I'm sitting at one of the firepits on the patio at Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs watching the sun rise over the mountains and drinking coffee. It's the morning of day 3 of The Tennis Ventures Indian Wells Tennis Clinic. Another first time brain child of Chadwick and Camilla Byrd. I landed at noon on Tuesday and was greeted by Camilla with a big hug and the news that an afternoon tennis session had been added to schedule. "Yeah, count me in" I said. "oh yeah" she said "I knew that, I already penciled you in."
It's very unusual for me to see mountains in every direction. The resort has the feel of something in the Bahamas, nestled in a valley. Very peaceful. I feel very pampered with a patio off my room that looks onto the pool.
Down to the courts where we met Coach Paul Allam and the fun started. Two hours later I was ready to admit that that was probably enough for the day. Especially with the reminded that we were going to be on court for 6 hours the next day with both morning and afternoon clinics. At the welcome dinner I was able to greet 4 old friends from the Australian and French Open trips. The food is always one of the highlights of the trips and that night it was no different. I love to eat good food and am greatful for the exercise to work it off.
Wednesday..what a day. We started off with drills from Coach Wayne Bryan (father of the Bryan bros.) and internationally known for his work with juniors. He's just as good with adults. Some ice breaker games to work on balance and agility and hand eye coordination. Three games and 3 times I looked around as people were eliminated and there I was a finalist with the pros. That earned me 3 of the Bryan Bros. posters, 2 of which I got to share with my new friends, Laura and Sherry.
More drills and then "The boys" showed up. I feel very strange calling 34 year old men "boys" but it certainly fits. Two nicer guys you won't find. I already knew that from watching their public behavior but having met their dad I can see that they are the way that they are because they were raised to be that way by parents who's primary goal was helping their children become the best people they could be. That they also became the best doubles team in the history of tennis was an added bonus.
I hate to use a cliche and say that Bob and Mike were just like regular people but they were just like regular people; incrediably talented people but happy to be out but there to sharing what they know with us. They stuck around for pictures and signings and lunch. So interesting to chat with Bob about tennis and music and other things.
Our afternoon session was with David Macpherson, Bob and Mike's coach, and Justin Gimlestob. More doubles tips and practice and afterwards a few matches to practice what we had learned. That was enough fore me. No going out last night. Spent a very congenial evening with several others around a fire pit talking over the day and looking forward to tomorrow.