A couple of weeks ago the AdventureDad family had a nice visit by one of the world's best female tennis players, our friend Virginia Ruano Pascual from Spain. She was in town to play the Nordic Light Open here in Stockholm, she won the doubles, and of course to hang out with my wife at various restaurants in the evenings while I had the pleasure of babysitting my children:-)
Both me and my wife used to play tennis professionally in younger days and we still play actively. Wife got to know Vivi, as her friends call her, playing junior tournaments but eventually lost contact. But during our many years in NYC they connected again and have kept in touch for the past ten years or so. And we've had the pleasure to attend some of Vivi's finest victories.
So how good is Vivi? Well, not bad. She has won 8 Grand Slam tournaments in doubles, her specialty, and a total of around 50 titles. She's been ranked as high as 29 in singles and was the world number one in doubles for several years.
Between 2002 and 2004, Vivi and her partner Paola Suarez reached 9 consecutive Grand Slam double finals (won five and lost four). After her doubles partner got injured a couple of years ago her ranking has slipped somewhat, now 80 in singles and 20 in doubles. Not bad after playing professionally on the tour for 15 years.
During the interview after Vivi's doubles victory together with Annabel Medina Garrigues, see clip below, she was asked which title number this was . But she has so many she didn't know the correct number. It was a real funny moment……..
During her week in Stockholm she had dinner at our place a couple of times but mostly went out with wife in the evenings while I was a responsible husband at home. I also practiced some with Vivi since she traveled without a coach. And of course we watched all her matches. Although watching tennis with a 3.5 year old and a hyper 12 month old isn't that easy.
Being one of the best players in the world has many perks and we've certainly enjoyed some of them with Vivi. During tournaments, we receive a players pass which means unrestricted access to all areas. Sitting in the players lounge, eating in the players restaurant, getting a complimentary haircut or a manicure, and just soaking up the atmosphere is very nice.
Forget lines and crowds, say hello to limos, good food, first class hotels, perfect seats, and being pampered. Neither me or my wife are impressed by celebrities but she thought it was cool to have strawberries and champagne at Wimbledon right next to Navratilova or McEnroe. Or hang out and mingle with the many Spanish tennis stars at the US Open
During evenings in NYC my wife would be the unofficial restaurant guide for Vivi and other Spanish players. With so much variety it's not easy knowing where to go and we certainly had lots of restaurant experience. We were always asked for recommendations with sushi being the most popular food. Wife's dinner companions in the evening read like a list of world top 20 players, both men and women, who always were super nice. It was great times.
Wife is thinking about joining Vivi for a tournament in China later this year and I think we're hanging out in Paris with her during next year's French Open. Should be fun! And of course we hope to see her in Stockholm next year again to defend her doubles victory.
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