2013 En Bref Issue
you didn't know you needed to know about
the Hong Kong Open ...
Not Only but Also...
When asked to describe 2013 in three words, Tarek Momen
replied “I don’t need three words, I can think of one…” We
probably have the same in mind Tarek…
Great to see Lucas Serme coming up on the senior scene.
Hard to find a nicer or more respectful boy, and France is lucky
to have him….
Nice to witness the changes in Omar Meguid, who is
getting to play squash and not rugby these days, keep it up,
mate you are doing good…
First Day, Always the
Oh.My.Lord. I really looked sh… that first qualifying round
morning. You know, the face you seem to have on your friends
photos… Yes, that bad. Even Nasser, bless him, told me that I
needed a rest and to do nothing for a while. Hear hear, mate. I
My motto that morning was “try not and upset anybody today”.
Well, I failed miserably. Already at breakfast I managed to
antagonise Mohamed Elshorbagy. OK, I know I was right in
what I said, but what a bad timing I chose. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Sorry for that Mohamed. Truly. And a few minutes little later, I
called Deon Tesni. Nice one Fram, keep it going, you are
going for the hat trick….
the Welsh all look the same to us ...
So nice to see everybody as ever, Tony Choi smiles a
welcome – I still think he is happy I’m here, but I’m never
sure, just a little twinkle in his eyes confirms he is – Iris is
back for the event, Jane bless her who celebrated her
40th with us last year, Anthea who now replaces Iris,
Emiliy and all the girls and boys that are helping with the
media/results side of things.
Heather, just back from a
week in Thailand, yes, tough job but somebody has got to live
through retirement, Karl, Anthony, everybody is in place
to make this event a blooming success as ever, and this year,
without the Damocles Spade of the IOC inspection! Pfew….
And GIRLS !!!
So NICE to have the girls around, as I didn’t see them since
well, the British! Steve went to the US Open, but I didn’t so…
Lovely to see charm and cute instead of butch and testosterone!
So glad to see Miss Whitlock, my ice-cream buddy, and all the
To be honest, that day is pretty terrible work wise. Absolutely
exhausted by 4 tournaments in a row, plus the jet lag and the
lack of sleep, I’m struggling in a second language, and I’m
hoping that I don’t write the opposite of what the players are
I’m like in a ball of cotton, and once the day is
finished, I am absolutely frozen from three matches on the
central court, aka the Freeze. If you thought Qatar is cold, you
never came to “The Freezer”…
I literally shiver all the way back home, and collapse in my bed,
trembling of cold still. It’s 9pm, and I’m asleep. With the help
of Melatonin, sleeping pills that counteract the effect of
jetlag, I manage to sleep 9 solid hours….
Strangely enough, once you get a bit of rest, the day doesn’t
look that bad. OK, in the words of Inspector Callaghan, I’m
still in a “Too many assholes, not enough bullets” kind
of mood but I struggle far less with English and manage to speak/follow
much more players/matches than the previous day.
One nice moment of the day, is meeting with Paco Chu, the
grand son of the Mak family who runs the cafeteria and
keeps Cubs and myself fed much more than what our vouchers gives
us the right to bless them, bless them, bless them!!!!
get in there without getting extra fruits or food. They are the
joy of the Centre, as far as I’m concerned…
Back to the hotel early, about 7.30pm, yes of course I did… Hit
the massage parlour, and in bed by 10. First round main draw
tomorrow, lots of matches but thanks HK for having them split,
it makes our lives much easier….
2013 En Bref Issue
you didn't know you needed to know about
the Hong Kong Open ...
FROM CAIRO TO HONG KONG…
Oh boy I’m tired, and I strongly recommend against anybody
pissing me off this week…
was a success. The tournament, the hotel, the referees, the
teams that were working on the tournament…. Even the crowds
turned out every night. A blooming success and everybody
involved should be congratulated for their “tour de force”,
setting up such an event less than 40 days….
Last two days were pretty nice for me, basically sleeping it off
during the day – ok, still did a few articles including one for
the Egyptian Sports and Fitness lovely magazine – and going out
with Ramy and his parents in the evening… Yes, I know, tough
job, but … I cannot thank them enough for their kindness and the
last night in Zamalec, on the Nile, will stay printed in my mind
for a very long time.
Of course the day I left Cairo, it was a good 31°C, whereas we
ceilinged at like 21° the whole week. Pffff. Landing in London
in the evening was a bit of a shock, 7°, but actually, it was
not too bad, no rain, no wind. Could have been much worse…
Next day was a tough one. Washing machine, waiting for the
clothes to dry, basic shopping, unpacking, putting away the
Qatar/Cairo outfit, going to hairdresser in Central London – you
can’t take out the woman out of the reporter – back to Crystal
Palace for 8, food with landlady bless her, then taxi to Dulwich
Sports Club where my mate who gets my mail works, cup of tea
with her, then taxi back. Tired…
Next morning, Thursday, packing up the clothes straight from the
washing line, plus a few more stuff for mid season – around 20°
in HK – and off I went to Heathrow T5. Gosh I HATE that terminal
as I cannot go to the lounge – Priority Pass doesn’t work there.
