10 January

The journey to the top

Francisco Pena

Francisco had never played tennis until a few years ago, and although his journey has been both frustrating and rewarding he has since fallen in love with the game. After topping his group in the last round in Glasgow, we find out what encourages him to improve and progress

I met a Japanese lady 6 years ago who started me off playing badminton in a club in the Kelvinhall, and she then later introduced me to tennis. Whereas badminton was fun, I feel in love with tennis.

Having not played tennis for long, I didn’t feel I was good enough to compete in a league, but at a friend’s insistence I joined and in turn it has pushed me to improve my game. There are the free tennis balls when you complete 3 matches by halfway (!), and it has also been a great way to meet lots of different people.

What I like most about singles is that you have the whole court to yourself, so you can make the most of the space:  playing from the baseline, enjoying a good groundstroke, the variation of shots that you can use, the different strategies that you need to put into the game. The mental challenge makes me push myself to get better and most importantly, above everything else, I enjoy playing tennis.

My style is probably more defensive than attacking but I definitely enjoy mixing things up with a variety of shots depending on who I am playing against. My serve is one of my weapons as it's fairly consistent and I’m getting better at approaching the net to volley.

I have many good tennis memories from the last few years, from shocking defeats to great wins. The league has given me an opportunity to meet great people, make good friends and discover new venues across the city.  I remember telling my daughter time after time that I was heading off to play a tennis match, but I went through a run of losing every single game so she also got used to hearing that daddy had lost yet again. The day I finally got a win, it was the best feeling ever to call her up straight away and share the good news with her -what a victory that was!

Until a few years ago, I had never played tennis before in my life, and my journey has been both frustrating and rewarding. I started in the third group. I’ve been relegated twice and promoted once, but each experience encourages me to keep progressing and improving with the aim of playing in the top group one day. I’m always trying to get other people to join. I should be on commission!

Looking to get back on court in 2019? The next round in Glasgow starts on the 17th Jan and is open for entries here