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Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 I decided that the ATP World Tennis Tournament in Barcelona would be my first choice. Fantasies are supposed to have happy endings, but I was not sure about mine. In June 2012, after Rafa lost an early match at Wimbledon, he left tennis in agony, suffering from severe tendonitis in his left knee. (He would eventually be away from the game for seven months.) Page 84 The tournament is always held at the Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona, a very old and prestigious private facility which is only open to "the masses" for this one public tournament of the year. I could not find the club on any of the large city maps I examined, so at one point, I began to wonder how I would get there on public transportation. Sometime in November last year, I decided Continuing along in my fantasy, I saw online to book my flight to Barcelona for April 2013, that tournament tickets would be available on absolutely confident Rafa would return to the game, but not really knowing that for certain. March 1. I probably was first in the virtual line to purchase mine. I chose the quarterfinals, And once I paid for my ticket, I was mentally on deciding that if Rafa were playing, I would my way to Spain. Researching hotels and readhave my best chance of seeing him in those ing guidebooks are always at the top of my list when I plan a trip. I reserved a room in an ex- matches. I snared the perfect seat, about 10 cellent hotel in central Barcelona on the Ram- rows up, and paid 62 euros. Still no word on bla, recommended by my friend, Rick Steves. whether he would be playing in Barcelona. The Barcelona skyline. Photo by Frank Muller via Flicker and Wikimedia Commons

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