And it’s like… human-less. Everything is supposed to be modern
and all. They tried to replace men/women by machine/automatism.
It’s NOT WORKING PEOPLE…
Flight was simple enough. Luxury of having nobody next to you.
11 hours trying to sleep and managing it by intermittence.
Dreaming of the massage parlour next to the hotel in HK…
Out of the plane. If I had any doubt I look tired, old and sick,
I have none left when a man – obviously from the Health Dpt -
with a mask and the digital thermometer stops me at the exit of
the plane to check if I’m really ill. Cheers, mate, you know how
to make a girl feeling good about herself!!!!
Hong Kong airport. Struggling to find where the luggage is
arriving to. I just look for the people of the flight. Waiting
for them for a loooooong time. Train to Hong Kong, about 30m.
Same price than last year, 100 HKD. Unusual enough to be noted!
Enormous queue at the taxis at the train station of course as
it’s rush hour. Suddenly I see somebody right at the front of
it, with Tecnifibre bags (like mine). I look up, and it’s Mariam
Metwally! “Do you mind if I share the taxi with you?” She is
kind enough to accept. As the taxi man is looking at our three
enormous squash bags and saying “no problem” to fit them all in
his trunk, taking a Sandoz and leaving the boot half open, I
feel she may be regretting it when we arrive and there is no bag
left…. But no, we arrive and all the bags are still there. Pfew….
battle at the reception where they try to give me a cupboard
instead of a room – when you give me a room that has no windows
and where you can’t walk around the bed, I call that a cupboard
– for the third year in a row. Thing is apparently, overlooking
a cemetery is bad luck in HK, so, they seem to sort out the
problem by blanking the windows off! Meaning you are closed in
and never see outside. And as the room is minuscule…
I manage to get a “upgraded room” that is a very basic one but
I’m too tired to battle some more. I still can’t walk around the
bed, but at least, I have a window… Baby steps.
Quick walk outside with Cubbins – who just found out that he can
only connect one device on the internet room and is not a happy
bunny as he works from 3 different ones, and who just announced
boldly to the internet helpline he is on his way to beat
somebody up at reception. If anybody knows Cubs, it’s the
funniest line he ever came up with bless him. Made my evening!
quick bite in a small restaurant round the corner, sweet and
sour pork for me – best ever, and some beef with back pepper for
Cubs. Back to the hotel, and I kill the Massage parlour right
next to the hotel. 75 minutes top to toes. Sue me.
It’s now past 11pm. Going to sleep. Or trying to. In HK, the
jetlag is terrible, 8 hours for Cubs, 6 hours, minus 2, plus 8,
for me. Not sure on what planet I live at the moment…
Saturday, 7am. Blimey, I must have been tired. That’s the first
time every I manage a 7 hours straight sleep in HK! Cubs
struggled apparently, after a non sleep at all on the flight
day, only got three hours last night poor mite.
Thanks to the kindness of HK Squash and Tony Choi, we are having
a day off today. And that makes a huge difference, thanks Tony.
The body needs at least a day to accept that for a while, night
is day, and day is night…
at 8. If the breakfast room has been refurbished, they haven’t
pushed the walls and it’s still a far too small room for the
size of the hotel, not enough seats for everybody and they want
you to go as soon as possible. Hence grabbing your plates and
cups as soon as you happen not to cling to it! So funny to see
Cubs’ face as they manage to steal 3 of his cups in a row, and
his expression every time he goes to have a sip, and it’s
Not sure what’s funniest though. His face when they steal his
cup, or mine when I see that the tea we get is still that awful
beverage with three Lipton yellow bags stewing on a warmer….. I
am dreaming of my usual Earl Grey…
out of it. Back to the room. 118 messages in my gmail mailbox.
Somebody shoot me. Starting sorting them out. Can’t keep the
eyes open. Back to sleep. Up again. It’s now 12. Working my way
through the messages.
Off for a little walk. Looking at the colours of the buildings.
So different from our Western standard… Very, well, colourful
really! On Times Square, they have some Chrismas Elves, a bit
original there too…
of people around – it’s Saturday – and as I look around I’m
thinking… It’s a bit of a shock to the system when you spent
time in Qatar/Cairo where the dress code for ladies is well,
long/covered completely, and you arrive in HK where it seems
that it’s more of a “one centimetre shorter and it’s a belt”
kind of code. Maybe a middle ground could be found????
Managed to grab a cup of tea – so tired I burn myself quite
badly with a stupid carton cup – winged against people in the
street that don’t seem to smile ever, get my usual pair of shoes
– I buy a pair of black flip flops , same brand, same colour,
every year, check en brefs 2012! Not very original, I know…
Back to the hotel. Can’t keep my eyes open. Going for a
zzzzzzzzzzzzz. After that, will go and have some soup and hit
the massage parlour. Yet again. Sue me. Yet again… See you