music suggestions for all of you ladies and gents: Flume, Melody Gardot, and major props to Diana Krall and Sade
book suggestions: Shantaram. must read both women and gentlemen (even though some might say it’s more of a MAN’S book. ha!)
places to visit suggestions: Gracetown, margaret river, australia….montego bay, inks lake state park
foods to eat: falafel…rocket…shallots..goji berries…chia…and wheatgrass
drank to drank: pokka sports water (japanese)
restaurant to try for eat in, take out, and delivery: crust…is it only australian?
newest hobbies: postcard collector…. i’ve gotten some pretty unique ones…i’ve started doing my nails due to my constant nail biting addiction….i’ve started writing lots and lots of emails…i’ve also grown accustomed to speak on the phone. who would thought that last one…and last but not least, i’ve started studying the world map. get those geography skills above par…
Currently staying in an amazing house, in the deep woods of margaret river. i would give you directions but i guarantee you wouldn’t make it.
you have your own private beach, about a 15 min walk from the house…unlimited grapefruits and oranges, egg providing hens, and some pretty awesome views. you have the sunset in the evening, followed by the amazing array of stars at night. it’s sick.
anyway, story for the blog? how amazing is it to live away from everything? i just told my boyfriend that that’s what we need to do. i mean, at the end of the day, we need to become closer with nature, isn’t that right? i’m not trying to get religious, psycho anything here, i’m just stating the fact that we really need to be more aware of our true mother…in that whole metaphorical sense…
away from the smoke, the pollution, the crowded spaces, the sometimes irritable souls—-it’s almost like an escape. except it’s not a drug—-it’s a home. your home should be your escape, whether it’s from work, from a sport, from anything. you should make it your oasis. i guess that’s the whole reason for this blog.
i’m really enjoying myself in australia…as it should be…
Realizing more and more every day, that there really is a life after tennis.
So many gateways and opportunities are born through this sport—-but so many girls fail to take full advantage of that. Whether it’s to market yourself, or to provide yourself with something legit after tennis, too many girls are forgetting that.
I’m not saying to necessarily get an education, but heck, it’s not a bad idea. There’s a new and amazing program that the WTA Tour has provided for the girls called iLearn. They’ve teamed up with a university online to help girls finish their college and master’s degree. And guess what? It’s like 75 percent off regular price if you get a C or above.
I would really like to create a site that has all the essential up to date information for that day, to feel like you are actually up to date with your environment and world.
i get how newspapers do the whole news thing, but what i’m saying is that there are always going to be tidbits of information that the news doesn’t provide you.
i’m thinking it would be genius…because you could just get on there, and feel like, “hey, i’m really happy i know that…”
whether it’s something that is talked about at all that day, it’ll still be informational, and educational obviously. hmmm, i wonder how long it would take to write that…maybe it could be cool where it’s just an ongoing paragraph…hmmm, ideas ideas.
we use so little of our brain. anybody hear about this show about this guy that is trying to use his brain to do everything? there was a commercial about it, and in the commercial he was totally locked up with all these chains and whatnot, and was going to use his brain to get himself free……
just tried to look up the link to provide ya’ll with , but came up with this instead:
wow, i REALLY REALLY need to blog more. i don’t know why i haven’t. i think it’s the worldwide known excuse of “i just don’t have time.” to my own weak defense, i do play tennis—-a lot…and i am now trying to finish my degree online. it’s all good fun.
anyway, currently in perth australia. whooo aussie aussie oy oy oy. just started with a new coach. his name is simon which is convenient …ya know…the whole simon says game? no but seriously, that was pretty funny when i said it in my head. you get the gist.
i’m pretty excited about it. i just started sharing him with my friend irena pavlovic. yeah you can just imagine, “hey good shot ir…um…ir-ee-na.. yeah you too ir-eee-na” hah it’s pretty funny. i’m sure if you’re watching from like another court, you’d laugh. i laugh every single time.
i don’t really know if anyone ever reads this, but i don’t mind if anyone reads this. i should keep my own personal journal, but what if something happens…who’s going to publish my thoughts?!!! bahhh, anyway…i don’t want to get carried away right now. i’m just going to chill it out. i’ll put some fun pics up as well…
Follow American Irina Falconi in this Quest to Qualify player blog on her journey through Europe in preparation for French Open qualifying. Today she reflects on her singles final and prepares for Roland Garros.
