After a major injury, Antonia has come out fighting. She may not yet be back to 100% fitness, but with her positive mind set intact and her constructive way of approaching every game, it will not be long before she is back on winning form
I played tennis a bit at school, like everyone does and loved hitting the ball hard. I loved the sound of it, but wasn't very gifted and didn't get the chance to develop it or have lessons. I always followed it on the TV and watched Wimbledon religiously every year growing up. I loved the exciting players like McEnroe and Lendl and the drama that came with them, although now I'm definitely a Rafa super-fan, as he's a fellow leftie!
What I love about tennis is the power and control that you have (most of the time!), moving an opponent around the court, and the satisfaction of the cat-and-mouse element. I like to play quite aggressively, but this doesn't always work!
I joined my first LTL league about 3 years ago, in order to play more singles. It was a chance to get fitter and practise my serve more, as well as be more in control of the point. I was getting a little frustrated playing mixed doubles with men who stole all my shots!!
I often use the games as match practice, focusing on one particular element of my game throughout the match and assessing myself on my outcomes, rather than the actual score. More recently, I've been recovering from a major injury, and have seen my first round back as part of my physio and rehab, a chance to test myself and see if I can play as well as I used to be able to. When I then got beaten 6-0, 6-0, I tried not to focus on the "bagel" element, but more on whether I reached deuce in any games, how many shots were in the rallies, whether my first serve percentage was above 50% etc....and did I play well? It's not just about the final score...
As a leftie, I try to use this to my advantage. I like the angles out wide, but I don't want to give away too much of my game style in case my opponents are reading!! Fitness isn't my strong point right now, so I'm relying on shot selection which is good mental practice!
I don't always get to finish the round (and Sally will tell you I rarely make the mid-point bonus!!) but I see every match I do play as an opportunity to meet someone new, play some good quality tennis in a friendly atmosphere, and a chance to work on elements of my game. I would recommend joining the leagues to anyone who wants to improve their tennis and play a variety of opponents. My most recent match was against a lovely guy, Rico, who is new to the leagues and despite the score line (6-0, 6-0 to him) we had a competitive and really friendly match. We had a long chat afterwards about the leagues and tennis in general and hopefully I gave him some good advice!! I've met some really interesting people through LTL and made lifelong friends on the Mallorca trips to the Rafa Nadal Academy. I'd recommend them to anyone!
If Antonia's story inspires you to play, the next round of the Southampton Tennis League starts on 14 February 2019 Join here by 11 February 2019.