Tennis champ adds another title

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The GB team with Paul MacNamee, l to r Libby Eden, Frances Candy, Pat Wire

Rye Tennis Club head coach Frances Candy has added another title to an already-impressive list.

With a World Championship and National Championship titles already to her name, she set off as Captain of the British Seniors team to contest La Carreta – the European Championships – held, this year, in Bulgaria at the National Training Centre, just outside Sophia.

The first hurdle turned out not to be on the court, as one might expect, but were they even going to get there! Yes, you may have guessed, they were flying out with Ryan Air and with stories of so many flights being cancelled and no leeway allowed on their arrival time in Sophia it was a real worry for team captain Frances. However, luck was with them, their flight was operating and they arrived in time for some quick practise before the competition started.

The format was similar to the Davis Cup and other international competitions with each team playing two singles matches and one doubles match against each their opponents with the overall winner going through to the next round. 

The British team of Frances Candy, Pat Wire and Libby Eden was a strong one, but although progressing through and beating the home nation, Bulgaria, to set up a final against France, there were fears that they would be hard pressed to defeat an experienced and talented French team.

The first match confirmed their fears when Libby Eden was defeated in straight sets 3-6, 1-6. Next up was Frances who managed to turn the tables and beat her opponent also in straight sets and with the same score line, 6-3, 6-1, but this time reversed in favour of the British.

All hung on the final doubles match played by Libby and Pat Wire. They admitted later that the French pair had looked so good in the previous rounds that they did not expect to win. However, in the event, the game came together for them and they ended up victors 6-2, 6-2, to be later presented with their trophy by former Wimbledon doubles champion Paul Macnamee.

However, even champions have to face reality, and after arrival home at 2am on Monday September 25 it was back on court in Rye by 8:30am, for the team Captain, to coach the first of that day’s clients.

Photo: Courtesy Frances Candy

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