When Edward Mills made the move from Liverpool to London recently, Local Tennis Leagues was an essential part of his relocation package. We find out how he's settling in and making new tennis friends
I've played tennis since I was a kid but only when briefly inspired by Wimbledon every summer. I found it difficult to find players of a similar standard as I wasn't a complete beginner, but I wasn't that great either. It's only been since I joined the Local Tennis League in Liverpool two years ago that I have been playing regularly, as they matched me with players of a similar level using the questionnaire. That's somewhat surprising as I accidentally put my age as 90!
Tennis has become my favourite sport because there are so many different playing styles and as a result it can be very unpredictable. This is what makes it so much fun to watch and even more fun to play as you have to try to tactically outwit your opponent (I'm still a novice at this!). There are so many different shots in tennis so there's always something to practise and improve, and it's very satisfying watching your game develop. Also I think it provides an excellent work out for your whole body as you need to use so many different muscles to move around the court and execute the various shots.
My main strength is my speed around the court (not bad for a 90 year old!). Over the last year or so I've tried to become more consistent with my ground shots, keeping them deep so that I can frustrate my opponents by getting everything back. This has largely been a successful tactic, until I play someone more consistent than me!
Although I'm competitive I don't mind losing too much as it's great to play better players than yourself as that is what really tests you and improves you. You can learn from every loss.
I decided to join the tennis league in Liverpool because I wanted to play a sport that's more flexible than team sports like football. The fact that you can organise a match at any time that suits you is very convenient, particularly as I was doing shift work so needed to plan around my rota.
Every hit of a tennis ball is beneficial for your game but I've found my game has improved massively by playing so many matches through this league. It's only through matches that you practise all the shots, and it's been great to play against so many distinctive styles.
Having just moved to London, it was a no brainer joining the Highbury league as for £18 I already have a list of tennis contacts so I've been able to get playing straight away and make the most of the heatwave we're enjoying. The Highbury league has many more divisions than the Liverpool league so I'm looking forward to measuring my progress and seeing how high I can get.
By playing in the Liverpool league I was able to find lots of players of similar ability to play with regularly, and I've met some interesting and funny people. Tennis tends to attract some great characters so I'm looking to meeting many more in the Highbury League.