9 August 2019

From nervous beginner to dedicated competitor: what Kate did next

Kate Marsh

Dodging writing her dissertation was the start of Kate's tennis career. Now she plays singles, doubles and runs an everyone-welcome social doubles drop-in on Saturday mornings. Best of all, is the community she is part of in Wimbledon Park (and meeting Rafa of course)

My interest in tennis started as a child. I grew up in Nottingham and lived near where the then John Player tennis tournament was played and we used to go and look through the holes in the fence at the matches being played, but I didn’t really start playing until I was an adult. 

I got into tennis while on unpaid leave when I was supposed to be writing up my dissertation. I was walking in the park and saw an old friend from primary school days (we both had children at the school) on the courts. She shouted across the park to me and got me involved. That was the beginning of my love of playing.

What I really like about tennis is that it is hugely sociable but is still very competitive and I love outwitting our opponents in doubles when you plan a play and it works! My doubles partner (AKA as Rafa) is the strategist in our partnership and we do the signalling and talking behind balls to make it feel like ‘proper’ tennis :).

When I was just beginning a local coach, Atilla, who was a legend at Wimbledon Park, told me that if I wanted to improve I should join the league. The very first match I played I could hardly breathe I was so nervous. But playing in the leagues has helped me improve my game beyond recognition.

I play singles to improve my tennis but what I really love is my doubles and the bit I like most is coming into the net and volleying and of course winning the point!

We play social doubles in Wimbledon Park every Saturday morning (everyone welcome). If someone hits a great shot someone will always say "that’s one for the highlights." My own highlights include playing doubles albeit very briefly with the very charming Greg Rusedski when the league was filming a promo video and meeting Rafa on our never to be forgotten magical trip to Mallorca. 

I have made some really good friends through the league and sometimes when I walk through Wimbledon Park I will recognise nearly everyone who is playing on the courts. It's such a simple idea but it really opens up tennis to everyone.

There are singles, doubles and a women's singles league in Wimbledon Park. For all the information and dates of the next rounds, click here