It's Thursday afternoon and we are closing in on match time fast.
Enjoyed a solid workout on court yesterday. Alica and Sam spent a good 3 1/2 to 4 hours doing drills to help them get used to the court surface.
Neither girl asked for any let-up and that makes me as coach very happy.
With these two playing out singles points, it leaves Olivia to hit plenty of balls with Rennae so Stubbsy can concentrate on what she is here for - specifically doubles. I planned to work Rennae quite hard yesterday but her foot has become a little sore thanks to the surface, so we focused on a number of reaction type drills, less running.
Mark Woodforde watches Samantha Stosur.
Poor Olivia, she has been doing plenty of hitting and not sure if she is used to the workload. We set up a number of drills with her at the net and she discovered why Rennae is one of the better doubles players. Olivia's game is based around the baseline more, not always hitting a lot of volleys - she found out she may need to spend more time working on that area.
Last night we went to a restaurant that Alicia had booked for us all. So we piled into the team bus and drove across town with the driver and our interpreter in tow. All we were told by Alicia was that it would be like sitting in a theatre with local fare to choose from.
We reached the correct street but she couldn't remember what the front of the restaurant looked like. Thanks to Dascha (our interpreter) we found it. I think everyone of us had a look of "wow" when we walked inside, it was magnificent. A flurry of white-gloved waiters sat us down and passed out menus, as we all sat rotating our heads to take in the main dining room.
I was given the booklet on the history of the restaurant (with menu and winelist), which more recently is known as the "writer's house". On the wall, hung a 16th century tapestry, the wooden staircase was carved without using one nail or screw and squeaked when stepped on. An amazing crystal chandelier donated by Stalin be-jewelled the main dining area. Once our order was taken, we were allowed to walk around the restaurant to enjoy its history.
Bravo to Alicia, she was given a toast by the team for taking us to a brilliant eatery. A bus was coming to pick us up for Thursday morning's hit at 11.15am and, as a result of still being jet-lagged, hitting for six hours and eating too well in the evening, I overslept until 11.30am!
I bounded out of bed, threw on some clothing and raced downstairs to see the team driving out the hotel. I returned to my room and received a message that the bus would return to pick me up once the driver had dropped the entire team off.
Geez, was I embarrassed when I arrived. We all had a laugh and got on with practice.
A three hour hit was enough for all the girls today. A late lunch, treatment provided to those who needed it, an early dinner and we are one day away from the opening matches.