17 January

Getting the Wimbledon treatment

Isobel Stephen

After a random experience of tennis, Isobel got the bug. Not only has she now become a regular in the Wimbledon Park Tennis League, she even got the full Wimbledon experience when some ball-kids hoping to work at the Championships needed some players for practice

After my kids were born, we went on one of our usual windsurfing holidays only I couldn’t leave the children for 2 hours at a time to go windsurfing. So I decided to give tennis a try instead. Having never played as a kid, it was a revelation to me how much fun it was. 

I like the way it gets me out in the open air in all weathers, I meet some lovely people and there is always something new to learn. Plus I am prepared to do shuttle runs across the court - you would never persuade me to do in the gym - so it is excellent for my fitness too.

Because I wanted more practice and more people to play, I joined the Wimbledon Park League and that has certainly helped with both those things. I like a good rally at the baseline but am working on both a slice serve that my right handed opponents can’t return and being less frightened to come to the net. 

Being in the league has improved my game immeasurably. When I first joined, I lost every single match 6-0 6-0. Now I can hold my own against some decent players although I still lose a lot! 

About a year ago I had arranged a match in Wimbledon Park with a lovely woman I play (and lose to) quite regularly. It was a miserable day and the courts were quiet. When we started warming up, we were approached by a group of young women who asked if we were going to play a match. When we confirmed that we were, they asked if they could practise being ball girls as they wanted to try out for the Championships. So we played with the full Wimbledon Lawn tennis ball girl treatment: it was quite surreal finding out what it is like not to have to chase after your own balls! 

I would definitely recommend the league and I frequently do to all sorts of people - friends, relatives, random people on the street...

The next round of the Wimbledon Park Doubles begins on 6 February. Join here by Monday 3 February. The next round of the AELTC Community Sports Ground Daytime League begins on 5 March. Join here by Monday 2 March.