WHOA, holy overwhelming…!!!
My dad and I were standing in the middle of Guangzhou’s biggest train station, in the third largest city in China (19 million people) and we were totally lost. The Tennis Academy sent a driver to pick us up, but there was a problem, he wasn’t at the station. I don’t speak Cantonese (which is what he spoke along with many others residents in southern China) so we had to find someone at the information desk to assist us with locating him. He appeared with a great big smile and within 30 minutes we had arrived at the Star River Apartments (where we would be staying for a month). We were greeted in the lobby by one of the tennis pros from the academy named Jimmy (from Taiwan). After taking the elevator up to the 6th floor and unlocking the door to our room, our accommodations completely exceeded our expectations! The room had a balcony with a view looking down upon a stone pathway which reminded me of a Boca Raton resort!
We had dinner with most of the players at the hotel and enjoyed our first experience eating fantastic food at the “spinny table”. The tennis courts are located on the 5th floor of the Star River hotel (five star rated) and from here on, we will call it the “Blue Box”. This place is NICE..!!
The “Blue Box” has three outdoor courts, one indoor, and two gyms (one outside and one inside). Each morning there is a session at 8:15 (except Sunday), and another session at 2:15. Star River Hotel provides all of the players and coaches with lunch and dinner every day offering many types of authentic Chinese dishes. The dining room is filled with endless white circular tables and in the center of each one is a round spinning glass plate (fancy lazy Susan). When you arrive for the meal, you take a seat and wait until everyone else comes. As soon as the table is full, the waiters take the covers off the dishes of food and you spin the glass until the dish you want is in front of you (see picture to further understand).
My dad and I have completed this daily routine four days and my body feels the impact of 4 hours of tennis and 1.5 hours of fitness daily compared to my usual training of 8-10 hours in an entire week! The level of tennis is very strong, each player is at a minimum ITF Grade 5 level all the way to Top 100 WTA. I am the youngest by 2 years and I really like how strong I am getting. My body is looking forward to the 2 massages provided weekly for the players!
It is now Saturday and my dad surprised me with a short over night trip to Hong Kong this afternoon…I am so excited…HK here we come!!