US Open Final against Samantha Stosur. Once again the chair umpire was a woman! They look similar but they are different ladies, you can read more here. The article says “Bizarrely, Williams admitted later that she may have confused the chair umpires. During her infamous meltdown against Clijsters, the official was another blonde European, Sweden’s Louise Engzell.”
You can watch the video below, the drama starts at about 5 minutes!
And of course there is the final of 2018 US open. I thought there were two women of color in it! So if Carlos Ramos had an agenda why did he go only after one?
Also Serena’s coach admitted that he was coaching, the starting point of the controversy. I wonder what would have happened if the chair umpire was a woman this time too.
Here is the video. To me it has a sense of deja vu!
As I said in the beginning I am a big fan of the way Serena Williams plays, for the years she has been able to be on the top, it takes special dedication. But I am not so sure about her behavior in the final of the US Open 2018! Finally Carols Ramos has given a statement.
I believe that no coaching rule is violated so frequently, it ought to be reviewed.
I also believe that sexism is a universal problem but if it was a problem in the US Open 2018 final I am not so sure!
I am sure Serena Williams will move past it, go on to achieve greater heights but 3 times is not a coincidence. Nor does she looks like a victim of anything on any of those occasions.