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Mudeford Wood Tennis Club president Bernard Copping celebrates new courts and 90th birthday

MUDEFORD Wood Tennis Club president Bernard Copping is calling on the local public to come along and enjoy the club’s new courts.

The 90-year-old die-hard tennis fan, who has played the game continuously for 74 years, is keen to see the most made of the club’s recent renovations.

The overhaul has seen new, all-weather artificial grass court surfaces laid, as well as new nets and net-posts.

Bernard Copping at Mudeford Wood Tennis Club
Bernard Copping at Mudeford Wood Tennis Club

Bernard, who celebrated his birthday last Saturday, is regularly on the court himself, having recently played in the Dorset Tennis’s British Open Seniors Clay Court Championships – an international competition – at West Hants.

Bernard, who played six matches over the two-day event, with one set lasting a gruelling 50 minutes, said: “Some of the people I played against feature for England, and although I didn’t manage to win, some of the people watching us said we played a wonderful game, and many people applauded.

“Last year, my tennis partner and I won a set 6:0 by dropping only one point, which has only been achieved once before by a professional player in 1987.”

The non-stop nonagenarian has been the Mudeford Wood Tennis Club president for around 14 years.

He added: “I keep planning on giving up the presidency, but when I shared my thoughts, the members were really upset, saying ‘You can’t do that’, and ‘You keep us all together and do so much’.

“I think seeing me keeping on helps motivate them.

“For example, I played last week, and managed to win 6-1, 6-1 against a talented player who was aged around 60.”

During the renovations of the courts, Bernard refused to leave his racket to gather dust and visited another tennis club: “I went with a temporary membership for six weeks, and they said I had a different sort of game than they were used to, I replied that I hadn’t gone there to lose!

“At my tennis club, they can’t believe how athletic I still am. I’ve always lived well, kept active and been young at heart, but I don’t really know what to put it down to.”

For the birthday festivities, Bernard will welcome 38 people to celebrate in his garden, some of whom will fly in from abroad. His son and family will visit from America, and four of his eight grandchildren will return from Germany and the Netherlands.

For more information about Mudeford Wood Tennis Club or to join, contact membership secretary Debbie Stephens at mudefordwoodtennisclub@gmail.com

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