Follow American Irina Falconi in this Quest to Qualify player blog on her journey through Europe in preparation for French Open qualifying. Today she celebrates her doubles runner-up finish and semifinals appearance in singles.
Wow, it’s been a year. Literally! I mean, wow I’ve been bad with keeping up with my blog. Shame on me! But alas! I am back on track! Keep a look out for some blogs from Prague!! And this year’s French! And the rest of the European tour :-)
So I feel like such a noob for not writing a blog on siblings day…but then again, every day is a great day to thank your sibling for being awesome. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do today.
The story of my sister Stephanie is quite the unique one. She was born five and a half years before I was, and I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t quite thrilled about me coming in. Why? Well, we all know what happens to the first born—-they ain’t that first born anymore. I mean, they are, but you know what I mean.
So I come in, thinking I’m the coolest baby EVA, and my sister is like WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA.
So first reason why she’s awesome? Because she loved me once I came in the world even though that meant less attention for her.
Second reason why she’s awesome is because she made me tough. When I tell you this little skinny thing I call my big sister would knock me around and make me feel super not-awesome—i ain’t lying. She made me tough, and that has helped me like no other—-and I thank her for that.
Third reason why she’s awesome—-because she still continues to challenge me as a sister, a friend, and a plain old human being. Being my big sister, we are always going to be competitive against each other (including tennis, maybe not now but back in the day :-) So that means that whatever we may be doing, talking about, she’s constantly challenging me. It makes me sharp, quick on my feet, and allows me not to take anything for granted. She also helps not take any crap from anyone—-and I mean, at the end of the day, who wants poop?
And the fourth reason why she’s awesome? Because she loves me. And she’s my sister. And no matter what happens, she’s always going to be my sister. No matter what.
And for that Stephanie, I thank you.
Thank for being my sister. You’re awesome and I love you.
Social norms...which turns into just society's point of view in general...sigh
Is there such a thing?
So I’m totally talking with the coolest cat in town right now, Travis Lee Hartman, my bffffff, and we’re discussing social norms.
What people deem normal. What is normal?
I mean, to goths, goths are normal. To billionaires, billions of dollars is normal. To tennis players, the sport of tennis is normal. How can we be in a society where our span of life and the world is so absolutely minute, to the point where anything and anyone can be considered normal/abnormal?
Let’s say movies.
You have a friend…Says this movie is terrible. You still watch the movie. But, you go in there already having a somewhat predisposed opinion of the movie, which you had nothing to do with. So you go watch the movie, which you actually think is good, but in the back of your head, you’re thinking “hey, my friend said it was bad, it must be bad.”
no people! everyone is different. everyone is normal.
sure there’s argument in that, but you cannot fault people…bah i’ve gone too far. yawn.
yes, it’s been a while…i’m sorry friends :-(
enjoy this though!
In case you were wondering, that’s how you say “hello” in Korean.
Yes friends, it has been way too long. And yes, I am in Korea. I arrived here on Saturday night from Quebec City, and it has been quite an experience.
I definitely got a lot of people asking me about blogging during the US Open, but I didn’t blog the prior week and the first couple of days whilst I was there, that once I won my first match, I got all superstitious about it. So if you’re wondering, blame Stevie.
Anyway, let me just close the book on Quebec briefly. It was my second time at this tournament, but it was my first time staying in the official hotel. Last year when I played the tournament, I had a friend of a friend of a friend that was able to hook me up with this one bedroom studio apartment about 5 minutes from the hotel. It was awesome! But this year, the apartment was sold :-( So free hotel it is!
