Saturday, February 13, 2010

Arrival in Dubai

Hello Everyone,

As promised I am updating you all as we have now finally arrived in Dubai. We were met by 8 bodyguards outside the gate who ten joined forces with another four. They have been rotated since we arrived so I guess there is probably around 20 plus assigned to us…Barrack Obama eat your heart out…

I must admit that I felt like James Bond and not a coach on the women’s tour. Our passports were taken and our bags collected as we took a back route out of the airport. Then we were handed our passports and bags and taken to the convoy of vehicles that were waiting for us with more people.

We each went to our different hotels and then met at the club at the specific court that Shahar can play on and practice. I hope you understand that for security reasons I cant give you much info or detail, as I would be putting the whole operation at risk.

Dubai of course looks better each time I am here, and though they are supposed to be broke business seems to continue as usual. The weather was nice with around 28 degrees when we landed and this evening is probably around 23 or 24 with a slight breeze. Is amazing how you can climb on a plane where it is -16 degrees and get out five hours later where is 28 degrees…

The practice was good. We used it to touch up a few things that Shahar needed to work on and then she went to her hotel and I went into the players area to take care of some practical things like booking practice tomorrow and finding someone to practice with.

Is amazing how many changes a player goes through as the weeks go by. One has to be ready to adapt and adapt so quickly. I guess is the sign of the times not just for tennis but also for all concerned. Having said this the basic principles remains intact throughout the ages and it is through doing these that the consistency and ability to change successfully comes.

We don’t have a match tomorrow so we will be practicing twice. I look forward to training once again with 8 bodyguards around us.

Have a great day.
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In transit in Moscow in -12 degrees

Hello everyone from a chilling Moscow Airport.

We have just arrived from Paris where I thought it was very cold until we got here. We have a five-hour wait before we can board our flight to Dubai. So far the trip has gone well without any hiccups. The visa seems to be holding up so we will see what happens when we get there.

I was briefed on the phone before leaving Paris from Dubai about the procedures that we are going to have to follow and where Shahar is allowed to go and not. She has been limited to staying in her hotel and being at the club only when she has a match or a practice. Apart from that she will have to remain in the hotel. She will have a separate locker room to everyone else and will only play in one designated court.

As you can see it is very different than anywhere else we have gone before. I must admit that I am obviously concerned but not stressed about it. I guess this is part of what we do and it comes with the territory of working with an Israeli player.

We have a practice planned for tomorrow night at 6:30 for an hour to feel the ball and try and start getting used to the change of temperature and environment which includes the court surface the balls, and the place itself as we are coming from an Indoor event. The tournament starts on Sunday, which is very inconvenient for those players that played in Paris and did well like Shahar as it means very little adaptation time. These are the things which I still don’t understand why the WTA and their councils allow such a thing to take place with one event finishing on Sunday in Paris and another one starting on the same Sunday in Dubai….the reason is anyone’s guess.

The most important for us now is going to be to adapt and hope they give us the late start we have asked for so we can have Sunday to practice and try and get used to the drastic change. We will see what the tournament authorities grant us. I am making sure Shahar is drinking the correct amount of water every hour we are on the plane and making sure she walks around every so often even though the flights are not that long this time.

I will write some more tomorrow and let you know what is happening and when and who we will be playing against as the draw is being done this afternoon at 3 pm.

Have a great weekend.

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