22 August 2019

What is it like to play at Wimbledon? Ask our LTL players

Two Local Tennis League players and our local coach were playing at Wimbledon last week. Naturally we wanted to know all about it. Here's how, with a little help from our partner Mizuno, we got behind them

Local Tennis League Partner Mizuno helped us kit out our players for their Wimbledon experience. Don't forget you can save an incredible 25% off all their products in the the Mizuno shop. Simply use the code LTL25MIZ See here for details.

Above, Local Tennis League player Julian Mitchell in his Mizuno-sponsored Wimbledon whites

Asad Khan, a veteran of our trips to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, wearing a special edition Local Tennis League shirt 

Viren Soma, mentor and coach to many of north London's Highbury Fields LTL players - he should have won!

Even on a Sunday morning in August, Wimbledon retains its mystique. Court 1 looms over the entrance like a sleeping giant; there is a friendly guard on Gate 1. Today however it is the British Seniors Grass Court Championships and once allowed in, you are given access to what is usually the pros' practice area, which means you bear right, instead of going left left towards Henman Hill. 

Two Local Tennis League players, Asad Khan and Julian Mitchell, qualified for the first round. “Not wishing to give in to a set of knackered knees and lack of talent I continue to bother tournament organisers with my applications to humiliate myself on the tennis court,” says Julian who like Asad, is a veteran of many holidays to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. Also playing is Viren Soma, a coach from our local courts on Highbury Fields in North London and Adam Burgis, another loyal LTL player was first reserve in the 45s. “Am so jealous of your chance to play," he told our Whatsapp group. "But have a target for next year!". 

We were excited for our players and as gesture of support with the help of our shoe partner Mizuno, ran them off some special edition all-white LTL T-shirts. Julian, first of our players to qualify also received a Mizuno tracksuit identical to the one worn by its player in the Wimbledon Finals.

Julian has been getting in training for over a month. “I’ve dropped 14lbs in past 4 weeks in preparation. I have another 14 to go but hope to drop another 7 before tournament day.” When the draw was published, he found there was good news and bad news. “It was great news to get into the top 16 of the 60s age group for this event but my draw is a tough one! Number 2 seed (Alec Allen from Middlesex). He is ranked 4.1 and I’m 6.2. On paper it should be an easy win for Alec but as we won’t be playing on paper (!) I’ll be going into battle as the underdog and underdogs are always a threat. I just hope I can relax and give it my best.”

Asad, meanwhile, was in the over 40s, and was scheduled to play the day before Julian. He brought along his practice partner, Dev, but it began to rain (of course) so there was more time for our photos than forehands and to check out the facilities (excellent) that are usually out of bounds. 

Our players loved the experience, even if they didn't win. Viren, however, pushed his opponents to 3 sets (and should have won, according to his brother, Hitesh, who coaches LTL co-founder Nigel!). Julian was philosphical:

“Some close games so I am awarding myself extra games so as not to be too mentally damaged! Think 2-6, 2-6 would have been doable but defo outclassed! Knee held up so I'm now calling this a victory! I never let the facts get in the way of the truth. Live to fight another day!”

Above, AELTC advice to players!

We can't all make it to Wimbledon, but you can play in the fabulous facilities at the AELTC Community Sports Ground, which is the next best thing. To join the round starting on 19 September, click here

To get 12% off any holiday to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca use the promo code LTL12 here