My Exciting Trip to Belgium
It’s been an enjoyable first three weeks to my Belgium adventure. I drove to Belgium, using the euro tunnel, after a fun three day introduction to county week, which resulted in promotion for my South
Wales team. After leaving the guys on the Thursday morning, the team beat Norfolk in a convincing 6-3 win to put us 2nd in the leaderboard, resulting in promotion due to a rained off Friday. Great news to feed off whilst I trained over the weekend in preparation for my first event in Westende.
Arriving for my first round match on Monday was exciting. The hard court event was held at a tennis club within a stones throw from the Westende beach. The tournament took full advantage of this and made it a big spectator event, with much seating around the two match courts, music at change overs and electronic scoreboards for the spectators: a rarity at futures level.
I came through a well contested first set, claiming it 11-9 in the breaker before running away with it in the second. Adding to the enjoyment of this first event, I’d been fortunate enough to stay at a family friends flat in Ostend. Cooking for myself was one of the benefits of staying in the flat, as opposed to the usual hotel or B&B. I whipped up many exquisite dishes throughout the week haha.
In round two, I played the Belgian 3rd seed Julian Cagnina. In a drama filled match, much to the fault of the hurricane-like conditions, I fell 6-7 7-6 6-1 in the 3 hour epic.
In my preparation for the next event in Eupen (South-East Belgium), I set off on the Friday road-trip with my doubles partner Billy Harris, who followed in his Transit van. The van in which he transformed into a motor home; bed, stove, storage and all…rather impressive if you ask me.
A gorgeous club on the cusp of a national park was the perfect venue to commence our clay court events. Once again, it was catered for spectators impressively, with much effort and time put into the planning of the event. Sponsors tents, courts maintained to high standards, and matches not scheduled until after the working day.
A mixed, but fun week saw me lose to a talented Belgian in the singles event, before playing some expert doubles with partner Billy Harris to claim the title: being gifted an ice watch for our victory. It was a fun week too, having camped with my family for the duration of the tournament. On my rest days we went on walks through the forestry, exploring the woodland; something my sister has grown a huge passion for during her time studying in Costa Rica. We even crossed a rickety rope bridge which I almost fell from on numerous occasions. After doubles one day, we drove to a swimming lake which had diving boards and floating trampolines which Billy, my dad and I enjoyed hurling ourselves from. The weeks highlight- barbecues replaced the home cooked food from the week before.
This week the draw was split over two days, so I took the opportunity with my family to revisit Ypres, a historical WW1 city which I’d visited on a Reed’s school trip. We visited 5 years ago following a history project we were assigned. It’s always great to find time to do some sightseeing when your travelling, especially if you can fit it in and around your practice days. I regained much of my long forgotten knowledge about the city and WW1 before appropriately we saw the last post performed at the end of our visit. The following day, disappointingly, I lost after failing to take my opportunity to level the match, getting beaten 6-4 7-5 by a solid German. Time to focus on the doubles, in which Toby
Martin and I are competing in the semi finals tomorrow. I’m going to be blogging a little more from now on, I think it’s a great way to document my travels and hope you guys continue to enjoy reading, Evan