The ITF Woking Open Seniors’ Tournament was recently held at the Woking Lawn Tennis Club, marking the 20th anniversary of this popular international tennis competition for players aged 35-80yrs+ old.
After a large storm played havoc at the tournament last year, the organisers were counting their lucky stars to see a forecast of perfect sunshine through much of the week. The event was also very fortunate to team up with Birchgrove, who are developing an exciting local assisted living community to open in 2020, promoting “Beautiful Singles and Perfect Doubles”… a tag line which certainly resonated throughout the event!!
With 197 players from 19 different countries taking part (including 9 locals for the home fans to support!) there was plenty of thrilling matches on the Clay courts throughout the week, leading up to an array of breath-taking finals at the weekend. After a few first round exits, local hopes rested on 3 players left in various draws. Winston Churchill School (Woking) Coach Gary Stanford produced a shock to knock out no. 2 seed Terry Coles in the 45’s, but then fell in a close semi-final to no. 3 seed Guy Sellek. Marcus Lindstrup played very well to knock out Portuguese no. 3 seed Nuno Ribeiro, but then couldn’t keep up the form losing to no.6 seed Richard Freeman. The pressure was then on Woking LTCC Head of Performance Mark Wisdom, who was determined not to disappoint after a very tough few weeks since the loss of his mother. Mark stormed through the early rounds to face unseeded South African Robert Conway in the final. The impeccable weather couldn’t quite hold out on finals day and a band of torrential rain caused an hours delay, but Mark held his nerve to retain the Men’s 40’s title. 6-2 6-2 was a lot closer than the score line suggested and both players produced some exhilarating Clay court rallies to entertain the supporters.
In other age groups, the big trophies went to Peter Henshall and Tabitha Reid in the Men’s and Ladies respective 35’s events, with further local Surrey champions including Surrey’s Alison Hannah-Taylor winning the Ladies 55’s Singles and 45’s Doubles, as well as Steve Joyce winning the Men’s 50’s. A few too many to mention them all, but a big congratulations to all the other winners and runners-up throughout the categories. All results can be found here, along with a fantastic collection of pictures here thanks to the tournament photographer (James Vine).
A very successful week once again and a big thanks go out to Honor Barratt (Birchgrove Managing Director) who came and presented prizes along with Andrew Kirby (Club President), Peter Grimsdale (Referee) and the ball control team, Henk Nijeboer (Tournament Ambassador / GB 75’s Captain), as well as the Office, Grounds and Bar team who played pivotal roles throughout the week. We look forward to welcoming players back to the 21st event in September 2020.
Matt Trevail (Tournament Director)