Hot on the heels of Daniel Sayers reaching 50 matches in the Potteries Parks Tennis league, Rob Rhodes (on the left) chalked up his 50th league match win, and his 51st match v Martin Walker (pictured above) in the Parks league, wrapped up Round 16 and his 9th title. Rob played in the very first round back in 2016 and has remained unbeaten playing in 9 rounds without losing a single match. Along the way he has dropped just 5 sets out of 107 played.
"I started back in 2016 having never played a competitive singles match other than when I was at high school at Brinsworth Comprehensive (South Yorkshire)." Rob, now 41, goes onto say, "I've always enjoyed the game from a young age and spent many an hour with friends on local courts either at school or local municipals. I've never had any coaching but always felt I learnt a lot watching it on the TV. When I moved to Stoke on Trent aged 21, I played doubles in the local City and Surburban League for around 4 years then barely played for around 10 years. Having taken up an interest again in tennis, due to a trying out of a new sport, Rackelton, where you play 4 racket sports against an opponent with a uniform scoring system, I decided to get involved in the Parks set up when I saw it launched in the Potteries in 2016."
"For me now it's the main source of tennis practise I have as I continue to play Racketlon taking part in the UK events which sadly have taken a huge hit this year with all but 2 events cancelled this year." Rob has risen in the ranks in Rackelton and has just made it into the top 50 in the UK rankings with tennis one of his strong disciplines in this sport.
"During lockdown, tennis has been a great way to get back out and meet people again and enjoy the things we have taken for granted. We are lucky tennis is back up and running again; two of my Rackelton sports are pretty much still a no go at the moment. The Potteries league has some fantastic players in it, all with some different strengths. I don't hit many winners in comparison to some of my rivals. Some of them have far better backhands, are technically better than me and some are way bigger servers than me. I would say my game is about control and moving my opponents around and I like to think I'm pretty fit and will give a good account of myself under pressure."
"I hope the league continues to grow over the coming years, and I'm sure there are a few players out there who are going to beat me shortly with how they're improving. I will continue to take part in the leagues as it's a great concept with the flexibility of choosing when and where to play and it supplements my pursuit of becoming a better Racketlon player as tennis can be a crucial deciding activity in that sport."
If you'd like to join a league like Rob, click here to find one nearby.