I have joined an exclusive tennis club.
Both Short Tony and I signed up for ‘family membership’. It’s twenty pounds a year for everything, so we were determined to get our money’s worth.
Luckily, my sister left her tennis equipment with me when she went travelling, so I had a professional-looking tennis bag, like at Wimbledon. To help my performance, I had an isotonic pie for lunch and dug out my sporty Matelan tracksuit top.
I went next door, feeling psychologically advantaged. Short Tony opened the door in brand new Nike gear right down to the shoes. I was a bit crushed, but if he wants to win by viciously exploiting the homeless orphans in the third world then that is his choice.
Even if he beat me 6-0 6-0 6-0, I would still be the real winner.
I haven’t played tennis since I was a teenager, and I was astonished at the changes in the game. For a start, it’s a lot more difficult to hit it over the net or between the white lines, and running around to get to the ball is far harder work. It was probably best that they changed the game like this, as people like Pete Sampras were getting too good at it, although I was a bit irritated that he has spoiled it for the rest of us.
The other thing is that the bats are not made of wood any more, because it is endangered (I think). So I had to make do with my sister’s graphitey one, which is a different shape than I am used to. This caused me problems as it means I don’t know whether I am playing with a girls’ bat or not, so I am worried about people laughing at me.
We played two sets and got drenched. I lost but it was very enjoyable and we decided to play regularly. I may even decide to enter Wimbledon next year, although I am realistic that I am unlikely to get past the first couple of rounds.
I am now in the market for a headband like the best players wear. That will give me the edge.