East Glos Tennis member Felicity Thomas has been in Antalya, Turkey, competing in the ITF Super Seniors Tennis World Team Championships in the over 70s age group, where the British team won bronze.
Their group comprised Switzerland, Canada and South Africa – no easy matches. The team won all three, then meeting Germany in the semi-finals but losing 2-1.
Felicity did not expect to play singles in view of the greater experience and ability of her team-mates, but won the three doubles she played in. Especially satisfying was to beat Germany, one of their opponents winning the decisive rubber to take gold for Germany on the following day. GB beat USA 2-1 in the 3rd place play-off. France came 2nd.
The AliBey Club where the championships were held has over 60 clay courts over 600 players from 31 nations competed in five age groups from 60 upwards.
The second week was for individual championships – singles, doubles and mixed. In all three, Felicity was drawn to play either the first or second seed, provided she made it to the second round – which she did. The luck of the draw!
Though she then lost, Felicity had some good matches. She lost 6-4, 6-3 in the doubles to the world number one pairing of Heide Orth and Petro Kruger. The weather changed dramatically in the last four days, with prolonged thunder, lightning and frequent torrential downpours. As a result the doubles final was abandoned after just two games. Felicity says “We shall never know whether my German partner and I had the best score!”
Norman Church and Felicity lost the first set 7-5 in the mixed, but they could not match them in the second set. Johannes Meulenburg is ranked world number one in mixed and three in singles; Suzy Burggraf is ranked three amongst the women. Felicity had to play her in the singles the next day and says “I am afraid she was much too experienced and consistent for me”.
Felicity Thomas comments: I do enjoy playing on clay, and these experiences demonstrate how important it is for our youngsters to play on this surface. The bounce is more consistent, resulting in longer rallies. You have to work out the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents, before finding the opportunity to create an opening and win the point. It is the surface on which Andy Murray was schooled so successfully.