A FORMER non-league stalwart who swapped his football boots for a tennis racket says playing in a Local Tennis League has been his salvation to keeping fit. And having completed more than 100 matches with us, Bertie Stephens has shown he really does love tennis!
“I used to play football every week, but I got fed up with guys who were 20 years older than me flying down the wing and shouting at me, telling me what to do all the time.
I then had this idea about tennis and joined a club where I used to live in Newbury, just to play a bit socially. But when I moved to London for work, I struggled to find an indoor court. I saw a poster advertising the local tennis league and thought I’d sign up as I really wanted to get back into tennis.”
Aimed at players who use parks and public courts, we're supported by the LTA (the governing body of tennis in the UK) to help get more people playing tennis!
And while the leagues embody a friendly ethos, all players are entitled to become British Tennis Members and have their results reported to the LTA for ratings.
While he didn’t enjoy the best of starts to his tennis career (see below!), Bertie says he really enjoys the Local Tennis Leagues as he gets to play against people of all ages and backgrounds and urges anyone – no matter what level – to give their Local Tennis League a try.
“My first few games were disastrous – I even broke my nose in my third match. I kind of skidded and my racket bounced and hit me right in the face!
But since that experience, I have played over 100 matches and I’d say I’ve managed to win about half of them, which isn’t too bad!
I’ve never had any lessons – which probably shows in the shots I hit – I think a lot of people would question my style of play!
One of the great things I love about tennis is that there’s no time involved. You can take things at your own pace and psychologically, it’s a great way of just being in your own world.
You can completely switch off and not worry about anything else.”
We're keen to see Bertie reach the next milestone..200 matches!? No rush Bertie, and thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Having only previously ever won one top division match in his entire LTL career, Bertie currently sits tops of the league, if he keeps this up we might have to do another write-up on him!
For more on the Newbury, Docklands, Lee Valley and your local league, visit our tennis leagues page.