Humans of the Court: Sue's Story
• 4 MINUTE READ
Humans of the Court is a content series on Instagram from the LTA, bringing you real life stories from those who make tennis in Britain what it is.
Whether they be players, coaches or volunteers, young or old, beginners picking a racket for the first time or life-long veterans, the series will showcase those involved in tennis in communities across the country and shine a spotlight on the many faces of the sport. Follow the LTA and the #HumansOfTheCourt hashtag on Instagram to uncover more stories!
For Sue Stannard tennis gained an added significance when she was recovering from a serious illness.
After being introduced to the sport by her husband she began to play regularly, but a breast cancer diagnosis stopped her in her tracks.
Following an operation to treat the disease she feared she may never play again – but she was wrong. Tennis became her ‘therapy’.
“My husband is very sporty, one of those people who is brilliant at everything, so he got me into playing tennis,” she said.
“I loved new challenges and I wanted to keep fit, and bit by bit I got more competent on the court.
“When I got breast cancer, I wasn’t sure if I would ever play again. After I had my lymph nodes removed I couldn’t lift my arm, but tennis became my therapy.
“It was tennis that helped me feel normal again, I felt strong on court. Physically and mentally it allowed me to regain the active part of my life that I’d lost during treatment.
“I love the competitive nature of the game, but in the sense of wanting to beat myself and keep improving.”
Sue, who lives in Grantham, Lincolnshire, now volunteers and coaches at her local club – Grantham Tennis Club – and is used to playing against people of all ages.
“The club has been a lifeline,” she said. “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if it wasn’t for the club.
“As well as playing, I volunteer as much as I can for the club, everything from fundraising, coaching, even covering the café staff.
“Coaching the younger players is so rewarding, to see them develop and enjoy the game is really special. I sometimes hit with a 17-year-old and he’s often surprised when I return powerful shots.
“The circumstances of 2020 have brought more people into the sport, I think some people wrongly see it as elite, when in fact anyone can play at any level. Everyone can pick up a racket.
“Regardless of your level there is a session for you, walking tennis and mini tennis make the game accessible to all.”