I was ousted in the second round by Marina Erakovic who ended up being in the finals so no biggie. I won my first round at a WTA event, got some cash, and got an extra day to get adjusted to the time change in South Korea.
The event in all is quite awesome. The food, the people, le French language, and the administration is just great. The player party that was held for us consisted of a 4 course meal, some prizes, and a surprise magic show in the end. Don’t worry, no one dissappeared. That WOULD have been cool though.
Anyway, I was able to get a relatively cheap flight to Korea. Oh yes, I hadn’t bought my ticket to Seoul before heading to Quebec City. I literally bought my flight about 12 hours before the departure date. I had a nice 4 am wake up that was followed by a 645 flight. Through Detroit and then 14 hours to Seoul. No biggie. I was able to watch some awesome movies, get some seriously delicious Delta food (no joke, considering it was plane food, it was pretty good) and before I knew it, I was getting greeted by Koreans all saying what I wrote on the top of this blog :-)
Alright, so we arrive in Seoul. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience. I get to the airport at around 5 o clock. I’m thinking that between customs and baggage, I’d be out by 6:30, and then I would be able to play at like 7 o clock—dinner to follow. Perfect right? So, I was pleasantly surprised by a very short customs line, and my baggage came out fairly quickly, so it was only 545. Nice, we’re doing good. So I get greeted by a young man that tells me to go with him this way. The poor thing was so nervous he didn’t even help me with my bag. I found that slightly funny.
I ask him about whether or not I’ll be able to go to the site to play tennis, and he just nods and says yes. So after about 5 minutes of walking, we go outside, and there are a bunch of people in front of these buses. I look at him, and ask him if the bus is going to the tennis center. He responds yes, and then thinks again, and shakes his head and says “Hotel.” I then ask him if I can get a ride from the hotel to the site. And he responds yes. So I’m feeling kinda good by this point.
I get on the bus, and then a woman comes on the PA to talk about our trip. At the end of the announcement, she says that the bus ride will take at least 100 minutes. Ha. It’s 610 by this point. So much for playing. Not to worry though, I figure that I’ll just go to the site early in the morning to hit twice on Sunday. Keep in mind therer’s a chance I’ll be playing on Monday.
So I end up getting to the hotel at around 8 pm. Get checked in and everything, and go to my 5 star room where I get all situated and comfortable before checking in with the rest of the world. Keep in mind there’s a 13 hour time change to the Eastern Time Zone. Therefore, by this time, I’m trying real hard to stay up as late as possible to be able to sleep throughout the night.
I end up sleeping the whole night which was awesome, and then I went to my 5 star breakfast. Oh yes, I was able to make it happen even in Korea. Egg whites, pineapple, and rice. Good stuff. I mean, there were other options like straight up garlic, sushi, noodles, salad, and different assortments of hot soup, but I chose what I knew best :-)
So I get a warm up in with one of the qualifying players, which was good because I needed to make sure I was up early and absolutely exhausted by the end of the night to get another full night’s sleep. After a couple of hours, I got some lunch. Squid with hot chili? Um, no thanks. I’m honestly not trying to be a hater, but there’s just some taste buds that aren’t within everyone. Just saying.
I was able to hit again later that day which was quite interesting because I was half asleep throughout most of it, but it was all good. I got it in, and felt good even if I would end up playing the next day. Later that night was the player party, where yet again, my taste buds were tested. They passed with Korean colors.
We had yet another magic show where I volunteered to go on stage and perform as the magician does. I was complimented very much that night on my dancing skills which I took full credit for, and then I called it a night.
Monday came, and it went. Once again, I did my thing in the morning, and headed to the club. I didn’t have a match that day, so I knew I could hit a little later. I didn’t think it’d be till 4 pm though! It rained. Yes people, it does rain in Korea believe it or not. So, yes, I got my hit in, headed to the hotel, and acknowledged my beautiful 5 star view. Have I mentioned the tournament hotel is a 5 star hotel? Yeah, in case you were wondering. 5. Not 4. Five.
