8 May 2018

63 and playing the best tennis of his life

Tony Barrable

Tony Barrable might be a huge Pink Floyd fan, but it's tennis that's giving the 63 year old... High Hopes... Ok look it was hard to link Pink Floyd and tennis!

The Derby league is providing Tony with a great way to enjoy the game as we found out:

My earliest recollection of playing tennis is of my friend and I being given two wooden rackets. We used to have a knock on the local parks on grass courts in Derby where we lived.

I met my future wife Trish and we loved hitting a ball back and forth, never really feeling good enough to join a club. But eventually we did, and steadily progressed from there. We now belong to Matlock & District Tennis Club. I'm club Chair and Trish is club Secretary. It's only a small club of around 20 members.

I loved Bjorn Borg, I wanted to look like him, and dreamed of playing like him! I got the Fila head band and the Borg Donney racket. 

Moving on from Bjorn Borg, how lucky are we to be around when the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are playing - and that's just some of the men!

There's nothing quite like feeling that you've hit a good shot! I started running around 35 years ago, just to get fit, and although I've won 100 race win titles, mostly in the various veterans categories, and passed 50,000 miles of recorded running, tennis still holds a buzz for me when walking on court.

I also strum a few chords on guitar as a hobby, I retired early so enjoy the freedom that brings.

I play my tennis in Matlock. We don't have our own club facilities, we use the courts of a retirement home as our base. Trish and I also belong to Baslow tennis club, which has lovely astroturf courts. Our nearest indoor club is Chesterfield, where we also occasionally play.

We have a mixed team in the Derby league, but I always prefer singles, some may say it appears selfish, but I love the one on one situation. It's less complicated than doubles and there's no one else to blame!

Everyone I've met and played in the LTL has the same view - we all enjoy a good game of singles with a variety of people you would never otherwise come across.

I am competitive, as you may have guessed, but I have ultimate respect for my opponents on court and a friendly rivalry is always a healthy one, I believe.

My tips for LTLers? Well look, I'm 63, I play better tennis now than at any time in my life, and I still look to improve my game. It's about escapism and sharing that enjoyment with others of the same mind.

Like a lot of sports, tennis can be frustrating at times! Even the best players experience that... 'Gosh have I ever hit a ball before!?' moment! But, the more you play, the more it becomes instinctive and natural.


Fancy giving Tony a game? You can play in our close tennis matches on local Derby tennis courts, or find your local league.