Rye Tennis Club head coach Frances Candy rounded off an exciting 12 months with victory at the British Seniors Indoor Championships at Dudley last week in both the singles and the doubles tournaments. This was her fourth consecutive singles title and third doubles title at this event.
Candy admits that despite her straight sets wins in the singles, this competition is never easy: “It is not often I get to play indoors and under lights,” she says, “and the surface is very different from the outdoor courts that I am used to. Fortunately the earlier matches gave me a chance to play myself in, so that by the final I was ready for a very strong opponent.” A straightforward first set in the final was followed by a much closer second set, culminating in a nail-biting tie-break which she just took, 7-5, to give her the championship.
A bye in the doubles meant that she and her playing partner Pauline Fisher went straight into the semi-finals. A disappointing loss at 3-6 in the first set – “we just weren’t mentally tuned into the game” confesses Candy – was recovered by a decisive 6-2 win in the second and a comfortable, although not easy, margin of 10-6 in the tie-break format used for the third set to take them through. The final itself proved to be more convincing with a straight sets win, 6-2, 6-2.
It has been a successful year for Candy, beginning with retaining her crown this time last year at the Indoor Championships before going to Turkey in September as part of the British Team for the International Tennis Federation Seniors World Championships. There she and her team-mates lifted the world championship title and the Alice Marble Cup from the USA, becoming the first British Team for 10 years to win this.
In recognition of her consistent success and hard work, in December she received the prestigious Senior Player of the Year award from the Lawn Tennis Association at a special awards ceremony during the Masters finals at the O2 arena.
The challenges continue in 2015: in June she will once again be part of Team GB defending their world championship title at La Boule in northern France, before again representing Great Britain in a tournament run by the International Club, this time in the USA.
We look forward to reporting more trophies landing in Rye during the months to come.
Photos: John Minter