So yes, for dinner on Monday, I decided to go American on it. A little TGI Fridays is better on Mondays anyway. It makes you feel like it’s Friday.
So I got what I thought was a traditional American salad with an Asian twist. Some noodles and Asian dressing will give it that twist.
Anywhooo, I play tomorrow. 5th on Center Court. If you’re a morning person, pretty sure I’ll be playing when you get up :-)
That means bye :-)
Whilst waiting for the bus, a young man comes up to me and asks me if I am Irina Falconi. I laugh, blush, and answer shyly, “Yes.” He then introduces himself as a graduate from Georgia Tech that used to watch my matches when I played. SMALL WORLD WOULDN’T YOU SAY?!
My toilet seat is heated…5 star hotel will do that for you.
Did I tell you that the hotel is 5 stars?
Alright, let me tell you how this is going to go down…
Or so he said.
Now, let me introduce ya’ll to my main man Chuck. I introduced him (kinda) in the previous blog (he’s in Coco’s entourage.) Chuck Williams is Coco’s physical trainer…he has also never lost a fight—-in his life.
We heard some stories today that you could make a Mission Impossible/Matrix movie to. It was that intense. No joke.
We had practice, lunch, dinner, and a movie with our fellow Americans—-and it was AWESOME!
This morning started off rather early. 8 am wake up was nice…
Had a wonderful European breakfast…Shall we talk about making of the egg white omelette again? Nah
My coach had a coffee and a chocolate croissant this morning, meanwhile he’s telling me how pro athletes have to eat clean and healthy. Yeah, I can hear you laughing Jeffrey. Thanks. Thanks a lot you old man :-D What did I do in return? I made him work his calories off by taking my bag to the courts.
Had a great two hour practice with Coco on the dirt, and then we ended up the practice by learning about Dairobi—- stick and machete fighting…No big deal.
Jeff decided he wanted to learn a little more about how to defend himself…Check out the picture. He did well didn’t he? Coco and Gully had to come to the rescue…so he resorted to bunny ears on Coco.
Needless to say, Chuck, Gully and Jeff are now best friends forever.
So much so that we decided to check out the latest movie, Thor, in 3D at that. Gully, being of viking descent, was extremely enthusiastic about the film. Jeff and Gully kept talking about fjords. Meanwhile, Jeff and Chuck kept screaming about different martial arts moves whilst Thor pillaged the world with his mighty hammer, and refined 6 pack…or 10 pack…However you like it. Thor is kind of a big deal. Jus sayin’. Oh and PS, we got these awesome and frommage filled 3D glasses that will be making an appearance on here soon. The 5 stooges of Brussels with 3D glasses—-classic.
Dinner. Who would have thunk that five Americans would eat italian food in an Irish pub, in Belgium. Waffles, that’s all I have to say.
Found out I don’t play till Sunday. Sleepy sleepy. Yummy yummy. Till then.
Stay classy US of A.
Entry Numero Dos...oh wait...what's two in French?
May 12th, 2011
So yeah, this morning started out at 11 am. Yah, no big deal. I haven’t been able to sleep past 6:30 am for the past 4 weeks, but yeah, that’s a 6 hour time change for you. I know I already talked about, so deal.
We got to the lobby and I decided to use my sweet American twang to get us a little breakfast. And of course, I succeeded…Duh.
After some solid breakfast, Jeff and I had a nice little stroll to the tournament site.
I tried to not stick out in the crowd, with my huge black and yellow (uhh huh, you know what it is) Babolat bag and my huge shades…but it’s kinda hard when you’re in such a beautiful town.
I have my camera out the whole time taking pictures of beautiful architecture and wonderful scenery…Let’s see how many times I can say beautiful in this blog.
Anyway, once we got to the tournament site, we saw only one other player on the court, my good friends Coco, Gully, and Chuck.
We got on court, and it only took about 45 minutes of the 60 minute practice Jeff and I had, for the old man to finally get loose and get more than 6 and a half balls on the court…Ha…Old man…
OK OK, he’s 40. He’s not old. Calm down people.
