Two players from the Manchester Parks Tennis League explain why the opportunity to play friendly, competitive tennis on great park has courts has proved a winning combination #MyMCRTennisStory
Martin Medina, composer, father and determined tennis player
I was playing with my son, Robbie, in Fog Lane when I saw a poster for the Manchester Parks Tennis League. I had recently moved from London to Manchester and had no one to play with. I fancied playing some games and meeting other people to play, so I thought it would be perfect for me and Robbie and I both entered round one. I’ve never had coaching, I just go for everything and never give up. There is no finesse to my game!
What I discovered about playing in the league was how many absolutely brilliant park courts there are close to where I live. There’s Chorlton Park and Wythenshawe Park which has the best courts I’ve ever played on.
I hadn’t played for about 20 years when I entered round one – I’d just played against my son – but we both did well and won our groups. I’ve definitely improved by playing. You never know what your opponent is going to be capable of - lefties are the most difficult! In several of my matches last time my opponents were better than I was, but I was more determined. You would laugh you head off at this remark if you saw me play, but once I am warmed up, it’s like a well-oiled machine!
I made a point of being pro-active to arrange matches because I knew there would be times when I couldn’t play. I work as a composer for the BBC – I wrote the theme music for Rip Off Britain - and I can work unsociable hours. But it’s surprising how many other people work shifts and only the odd person was difficult to get hold of.
What has really struck me about this league is how friendly and enthusiastic people are, and they keep in touch to play friendlies. It’s a great league. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Irene Ofei, Highways project manager who hit the tennis road
Before I started playing, I watched tennis for a long time - I’m just loving the way Johanna Konta has been coming up – and one day, I thought, I want to play! So I registered at the Manchester Tennis Centre for lessons, and started to play with my brother-in-law in Alexandra Park. Then I saw a poster for the league. I wanted to play more and get better. It wasn’t so much about winning or losing in, it was more to have fun and play with different people and I joined.
I really enjoyed it. When the table with your group comes out, I look forward to getting all my matches booked in, and to who I’m playing next. It’s exciting. I still play with my brother in law, and my husband – if I push him he might join the league - but his biggest problem would be time. I’m fortunate – I work as a project manager for Highways England and work a four day week. We also play as a family. I have two kids who both take lessons and the four of us play at weekends which is good fun.
Playing gives you a better understanding when you watch the pros. I love Serena Williams. I wish I could play like she does, but I have definitely got better. I remember my first match when I couldn’t time the ball well! I’m really proud of the way I’ve improved.
Adults of all standard are welcome to play in the Manchester Parks Tennis league. Matches are played at times that suit you. See localtennisleagues.com/manchesterparks