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  • Jo Davies

"I love the the feeling of wellbeing when playing tennis"

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

From picking up a racket at the age of nine to receiving the Suffolk LTA award for outstanding contribution to club and county tennis, meet club secretary Fiona Foreman.

What is the history of your involvement with Saxmundham Tennis Club?

I was married in 1973 and we moved to Suffolk the following year on April 1st. The wife of one of my husband’s partners took me under her wing and I joined in with their girls Friday morning tennis sessions. Unfortunately none of them play now.

Gradually I plucked up courage to attend a club session where I found a very friendly group of people and joined the club. I became club secretary in 1979. For about 20 years until 2018 I was a committee member of the Suffolk Lawn Tennis Association. I am still a committee member of the Ipswich and District Tennis League.

What attracted you to playing tennis?

My father spent most of my childhood in and out of hospital and as a result my sister and I were sent away to Christ Hospital School age 9 where I first encountered and discovered a love of tennis. Not being particularly academic I found sport much more interesting than sitting at a desk!

My father owned a 10 acre smallholding in Hampshire. When I was 12 he announced he was fed up with digging the vegetable patch and would we like a tennis court or swimming pool instead. We opted for the tennis court.

He had the cheek to pick the brains of En-Tout-Cas, the best-known name in tennis court construction then, before laying the court, which is a story in itself. Except for repainting the lines it didn’t need any other maintenance for over 30 years when finally the builders moved in.

I have enjoyed playing tennis ever since except for a 7 year gap when I was a student in London and Portsmouth (although I still managed the odd knock about when visiting home).

My game is very much self taught although we did have some fairly basic tennis coaching at school. When I started playing there were only two ways of griping the racket – forehand and single handed backhand. Perhaps some players will remember that we were told to shake hands with the racket and that was the forehand grip which I believe is now known as the The Continental Grip.

With the serve you pointed your toe towards the way you wanted the ball to go and hit the ball with a flat stroke. My best birthday present was a wooden tennis racket!

Tell us about a few of your tennis a few successes…

I played for our school’s tennis team, and in 2010 I was awarded Suffolk Coastal Sports Award for Young Suffolk Volunteer of the Year. In 2019 I received a Suffolk LTA award for outstanding contribution to Club and County tennis.

What would you say to anyone who wants to improve their game?

Opt for a few coaching sessions and then put into practice what you have learnt (more easily said than done!). Matt is an excellent coach. My game may not have improved but as least I now know where I am going wrong! It's always essential to keep fit. Before playing warm up with gentle exercise to avoid injuries (how many of us do that!). Give one of Matt’s cardio sessions a whirl.

Name three things you love about playing

1. The feeling of wellbeing when playing.

2. Tennis is one of the best total-body workouts you can get. It is considered a high-impact activity and can increases bone density.

3. The social side. I have made many friends through the club. We have even had romance in the club with two couples getting married!

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