Daniel didn't always want to be a tennis player, but since picking up the sport in his early teens he has never looked back. After finishing as group champion in every round of the Guildford league he has played, we chatted to the serial winner to find out how he has become a dominant force
I got into tennis when I was around 13 or 14. I was always very interested in sport growing up and I wanted to be a footballer but I was never any good. I felt that tennis would be the next best thing for me and shortly after taking it up I realised I could go a lot further in tennis than I could in football, and have stuck to it ever since.
Back in 2014, Joe, a good friend of mine at my club, entered the league and encouraged me to sign up too. I felt it was a good way to get some matches under my belt without having to travel very far in order to play and since then I’ve been going back whenever I feel need to get some extra matches in.
I always really enjoy singles because the challenge of one on one battles really excites me. In singles it is always about yourself, you feel like you are in control all the time and it is certainly much easier to keep active than it is in doubles.
Whatever division I'm in, I always look to win the league and the last three times I’ve competed I’ve achieved that. One moment that has stood out for me was my rivalry with Mike Clarke back in 2017. I first played him in January that year and won quite easily 6-0 6-1. I played him again towards the end of the year in a different round of the league and he seemed really determined to get the better of me. I ended up winning 6-2 6-3 but I had to break him from 40-0 down on his serve to win - I knew if he held and then put pressure on my serve, he had every chance of getting back into it. I must admit I really respect him for his efforts that evening and it certainly made for an enjoyable encounter.
I still keep in contact with one player I faced back in 2016, Michael Lam. Even though we played over 2 years ago, I am always updating him with my latest activity, tournaments and results and still play the occasional match with him at Bookham Tennis Club.
The league has provided me with a great opportunity to go out and play matches without having to travel to distant lands, which is something I am no stranger to having been a regular on the LTA circuit for nearly 8 years. I have met some very friendly people along the way and will certainly enter the Guildford league again in the near future.
Yes 100% I would encourage others to join! It's an opportunity to play competitive and friendly tennis regardless of what level you are at and there are always various standards nearby which for me is the beauty of not just the Guildford league but Local Tennis Leagues in general.
Looking to get back on court in Guildford? The next round starts on 14th February and you can join here.