It took us about 3 hrs to get from Bangkok to Pattaya. The road to Pattaya was boring and seemed to be never ending. But when we got to Pattaya, we understood that it was worth it.
Our hotel was located on a cliff near the beach. We arrived late at night, so we couldn't see the beautiful views. But when the morning came. And I went down for breakfast, I was stunned at the beauty of the ocean views around our hotel.
The tennis club was inside the hotel. And it took me only a few minutes to walk down there.
Galina was playing against Sania Mirza, who was the number one seed in the qualifying. I thought it was a good match for her. Sania hits the ball hard and gives you a good rhythm. And I knew Galina likes these kind of players. But I also knew that I had to do a certain mental preparation with her before she entered the court. Because her performance in Bangkok was less than great.
When Galina went on court that day, she looked more confident than a day ago. And she beat Sania 6-4 6-4.
We continued doing the same mental preparation for that whole week. And every day Galina went on court she looked better and better. Her match against Maria Kirilenko was almost lost. She was down 1-6 2-5 and 0-30. But Galina fought till the end. And when I saw a small let down from Maria. I took advantage of on-court coaching, came on court and told Galina to fight till the end, put more balls in. And when she got a chance to attack, just go for it. Galina listened and delivered. She won the match, fighting off 2 match points. I was really proud of her!
In her quarterfinal match against Sara Errani, Galina was a set and 3-1 up. But I think coming from the qualifying and playing every day in the heat, took its toll on Galina. She lost her concentration and lost that match in 3 sets.
Nevertheless, it was a good tournament for Galina. She was coming back from a long break. Which is never easy. And she was already beating players like Kirilenko, Mirza and Oprandi.
It wasn't all work in Pattaya. On my day off, I went with other players to the beach. We helped locals to plant corals. The corals would be put in the ocean later on. And would be monitored through the year. I hope my coral grows faster then others :)
There was also a nice player party. With great food, fireworks and elephants. It was my first time seeing a live elephant. I never visited any zoos when I was little.
I saw players getting on the elephants trunk without fear. But it took me a while to gain courage. I fed some bananas to the elephant first, cautiously approaching him. Galina encouraged me to go on. As soon as I touched elephants head, I was swooped up in the air.
When I came down, I saw blood on my hands and my dress. I looked back at the elephant, and noticed that he had lots of small bloody spots on his head. He must've been hit with a hook to obey. I didn't like that. I was trying to talk to the man who was there with an elephant. But he didn't pay any attention to me. So all I could do for that poor elephant, was give him more bananas.
I really enjoyed Pattaya tournament. It was a nice relaxing atmosphere. Great food and nice courts. All right on the beach. The only thing I didn't like seeing while there. Many creepy men, who went there on sex tourism. I felt a bit uncomfortable on the bleachers, siting among 99% men.
On my last night in Pattaya, I visited a silk shop. And bought a pair of beautiful silk pillow cases. I love bringing home a souvenir from every place in the world I am visiting.