After that, lunch happened. I don’t know if you guys knew this, but Gully and Coco are famous for carrying a Backgammon board, and they are always playing. And I mean, ALWAYS.
Once we arrived to the table, we ordered the most safe dish in Europe, which is Pasta Bolognese. It’s beautiful…except when they put 1 pound of shredded cheese on the top…Not a big fan people, not a big fan.
Whilst eating, and after Gully and Coco finished their eighth game of lunch, we decided to share absolutely hiloarious and strefful experiences from the glamorous life on the WTA Tour. From missing flights, to lugging about 350 lbs of luggage throughout a Spanish speaking city, the stories were funny and loud. We were the only crazy table in the restaurant, and we liked it.
After lunch, merci, we got back on the dirt. Coco and I played a few points after some hitting. There was one shot where she dropshotted me and closed the net ( a dropshot is a ball that lands right over the net, and is a very short shot.) As I was about to hit the ball, I fell on my right hip, and scraped my right calf and arm. After hitting the ball, Coco comes up to me whilst I am on the floor and asks if I was ok. First thing I say “Did you win the point?” - “Yeah…” — “DANG IT!” I walked up and kept playing, and as I was about to return her serve, Jeff looks at me and says “Welcome to the dirt kid.” Jeff, I don’t know if you knew this, but I turned 21 last week…Just saying, old man.
After practice, we went upstairs and tried to get transportation…..Last time I checked, 15 minutes doesn’t mean 90 minutes…does it? That’s how long we waited for transportation to the hotel. Are we in France? I thought we were in Belgium… Waffle.
Another dinner in the Grand Place? Dang it Jeff! Why do you have to bring me here. Jeez…
I am currently writing this from our designated hangout which is two streets, one alley, one alcove, one tunnel, and one set of stairs into the abyss.
Till tomorrow. Au revoir!
Alright ya’ll, this is the blog that will be appearing on the home page of the USTA.com. Heck to the yess….Enjoy…and au revoir
May 11 2011
Irina Falconi here! It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog on USTA. Midland was the week before Valentine’s day, so a lot’s been going on in the last two months!
ANYWAY, enough with the introductions… My coach Jeff Wilson and I are in the middle of Belgium, we are in Brussels! The waffle capital of the world. I know you Georgia people think waffle house is the best waffle place ever (it might be at 4 in the morning) but these waffles are dang good (for use of a better word.)
So we arrived here yesterday, which is like two days ago for ya’ll, but you get the picture—-we arrived on Wednesday at 8:30 AM, which is 2:30 am Wednesday morning for ya’ll don’t know the difference. Sharing information tis all.
So, once we got through check in, actually, whilst in check in, I found out very quickly that in Europe there is no such thing as a line. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s not like they don’t like order here or something like that, they just don’t believe in lines. Which is cool though because the one guy that skipped us and went to another line, was awesomely beaten by us. Point for us.
So we took a train directly to town center, because that’s how we roll, and took a cab to the Hotel Ibis, the qualifying tournament hotel. The train ride started off with Bob Marley’s Stir It up, which obviously meant we were going to have a great day. I mean, let’s be serious now.
So we get to Ibis, and of course we are there a tad bit early to get to our rooms. Which is cool because we find out that we can just walk to the courts and get a practice in before lunch. Go to courts, a wonderful lady at the club got us a court, we paid 8 euros for a can of balls (that one hurt a little—-more like a lot) and then got our work done.
Before I continue, I’d like to take a second and talk about how amazing the experience was the first time I got on the European red dirt.
My coach Jeff has always talked about how great it is to learn how to play on clay (he has two clay courts in his backyard, GO ATA!) And here we go!!
The dirt teaches you patience (one thing I’m lacking but i’m working on, I promise mom) how to structure points, how to make the game more physical, and finally, how to move like a freaking beast.
I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to train on clay, every, single, day. It is AWESOME!
