Our St Mary's Park tennis league in Bury is home to a great number of people who really do represent the true essence of Local Tennis Leagues. Friendly, competitive and simply up for some fun tennis matches.
We caught up with Catherine Preston, a published music book author and player for whom the enjoyment of tennis is key.
'I’ve played tennis on and off for a couple of decades with friends and my partner but I’ve only played regularly over the last two years or so.
I heard about the leagues through my work as a local councillor. I heard about Bury council partnering with Local Tennis Leagues and Paul Jepson, a brilliant local tennis coach. One of my roles as a councillor is to encourage greater fitness and participation in sport in the area through the 'I Will If You Will' programme so naturally I was delighted to see LTL using the renovated courts in St Mary’s park as a venue. They are literally two or three good lobs away from where I live. Initiatives like this encourage people to compete against different players.
I’ve enjoyed every game I’ve played in the league - I like the challenge of meeting new players and even if I lose a match, winning good points through determination and effort is a mini-victory. My partner’s father used to umpire at Wimbledon and Bjorn Borg once told him that he doesn’t play games or sets, he treats each point as a match in itself. I do the same!!
I play at the David Lloyd club in Middleton and the national tennis centre in East Manchester, next to Manchester City’s ground. The new courts in St Mary’s park are equally as impressive…. with the added bonus of being two minutes from my front door!
My style of play is dogged and determined, laced with a smidge of natural skill…. I work on the theory of trying to keep the ball in play as long as possible. Seriously, all players always hit a few magical shots that keep them coming back for more. The ball down the line, the crosscourt chip, the pass at the net…. take your pick.
I’ve enjoyed all the matches with LTL … as long as I’ve played to the best of my ability and done myself justice, I am happy. It’s serious but not too serious … nobody is jumping around like McEnroe in his heyday….!
Every time I step on the court I am improving, a famous ninety-year old cellist says he’s still learning about his instrument, so you’re never too old or good to improve!
My advice to players thinking about getting involved is... Sign up! The wider the pool of players, the greater the experience.'
We love hearing from our friendly players, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat Catherine! With players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, the league really is a home for tennis in the area!