Sept. 22, 2008
Former Georgia Tech standout Kristi Miller will share her experiences on and off the court from Spain as she begins her professional tennis career on the women’s circuit. Miller is competing in various 10K and 25K tournaments throughout the country.
I’ve been in Madrid about 10 days now and I absolutely love it! I have had an amazing time staying with two different families since I’ve been here. For the first week, I stayed with my friend Maria Nieto, who played for the Georgia Tech women’s tennis team before I was on the team; she helped recruit me. She lives near the center of Madrid with her parents and they let me stay at their house. I took the metro (subway) everyday to get to Alcocorn, the place where my tournament was taking place. Last Saturday, I had to play my first qualifying match without any practice on the hard courts after arriving the night before from Lleida and the red clay. I actually adapted pretty well and won my match handily. The next day I played the No. 3 seed in qualifying and played really well again and won in straight sets. That put me in the final round of qualifying on Monday, which was a very important match because winning that would put me in the main draw of the $25,000 tournament. I ended up losing in three sets and I was pretty disappointed because that meant I wouldn’t get any points for my efforts. But, I still had doubles the next day. I played with Megan Moulten-Levy, who I played against in college when she played for the College of William and Mary. We played a girl who used to play for Clemson, Julie Coin, and her French partner. We lost in a super-tiebreak for the third set! It was a really close match and they ended up winning the tournament, so it was a bit of bad luck having to play them in the first round. After that, I continued to go to the courts everyday and trained with Megan and her coach and also to warm-up my friend Natasha from England.
On Friday, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Davis Cup, Spain vs. USA. My friend Maria had to work, so she let me use her ticket and I got to go to both matches for the day. The court was in a bullfighting ring and the crowd of 21,000 Spanish fans was amazing to witness. I watched Nadal vs. Querrey and then later Ferrer vs. Roddick. Both matches went the distance and it was so much fun to be in that atmosphere, even though the United States lost both matches.
Saturday, I moved houses to another Spanish family living in Madrid. Their son is a foreign exchange student in the town where I live in Michigan. I have only been here a day in their house, but already they have showed me so much of Madrid and have been so kind. I went running in the Casa de Campo, which is a huge park similar to Central Park in New York. Last night we walked around Palacio Real (where the King and Queen used to live until sometime in the 1900s) and Plaza Mayor. We ate dinner outside, at a typical Spanish restaurant, overlooking the Palacio Real and a beautiful cathedral next door. I have had the opportunity to try more Spanish food this week, including the Spanish omelette, many different types of fruit, lomo (a type of meat), cheeses, and many more.
Yesterday, I went with Javier on his scooter and drove around Madrid and toured the inside of the Palacio Real. We also went to the Rastro Flea Market, a very popular place for the Spanish population on Sundays. On Tuesday morning, I am going to go to the Museo de Prado, a museum that has some of the most amazing artwork in the world. On Wednesday I will be going to a Real Madrid soccer game. I made my boyfriend extremely jealous when I told him! As you can tell, I am having the most amazing time here in Spain but a big part of me misses being part of the team, as they played their first tournament this past weekend. Go Jackets! I will write again soon, as I leave for Barcelona for two more tournaments starting this upcoming weekend. I will play those two tournaments and then head home home to Atlanta on October 13 where I hope to play doubles that week in the $50,000 in Lawrenceville, Ga.