Martin Flynn praised his tennis club’s team spirit after David Lloyd Milton Keynes’ valiant performances in the Jaguar Championships.
The 62-year-old from Leighton Buzzard joined David Lloyd Milton Keynes teammates Kevin Todd, Deidre Miller and Helen Howard on Saturday earlier this month, bidding to be crowned national champions in the competition’s third year.
More than 1,600 players from 417 teams took part in this, the third year of the Jaguar Championships, a mixed-doubles event for adults in both improver and advanced categories.
An extra surprise was in store for the teams with none other than former British No.1 Tim Henman watching on, while a prize of Wimbledon Centre Court tickets were up for grabs, plus the opportunity to drive Jaguar’s F-PACE – World Car of the Year 2017 – for a weekend.
Flynn and his David Lloyd Milton Keynes teammates missed out on the top improver category prize, but that didn’t stop him feeling immense pride at representing their club on the national stage.
“The team spirit is excellent, we were all friends anyway so bonding was no problem, we’re very happy to be here and really enjoying it,” he said.
“It makes it easier playing among friends, if we were playing with people we didn’t know we’d be more nervous, although I was nervous enough anyway.
“The regionals were good, we were slightly apprehensive but when we got there we settled in quite nicely and we came out of it unbeaten so we were very happy.
“It felt excellent to be there, we were all really excited and the prospect of winning another prize was motivating us. I had my eyes on the Jag!”
Teams had to battle through club competitions and regional finals just to reach the national showcase, leaving the best of the best to show what they could do at David Lloyd Royal Berkshire.
And with a strong level of talent on display, Henman – a four-time Wimbledon semi-finallist – was delighted to see people of all ages enjoying the Jaguar Championships.
“Grassroots is always going to be massively important, when you’re talking about trying to get participation numbers up,” Henman said.
“You have to get the youngsters playing and if you get them at a young age and they enjoy what they’re doing on the court, there’s a good chance they’ll keep playing for the rest of their lives.
“Any time you can experience the game at a young age, enjoy it, get out there have fun and exercise you’re not going to go too far wrong.
“For me, the participation at grassroots is absolutely vital, that’s where the Jaguar Championships can play a big part in that.
“One of the challenges at every level of tennis is keeping the participation numbers up so it’s great when you see a great facility and a lot of the clubs coming to compete.
“Tennis is a great sport because you can play, pretty much, for your whole life, there’s a great physical element to it, it’s good exercise, there’s plenty of good competitions.”
Tim Henman was speaking at The Jaguar Championships as part of Jaguar’s partnership with David Lloyd Clubs. Visit http://www.jaguar.co.uk/jaguar-range/f-pace/index.html to find out more about the F-PACE, the Official Car of The Championships, Wimbledon