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[ How it Works ] Walking in Bellevue ] Family Affair ]

SO, HOW DOES IT WORK?

Finally one hour in front of me on the quarters day to stop and write about how this is all working since our arrival.

Been pretty hectic, I guess the fact I arrived tired from family stuff for St Georges, left the day after the final for Qatar to have only 2 days off in London before coming here with 10 hours time difference to cope with probably didn't help!

Add to that the international mess thanks to a few lunatics that seem to have decided that our French way of living has got to be eradicated, and you have a pretty good idea of how stress-free I was here...

We started in the Marriott Bellevue Hotel - the Players being 10m walk away in the Westin - I have to say that didn't help to start with. Not easy to keep a close relationship with my babies when I'm not in the place for the breakfast. But we had the refs to play with, that was quite fun!

For the qualifying, we went to the Pro Club, where most of the Khan family is working now, which was a little drive away, probably 15m with no traffic, situated in Microsoft Land really.

Apparently, Microsoft has offered a free membership to all their employees. That is I'm told 35,000. And they have around 800 staff members in that club only.

We were pretty comfy downstairs, I have to say! Apparently, the courts opened in 1991 and shared with Racquetball, but in 2003 went to 9 international squash-only courts, we were playing on 4 of those, plus 1 used for the warm up. 4 were left for the members.

And it's not finished! Next expansion of the club starts in April with the club adding two doubles courts and an indoor "Aqua Park".

The place is HUGE, I'm told they have like 5 pools just here, not to mention Spa, Beauty Salon, Medical Centre, 4 basket ball courts, 6 tennis courts not to mention 7 racquetball courts, plus plenty for the kids at all levels too.

So we were there for 2 days of qualifying, plus one half day for the first round - well, Matthew Lombardi, Nathan Clarke from PSA and myself, as there were a lot of great matches happening there while Cubs was covering the Glass, Then we went to the second session at the Glasscourt in a great Meydenbauer Center.

The second day of the first round, I cracked up, and let Nathan and Matthew handle the Pro-Club, which they did very nicely. Once again, thanks Matthew for his help for the previews and the four first days!







The venue, the Meydenbauer Center is absolutely huge and extremely easy for us to work in. I love the fact that they covered the stairs going up to the VIP area with a material that prevents the noise - like the one we have in studio recordings. It means that people can go up and down during play, out of sight as the stairs are way out of the way, without disturbing anybody.

And that's what I do too! Thanks to the intelligence of Shabana Khan, I was given a very good seat that allows me to watch in a good conditions, and go in and out without disturbing play or too many people. Basics, but you have noooo idea the difference it makes.

Also, I am working from right behind the court - behind the black curtains - which cuts the waste of time going  miles away to press rooms like we have in some tournaments, some even include lots of stairs up and down... PERFECT. OK, the lighting is a bit minimal, but that does me fine.

Mind you, with the mess PSASquashTV seems to set up everywhere they go, maybe the lack of lighting is a blessing in disguise??? Bless their little boxes/cables...

The venue is vast and airy, I love the atmosphere of it, and I love the fact that nearly all the volunteers are actually related to the Khan Family, by blood, marriage or friendship!!!! It's so great like I said in my first piece, it's like a Club Champ.... only it's a World Champ!

  

My life became easier, much easier, when I moved to the Westin with the players. It was great to have a bathtub again, I'm a bathtub girl me, but it was even better as I got to have a few nice catch ups with players and officials, including a long conversation with Legend Geoff Hunt. Love that man, wish I was on the Tour when he was playing...

So basically, once we settled in the main venue, we have been struggling a bit with sleeping patterns, then grabbing a breakfast around 9 ish, then walk to the Center for 10h30, watched/reported/photographed the 8 matches in a row, with absolutely no chance of a break between the supposed-to-be two sessions, never managed to get to the VIP area for food as it was supposed to be in that break that didn't exist for us, and I'm getting skinnier by the minute. Which is good for me anyway!!!!

But as everybody is just working their laptops off, we just get on with it, and still have some great laughs with the Khan Family and else, I got to make friends with the spectators around me - they are coming to every session, and we just became the best of mates, one lady bless her heart, Jacky Lange, a member of the Pro-Club for 26 years now, knowing I didn't have the chance to get food up there, got me a plate and even bought me a sandwich!

I LOVE BELLEVUE PEOPLE!!!

As to going back to the venue at night, I have my personal driver, Mr Bobby Khan, one of the nicest men I have ever met, who with Mrs Shabana Khan his spouse, make the most adorable couple since Raneem and Tarek...

So, yes, it's a lot of work. Yes, I'm pretty flat as a pan cake, and I feel a bit like at 18/18 all in the 5th especially after those quarters. But as Shabana would say (the other one), this is a good day. Elhamdoulillah....

   

[ How it Works ] Walking in Bellevue ] Family Affair ]

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