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The Vicky Cup
by: Phil Naessens

As I've stated in previous articles, I have a special group of people that play tennis here at the Corfu Holiday Palace Tennis Center and the Vicky Cup demonstrates exactly what I've been talking about and gives me yet another reason to stay here in Corfu.

Vicky is a lady of Dutch origin and is the 'common link' between the Dutch and English communities here in Corfu. Every lady that plays here knows her and each other through her. Vicky is also quite ill and well, the ladies decided to dedicate their friendly, and first, Dutch vs. English competition in her honor.

I would love to take credit for this competition, but the real credit goes to Veronica (of Dutch origin) and Julia (of English origin and a close friend of Vicky's). I may have dropped some hints and made some suggestions, but they really made the Vicky Cup a reality and all the credit, and rightly so, should be given to them. Four doubles matches were then set up for this inaugural competition.

The matches were scheduled for 11:00 am on February 15, 2004, and, as luck would have it, it started to lightly rain at 10:50 and drenched our 2 Deco Turf hard courts. By 11:30, and through a real 'team' effort, we had the courts 'playable' enough and the ladies began what will now forever be known as the Vicky Cup.

These ladies range in ability, skill level and experience and, despite the difficult conditions (wet, heavy balls and small puddles on the court) the tennis was pretty good that day. Most noticeably was the laughter and the shared camaraderie that a sport like tennis can provide. Who won? Well, the first Vicky Cup went to the English ladies 4-0 but I think, or should say know, that everyone was a winner that day. Afterwards, the ladies all went to Veronica's home for coffee, and I suspect, the wine they were playing for. It was a great day for all of us!

The future of this very special competition seems absolutely secure. They have already planned to play again next month, more people have expressed an interest in playing, most of these ladies also have children who play here so there's the possibility of some junior matches, possibly some mother/son or mother/daughter matches, a day long family type competition. A very friendly rivalry has also begun between the English and Dutch communities, which can only be positive for everyone concerned. One things for certain, Vicky: Your many Dutch, English and American friends will be thinking about you at every competition!

Tennis really is an amazing sport. It brings communities together, builds lasting friendships, and, in this case, a very special, living tribute to a wonderful friend that they don't want to say goodbye too!

God Bless You Vicky! From your English, Dutch and American friends here in Corfu!!

Phil Naessens is the Director of Tennis/Head Tennis Professional at the Corfu Holiday Palace in Corfu, Greece. For information regarding the many programs for tourists and locals, contact Phil at pnaessenstennis@hotmail.com.