With 70 years of tennis playing under her belt, Felicity Thomas is no stranger to life on the court at East Glos Club. Having played for Great Britain and travelled across the globe for the sport, here Felicity chats to SoGlos about what it’s like to be on top form.
And just starting out her tennis career, top junior player Olivia Rook also talks to SoGlos, revealing what’s next for her…
How long have you been playing for?
I have been playing tennis for more than 70 years. Coming from a large family, and of course no television and computers then, we were encouraged to play all different sports. With brothers I had to bowl, field, bat, play football and even box at times.
My first match was a postal one in the local park as a teenager. I remember my first racket – Dunlop Maxply. It wasn’t until I came to East Glos in 1969 and played with other young mothers that I progressed playing tennis.
I took up coaching and was asked to go for further qualifications which led to playing for the county. I started the veteran tournament scene at 55 years old and have had the opportunity to play all over the world.
How was it playing for Great Britain?
Playing for GB was a great opportunity! Playing world championships around the globe and meeting so many good players means there’s an amazing team spirit that encourages you to play your best.
What do you love about playing at East Glos Club?
Playing at East Glos, you have the choice of many different surfaces to choose from. There is a big membership which means you can find your own level. For me, I want competition so I am able to arrange suitable practices and matches.
The club enters the national competitions as well as the county ones so you can get to play there if you desire.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking up tennis?
If you are thinking about joining East Glos I would first of all join some sort of coaching and you will get advice from the coaches as to where you go next.
There are several good standard sessions of social play to start with, where you can meet players, find your own level then arrange games with players of similar standard.
There are club competitive ladders, singles, doubles and mixed to join when one feels confident to do it. If you are looking for a social time, the club organises various entertainments.
How did you get into tennis?
When I was younger I can remember watching my Dad playing tennis with my older brother and thinking ‘that looks fun’, and I wanted to play. I would run on court and try and hit the tennis balls. I loved playing and it seemed the natural thing to do.
Dad is so knowledgeable about the game and has always helped with everything I wanted to know about the game and I’ve loved playing ever since.
Where do you hope your tennis career will take you?
I really want to play professionally and travel the world playing tournaments. Before that, I would love to get a scholarship to an American university and play collegiate tennis, as well as carrying on with my education.
How has East Glos supported you so far?
Its brilliant that I get to practice at East Glos. Being able to play on a number of different surfaces has helped my game. I hit there with my Dad regularly, and East Glos’ Tennis Manager Steve Worsley has been a big support over the years in terms of hitting with me, and also helping me with the mental side of the game.
What’s next for you?
I have a number of national and international tournaments coming up and my immediate goal is to improve my UK ranking and gain an ITF junior ranking.
I hope to keep playing well, develop my game and improve my ranking so I’m able to compete at higher level ITFs including the junior grand slams.
Competing in the UK, I will carry on playing the Junior National events and the women’s British Tour events.