6 February

Grandmother's footsteps

Alan Revel

 Alan's grandma encouraged his tennis and as he has played more, and progressed up the league, he has had to added aggression to his natural consistency. If that reminds some opponents of being charged by a rhino, well, so long as he is winning, he is not complaining  

My Grandma, Ethel, was a big tennis fan. I remember watching Wimbledon with her and her buying me and my eldest sister a tennis set so we could play in the back garden. 

I like the fact that tennis is exercise but also a game, and the psychology of matches fascinates me. Also it is a fantastic way to meet new people and make friends.

Having gone along to a social mix in tennis for a few months at Highbury Fields I decided to try some more competitive tennis.

Opponents often say I just keep getting the ball back. I guess I am pretty consistent and don't make loads of unforced errors, but as I have gone up the league I realised I had to be more aggressive as consistency only gets you so far against better players. I therefore try to mix things up a bit more and do charge the net more often than I used to. I am sure it was meant as a compliment but one person said me coming into the net reminded them of being charged by a rhino while on safari. I won that match, so I didn't mind!  

Being in the league improved my game for sure. You play people with lots of different styles so have to learn to adapt your game. Playing doubles certainly improves your net play and your accuracy. 

My favourite match would be a singles match when I came back from 0-5 down in the third set to win it 9-7. Still not quite sure how I managed that. With the help of my current doubles partner we have just won group 2 in the doubles league at Highbury so hopefully will be in group 1 next time - playing at such rarified heights will help achieve a goal of mine.

It goes without saying that I would recommend the league. It is a great way to do a bit of exercise, but more importantly to meet some lovely people. Be careful as it can be addictive. At one point I was playing in 4 different leagues at the same time. 

The next round in Rosemary Gardens, Islington, begins on 20 February. Join here. The next round in Lincoln's Inn, Camden, also begins on 20 Feb. Join here by 17 February.