Monday, May 8, 2023

Eric & Brian Dosal: Once in a Lifetime Experience at Monte Carlo Masters 1000

A brief story about Eric & Brian Dosal’s recent experience at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 Tennis Tournament…

In late March my brother Brian and I decided we wanted to try the experience of watching a Masters 1000 Tennis Tournament in Europe. 

We have been to the Miami Open many times and our family has been season ticket holders since 1987 back when it was the Lipton and hosted on Key Biscayne.  So with the blessings from our very supportive wives we began the planning process.

We reached out to Grand Slam Tennis Tours (GSTT) as they offer packages for these types of tournaments and our family had worked with them before.  We wanted to use a company for our first trip to help with all the logistics since we are unfamiliar with the process, the country, or the language.  GSTT came through big time and got us some great seats, we just needed to get to the Nice Airport and they would take care of the rest.

In true Dosal Brothers fashion we don’t pick an easy trip, we start out with the long multi flight trip for our first experience.  On Thursday April 13th, we boarded our Air France flight to begin our 18 ½ hour door to door journey to Monte Carlo arriving Friday April 14th in the evening.  It was a 4 legged trip, first a flight from MIA to Paris, then a flight from Paris to Nice, then a helicopter ride from Nice to Monte Carlo, and finally a car ride from the helipad to our hotel Le Meridien Beach Plaza.

The tennis experience started on Saturday morning, when through my Miami tennis coach, we were able to connect with an active player on the ATP doubles tour who got us player guest passes.  As player guests we were able to enter the Monte Carlo Country Club (MCCC) early before the public and he was able to arrange a 1 hour practice session on Court 11 which is a match court during the tournament.  What an incredible experience to be in Monte Carlo, overlooking the mediterranean playing on the European red clay on the same court the pros use.  This was the main highlight of the trip and an experience we will never forget.

After checking out the country club, shopping at the store, and a quick change at the hotel we were back to watch 2 Men’s Semi Finals matches.  The first match was Fritz vs Rublev where Rublev won 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 including a 3+ hour rain delay.  During the rain delay we were able to take cover inside the players restaurant since we had “player guest” passes from earlier.  My image of a player restaurant is a lavish location with a huge delicious spread of food.  This was not the case, it was a simple room with fold out tables and chairs, and the menu was grilled chicken, rice or pasta, veggies and some simple fruit desserts.  Nothing fancy.

The second highlight of the trip was by far the Sinner vs Rune match which ended up being at night because of the rain delay earlier.  The temperature dropped into the 40s and the wind picked up so it got cold in a hurry.  Watching the match at night with the mountains in the background on one side and the Mediterranean in the background on the other side was beautiful.  The fans are very passionate and very vocal throughout the match.  To our surprise after the 2nd set the announcer made an announcement in French and all of a sudden the fans from the higher seats started to move down.  We thought perhaps it was an evacuation message but no, it was a signal for everyone to come down and fill the lower seats.  It was like the stadium shrunk in size and the volume of the crowd got louder.  What a battle and Rune came out the winner at 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 despite the crowd rooting for Sinner. 

The next day was Finals Day and the weather was the total opposite of the day/night before.  It was in the 70s, no breeze, no clouds and nothing but sun which made for a very warm afternoon.  The finals match did not disappoint with Rublev beating Rune 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in a long intense match.  What an incredible ending to our tennis watching experience. 


 We spent the rest of the day/evening exploring Monte Carlo which was in the process of preparing for the famous F1 race.  So we explored the boardwalk, the F1 track, the marina, and the world famous casino.  The city is beautiful and a pleasure to walk around.

Monday was all about the ride home as we had to do everything in reverse.  The car picked us up at 8:15am (2:15am Miami time) and we arrived at home at 7:15pm making for a 17 hour trip door to door.  What an incredible experience this was; not only was it our first tournament in Europe and our first time seeing the red clay, but we got to watch some incredible tennis and got an opportunity to play on the clay.

Can’t wait to see what tournament we check out next…perhaps the Italian Open in 2024…

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Alex Lazar - Loves the flexibility of the format.

We caught up with Alex Lazar out of the Austin franchise and here's the tennis story we have from him. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, for example: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies (besides tennis)?

I am a therapist at a psych hospital here and work on the adolescent unit and absolutely love it. I love where I work, my co-workers and the work I do there. Being a therapist has been a goal of mine since I was in high school and feel utterly grateful to be able to do the work I do and working with the teens is my jam. 

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and moved around a lot after high school, Oregon, Boston, Salt Lake City, and now Austin for good

I love cooking, gardening and spending time with my brother who also lives in town and taking my dog to the dog park. 

Which league are you a member of?

Austin Tennis League

How long have you participated in your league?

This is my third season over the past two years

How did you first learn about it?

Found out about it just with a google search looking for a tennis league here

How often do you play?

I prefer to play at least twice a week but usually 2 or 3 matches a week. 

What do you like most about the league?

That I get to play with other people at my skill level and just able to easily get back into playing.

Tell us about your most memorable match(es).

My most memorable matches are usually ones where I lose the first set and then able to come back and win the next two sets.

Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

I don't really have a rival in my league right now. 

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

It’s really nice that people can be moved up or down in skill level groups, it's a goal of mine to move up eventually.

How did you get started playing tennis?

I started playing before high school because a lot of my friends then played and then played one year in high school. 

Do you play to compete, or for fun?

Both, always love winning but also just love playing regardless. 

What level player are you? (NTRP rating) 

I'm at 2.5

What do you love about tennis?  

There aren't a lot of barriers to play, all you need is a racket and balls. It makes it so that more people can play and theres a lot of free places to play here and the ones that require a reservation and cost money are only $4 per person.