24 January 2019

Recapturing the passion of her junior self!

Jenny Melvin

After 25 years away from the game, Jenny finally took the plunge and joined the Hampton Tennis League last year. She's now a regular in two leagues and is enjoying the progess both she and her fellow competitors have made

I got into tennis at primary school. We played short tennis and then gradually progressed to the full court version. I played quite a bit as a teenager in local tournaments, school, local club and county level, but I then gave up around 16 when I got into other sports and had the usual teenage things to focus my mind on. Fastforward 25 years and I hadn’t played again. I had been wanting to play for at least 7 years but thought it was quite a large step to join a club.

I was looking for a low-cost option to get back into tennis. I didn’t want to commit to a club necessarily and all the social calendar / weekend matches that it would entail. I was searching the internet for some local tennis when I came across the local tennis league in Hampton. This gave me the perfect opportunity to slowly re-introduce myself to the sport but also enabled me to arrange matches when I wanted to, in the local area.

Singles gives you much more exercise than doubles as you are covering the whole court. More than that though, the challenge for me is the mental battle of singles. As it's only you on the court with your own thoughts on how you’re playing, you have to work yourself into a winning position. Thinking about it, my mental challenge is actually with my own mind rather than working out tactics against my opponent! I’m not a tactical player, my fitness isn’t great, so I guess my style of tennis is to try and hit the ball as hard as I can and win the point as quickly as I can (with varying degrees o success!). 

Once you have played in the league for a year or more you get to know some of the lovely people who regularly play. I can’t think of a single person that I haven’t had a good natter to and I really enjoyed their company! The best part of playing in the leagues is to see the progress you or your opponents are making by regularly competing. Close contests with Laura Campari and Ivaylo Nikolov have been my most memorable matches because you can really see the progress each of us has made. The result is never predictable, even though we have played multiple times.

Playing in the league gives me regular exercise and at my convenience rather than a club match schedule.It enables me to play again without any huge commitment financially or timewise and lets me play singles which at my age many clubs don’t really do. I have also had the opportunity to meet lots of lovely new people who share a common passion. There are lots of different players in each league – some fit, some tactical, some defensive, some hit & hope (like me!) …..which gives you a good mix to adjust your game. 

I would absolutely encourage everybody to join the league, whether you are looking to pick up tennis again or are a current player who wants to play regular singles. The league divisions are set up so that you are usually playing people of the same overall standard. There really is no excuse now not to start playing again if you want to. It’s fun, gets you meeting new people and you get some good exercise in the outdoors. It’s even sometimes sunny!

Ready to play some regular singles? The next round in Elmbridge kicks off on 31st January and you can join here.