Anyway, headed back to hotel, and got ready to go to one of the best places in the world, the Grand Place. It’s beautiful, people. I mean, it’s not like you hear people talk about “OMG, I went to Brussels at it was amazing!” You always hear the Vegas, New York, Paris, and Portoviejo, Ecuador, but Brussels….dang…hats off for sure.
So I wont go into detail, but we had an amazing appetizer with water (without gas) in front of the most beautiful palaces ever…It felt like I was in a fairy tale. After that, we walked around, I did my whole Take-pictures-like-an-American-tourist thing, and we burnt off the calories from the very first snack we had when we arrived to Europe which was a chocolate croissant (Kimbo, I know you’re reading this, and if you’re not, I’ll be sad, but I promise I burned it off with that awesome watch that you gave me the awesome link to.)
Alright alright, so that was our first day in Brussels. Yah, we are new to the country, but we, more like Jeff (he wears a lot of hats…being a tour guide is one of them) knows all the places to go and see.
After a successful train ride back to the hotel, we called it a night and I ended up sleeping a solid 12 hours. Say hello to a 6 hour time change. Come on!
Tomorrow is Thursday, and tomorrow is going to be even better today!—-ARE YOU SERIOUS? NO WAY! Sorry Johnny…TILL THEN!
Good week, good week.
Got to semis in singles, and lost 11-9 in the third set tiebreakers against two good players in the quarters. Good luck today Ali!
Anyway, heading back to the A today. Pretty excited about that. Even though I will only be there for about 36 hours haha
anyway, i’ll keep ya’ll posted…
if you talk to me from now on, i may have a different tone of voice, maybe look a little different…because i am indeed now 21…
it was truly a day/night to remember ..
let’s start from the beginning (ps, i’m starting to realize that this is a blog for everybody to read, but it’s also a nice website for me -when i’m older than 21- to look back and relive my pro tour life..)
anyway, my day started off with 6 text messages, and about 50 Facebook wall posts. my two awesome GT girls, LB and EK sang to me on the phone…it was adorable.
ps, let me note the fact that i woke up at like 6 in the morning. i couldn’t sleep anymore! i don’t know why….maybe cuz i was turning 21!! whoop whoop!
anyway, so i ended up chilling at the house for a little bit before going to the club…..sigh..ok this is not a journal irina…let me tell you a few things that you are actually interested in reading.
1. yesterday was the first time in five years that I had spent my birthday with my parents
2. I got everything I asked for and more
3. I did not drink a drop. And i didn’t even taste the three cakes that I was encountered with on my birthday (that’s called willpower people)
4. and umm, had a 9 am match the next day which meant i had to wake up the next day at 620, which means i couldn’t party or go out either.
5. umm, i’m 21! whoop whoop i’m so excited!
anywho, about today, i won in 3..tough little match but i got through…then had dubs which we won, which just made my day and the continuation of my birthday super duper muchoooo better
second on after 11 tomorrow. quarters baby
zac brown band concert tomorrow in my atlanta backyard tomorrow….SHAME!!!
Bonjour *(gotta get the French going fast)
umm, so i have about an hour and 45 minutes left of being twenty…and i can’t believe it …who WOULD THINK THAT YOU COULD TURN 21 THIS SOON! hahah i love it though.
played today….i won…three setter…grinded it out….finished at 8 or something around there…fun times.
anyway, just wanted to let ya’ll know that was the dealio…
any stories? hmmm….
today i experienced one of the most intense crowds ever…
now wait, i had my group and my cheering crowd section thingy or whatever, but there was a group of ladies that must have forgotten how to act at a tennis match…yes, they were drunk
granted, they can cheer and be loud and whatever, but a. don’t clap and cheer when i doublefault, and b. don’t clap and cheer when i fall on my face and start bleeding instantaneously…
but nonetheless, i won the match, which is important at the end of the day…but anywhooo
my birthday is tomorrow…pretty stoked about that…and umm, yah…WHOOP WHOOP! that is all my friends…
peace and love