"Did someone say "rain stopped play??" Steve and I weren't listening anyway - the game must go on! So we played the last set of an epic encounter in what may be termed slightly damp conditions."
We had a chat to Alan Magness, who recently sent us some photos of a fun and damp match he played against Steve. Hear about his experience with tennis and Local Tennis Leagues.
Can you tell us how you got into tennis and how long you have been playing for?
I've always loved sport and the outdoors and have been actively involved for many years - football, running, badminton, golf, hill-walking & trekking, but I'd only occasionally picked up a tennis racket in the previous 20 years or so when I joined my local tennis league in Reading in 2015 I think. It's only really in the last 6 years that I've been playing regularly, during the Spring and Summer months at least.
What do you like about playing tennis?
Tennis is such a great all-round physical work-out, an ideal way to spend time outdoors, playing competitive sport and it's been great meeting such a wide range of people from all sorts of backgrounds who have overwhelmingly been a pleasure to play with. It's been even more of a lifeline in these strange times - a great way to break the lockdown mentality.
What's your style of play usually?
I play with a fair amount of slice, forehand and backhand, and will chase everything down; always pleasing to give some younger whippersnappers a run-around! It's a great challenge too, to work out how you need to adapt against different opponents and maybe try some new things when your normal game plan isn't quite working.
What was it that made you join Local Tennis Leagues?
The flexible format really appeals, where you can sign up for a couple of months and arrange games to suit you, fitting around other bits of busy lives, and you can choose to join as many or as few rounds as you want to. Added to that, the opportunity to play against well-matched opponents means you get great contests which, for me, makes it much more enjoyable.
Tell us about any goals achieved and/or memorable matches, or things you have been pleased to work on?
I've definitely become more consistent in my standard of play, which has been pleasing, and worked on improving some of the weaker areas. I've had quite a few epic 3-set matches and remember a final rally in one match in the last round which must have been over 30-shots - a great relief and sense of achievement to finish that one off well. My most recent match was certainly memorable, playing against Steve in what turned out to be a pretty wet spell. We kept on playing through even though the court was beginning to resemble a swimming pool; we both decided that we were going to finish this thing come what may. So a rather damp experience, but a lot of fun - Steve came out on top for the record!
Would you recommend the league?
I would absolutely recommend Local Tennis Leagues - you don't have to be a seasoned player or belong to a club to take part, just sign up and have some great matches in a friendly, competitive format. It's a regular fixture for me every year now.
If you'd like to join a league after reading about Alan's experience, click here to find your nearest one.