Katy, our physical activity navigator, has been chatting to Luke Tye, one of our Board Directors, about his love for VI tennis. Read all about it below.
Also, please visit physical activity news page for some information about hockey, wobble exercise and free personal training opportunities!
And don’t forget to join the Get More Active chat group on Friday at 2pm. This week they will be talking about these opportunities and others as well as looking at the upcoming “Freedom day” and what that means for us.
In the summer of 2012 Andy Murray became the first British male to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. He lost in four sets to the world Roger Federer but exactly 4 weeks later at the Olympic final the tables were turned, and Murray won the Olympic Gold medal beating Federer in straight sets.
Watching Andy that summer was one of the Coalition’s directors, Luke Tye. Luke, a keen tennis fan, was at Wimbledon with his parents as a birthday treat and watching his hero play inspired Luke to pick up a racket and start playing tennis himself. Luke described how he was not very well that summer, his health was not good, and he was fairly overweight but, in his own words he hasn’t looked back.
Luke plays at Sutton Tennis Academy every Thursday at 10.30am in a dedicated coaching session for visually impaired players. VI tennis works in a very similar way to standard tennis except the balls are softer and have a bell inside so that you can hear them moving. Additionally, you must let the ball bounce twice before playing your shot. The 90-minute session starts with splitting people into groups and working on training drills. One group might practise serving, the other rallying for example. Then they might pair up for a short doubles or singles game.
Unfortunately, COVID restrictions meant that Luke had to stop playing tennis for the last year, and he really missed playing during lockdown. The great news is that Luke has been able to get back to doing the sport he loves over the last few weeks and, although he realised he had lost a bit of fitness and his technique was a little rusty, he was soon back in the swing of it.
Luke clearly loves playing tennis, not only for the enjoyment of the game, but also because he feels fitter and healthier for it. He enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and experience the game with people that are in a similar position to him. Luke likes the different challenges of the game too, playing doubles instead of singles with it’s faster pace and teamwork, and seeing how that improves his singles game.
Luke has an infectious love for tennis both as a fan and a player. The first two weeks of July are all about Wimbledon and Luke makes sure he doesn’t miss a game by watching the daily coverage as well as the highlight’s programme!
Luke obviously loves the social side of tennis, but he has a competitive side too. He is very much looking forward to playing in first VI tennis tournament at the club as it is something he has always wanted to do. Luke does not want to stop there though – his ambition is to play against Andy Murray one day.
We wish Luke well in the upcoming tournament – play well Luke and enjoy it!