Seniors success: GB strike gold at ITF Seniors World Championships


| Seniors Tennis

Teresa Catlin shakes the hand of her opponent after winning the Seniors Tennis World Championships final

It’s been a summer of success for Britain’s leading senior tennis players, who have been representing their country at the ITF Seniors World Championships in Portugal this month.

Proving that tennis is a sport that can be enjoyed at any age, the Championships saw players aged 50–65 from across the world battling it out on court to be crowned champions of their respective age groups.

Players from Great Britain flew out to compete in both the team and individual events – returning home with a total of two gold and two bronze medals.

ITF Seniors World Team Championships, (4-9 August)

The ITF Seniors World Team Championships took place in Estoril & Lisbon, Portugal from 4 – 9 August 2019. Over 130 teams from 32 nations participated in the event, with Britain’s Women’s 60s team eventually walking away with a bronze medal, after the team of Anne Clark (c), Hazel Lindfield, Patricia Peal and Sue Bartlett battled it out on court against the likes of South Africa, Finland and Turkey to finish in third place.

Speaking about the team’s win, captain of the Great Britain Women’s 60s Anne Clark said: “I’m so proud of our team - we were thrilled to come third! The team exceeded their seeding of four, showing great competitiveness, team spirit and supporting each other throughout the week. I’d like to thank the ITF and Portuguese Tennis teams who ran an efficient and enjoyable tournament.”

Other GB results in the World Team Championships were as follows:

GB Women's 50s – 6th place
GB Men's 60s – 7th place
GB Men's 55s - 11th place
GB Women's 55s - 11th place
GB Men's 50s -13th place

ITF Seniors World Individual Championships, (10-17 August)

Following on from the World Team Championships, the 39th ITF Seniors World Individual Championships took place in Lisbon, Portugal from 10 – 17 August. The highest ranked event on the ITF Seniors Circuit for male and female players aged 50 – 65, the Championships saw a total of 582 players compete on behalf of their nation, including 26 players from Great Britain.

GB player and former WTA circuit competitor Teresa Catlin got off to a strong start for Britain in the Women’s 50s, breezing through the opening rounds 6-0, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-0, before progressing through to the final against Norway's Amy Jönsson Raaholt. Taking the match to a third set, Catlin stormed to a 6-0, 6-7, 6-2 victory, securing the first gold medal for Britain.

Catlin was then back in action that afternoon in the final of the Women’s 50s Doubles, where she and partner Siobhan Nicholson faced Ireland’s Lesley O’Halloran and Germany’s Olga Shaposhnikova – a pair who had previously won four World Championship titles. Storming to victory in a 6-4, 6-4 straight sets win, Catlin & Nicholson secured Britain’s second gold of the day.

Speaking about her wins, double gold medallist Catlin commented: “Although I had been growing in confidence as the matches progressed, I never thought about the possibility of winning the event. I didn’t feel nervous playing, I didn’t know any of my opponents, (a challenge I enjoyed) as this was the first year I played in the 50s after returning to competitive tennis in January 2018. My singles win was a totally expected bonus and Siobhan was there by my side supporting throughout, giving me extra strength to fight through some tough moments. I am very proud of my seniors’ achievements and the chance to fly the GB flag. My hope is that it gives confidence to the other age groups that we can compete with the best, even on a surface we don’t usually play on.”

Echoing Catlin's comments, Nicholson added: “Winning gold was an absolutely amazing feeling. It was unexpected, but the result of fab teamwork between Teresa and myself and the hard work during our preparation going into the event. Beating a pair that had won 4 previous world doubles titles was the icing on the cake given Teresa and myself were playing together for the first time! Doing it for GB was a reflection on how important it is to represent our nation. I can honestly say it is my happiest memory ever of winning a tennis tournament, especially doing it with Teresa! Tennis is a game for life and we have demonstrated putting in the practice and hard work does generate fab results.”

Elsewhere in the Championships, Russell Howat & Bruce Young achieved a bronze medal in the Men’s 60s Doubles event – defeating the likes of Australia’s Frank Byrnes and Jeff Trevarthen along the way.

Following a successful summer, Great Britain’s senior players will be hoping to emulate this month’s medal wins at the Super Seniors World Championships (for players aged 65 and over) in Croatia in September and the Young Seniors World Championships (for players aged 35-49) taking place in the USA in October.

Seniors Tennis GB is a member organisation of the LTA dedicated to advancing the interests of the game of tennis for players of all standards aged 35 years and over. Seniors can take part in tennis at a recreational level at venues across each county, while there are regular local, regional and national competitions for those that wish to take part.

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