In her regular column on local sports clubs, Bobbie Makoni is on to a winner
Most of us can agree that 2016 has been a somewhat trying year, however in the midst of the doom and gloom British tennis was a constant source of cheer.
Heather Watson won her first Wimbledon title in the mixed doubles, Johanna Konta has stormed into the world’s top ten, and Andy Murray won his second Olympic and Wimbledon titles. For the first time Murray ends the season as the world number one, a feat matched by his older brother Jamie in the men’s doubles, as well as by Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne in the men’s wheelchair open and quad class respectively.
But it’s not just the professionals who have made progress this year; here in Walthamstow we have a club making strides of its own. On a wet and windy Sunday morning, I arrived at Walthamstow Cricket, Tennis and Squash Club (Walthamstow Sports Club for short!) to meet with tennis committee member Ray Sefton; a 30-year club veteran who heads up the tennis programme.
While the club is currently enjoying growing membership and improving facilities, Ray remembers more difficult periods: “We’ve certainly been through tough times but the funding is better now and the club is on much better financial footing.”
As well as developments in club administration, there is also a comprehensive tennis programme accommodating players of all levels.
Team tennis is on the up – the ladies have been promoted from their league for two consecutive seasons. While this is an exciting prospect, Gail Farrow, who has been a member since the 1980s, would like to see even more women playing racket sports. “It’d be great to see more women take up both tennis and squash,” she says.
Every Saturday morning there is a group lesson for those with limited tennis experience, but for those who’d rather grasp the basics before joining a group, head coach Zoard is on hand to bring you up to speed.
While it may be too late to emulate the success of those on the international stage, tennis is a sport which can be enjoyed by beginners and pros in equal measure. In the new year, why not resolve to dig out the trainers, dust off the old racket and get on the court?
For more information Walthamstow Sports Club’s tennis programme: