I answered a last minute SOS to referee a senior’s event in Poland last month. I’m glad I was able to, as I got to take in the sights of the north-western Polish seaside while the weather was nice.
I was in charge of 160 players from 35+ to 85+ categories, on 13 red clay courts, across 2 countries – Poland and Germany, a feature that makes this event unique. Subsequent rounds were played in alternating countries, and a regular shuttle bus helped to move players the 5km distance between clubs.
Two neighbouring towns that straddle the border hosted the event: Swinoujscie and Ahlbeck. Thankfully, my knowledge of German was passable, and I had a Polish-speaking translator on hand for difficult queries. Besides a couple of additional admin responsibilities, the event ran much like any other multi-draw event I’ve run in England.
As the event was well sponsored by Babolat, participants received generous gifts at sign in, and further gifts as finalists, from clothes, tennis supplies, jewellery and cosmetics. A large scale player party took place on the Friday night at a grand local hotel, and a boat trip round the bay on the Saturday evening.
Matches were played between Wednesday and Sunday (4-8 June) and I had 2 clear days either side to explore the area. That meant I could enjoy the long white sand beach, and cycle across the border from Swinoujscie to Ahleck, and explore the nearest city of Szczecin. With the current exchange rate being favourable, the food and activities were very cheap. Coupled with cheap flights from Stanstead to Szczecin, this makes it a very viable event to play.
This year’s event was an ITF grade 3 event, and it hopes to attain grade 2 for next June. If any senior players are looking for an alternative event to play, that won’t break the bank, then I highly recommend this one - for sure I will be there. It should be in the week that follows the Bournemouth event. Concessions are made for ladies and players 75+.
2014 results are listed here: http://itfseniors.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=852915D5-AB0B-4628-85D2-E811CE31FF40
The tournament website is here: http://itf.babolat.pl/ (change the language to English).
Contact Ireneusz Maciocha to register your interest for 2015: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also an ATP men’s challenger (one level below ATP250) event from September 8th in Szczecin. Dustin Brown, recent conquerer of Nadal in Halle, played in the 2013 event.