The city of Winchester might be well known as a popular tourist destination, with its famous cathedral sitting proudly in its centre, but it is tennis that seems to be finding a new home in the city. We caught up with Ben Isaac, a friendly local leaguer who is delighted to see the sport thrive in his home city.
'There are plenty of clubs in Winchester and it’s great to see people of all ages involved. The clubs are thriving in the area, you can play on clay and grass, as well as hard courts in the city.'
We pride ourselves on the community feel the leagues have. Something displayed in the friendships Ben and other players have formed through their matches;
'My first Local Tennis Leagues match was against Matt (pictured left) who I had never met before the leagues, but have played with many times since. It was a summers evening on the grass courts at my village club. It was an epic match and very close. Matt is excellent at the net and we enjoyed the grass!'
Ben admits its the personal challenge tennis gives you that he most enjoys;
'Tennis is a battle and I love the one on one competition! It doesn’t matter what age you are, my 80 year old next door neighbour recently gave me a good run around..!'
Ben is now well into double figures for the number of matches he's played and feels variety really is the spice of life!
'Without doubt I've improved since joining the leagues. Playing against different styles of player is the best way to improve. I have come across serve and volley, power serves and baseline sloggers! Every match is a different challenge.'
And whilst Ben's favourite ever pro game came in the form of that ever popular Federer v Roddick thriller at Wimbledon, his epic local leagues match might just live longer in the memory;
'My match against Henry (pictured centre) in the league was very memorable. Another classic 3 setter, the toughest and longest match I have ever played! Felt like we were having 50 shot rallies every point.'
Similar to many local leaguers, Ben's attitude to the leagues is quite simple. When asked 'Should other local players get involved?', he gave the answer we love to hear!
'I would definitely recommend it, it's a great way to improve your game and build your tennis network. Bring on the competition!'
Too right Ben, and thanks for chatting!