Tennis friends in Southsea enjoy rekindling competitive spirit and social side of game

TENNIS friends were back out on court firing balls as they enjoyed rekindling their competitive spirits and seeing friendly faces.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:20 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:16 pm

With outdoor sports once again allowed under the easing of lockdown restrictions, people were eager to meet up with their friends for a long awaited game of tennis at Canoe Lake. People were so keen, in fact, that courts were booked up 10 days ago.

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Foursome Deb Prytherch, Kate Wharton, Heidi Leaver and Justin Sayer were all back in action on a sunny day.

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Ease of lockdown restrictions are lifted as people up to a group of six can meet outdoors on 29 March 2021. Pictured: Deb Prytherch, Kate Wharton, Heidi Leaver and Justine Sayer ready to play tennis at the tennis courts in Canoe Lake, Southsea Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘It’s just so nice to see so many happy faces and see our friends again,’ Heidi, 54, of Southsea said. ‘We have been chatting on WhatsApp but it’s not the same. We’ve not seen each other for over three months.’

Deb, 66, of Southsea, said: ‘We’re all very excited. I can’t remember the last time we played. I’m sure we’ll all be creaking a bit.’

Kate, 42, of Southsea, said: ‘It’s the social side of it you miss. There’s nothing like it.’

Ambulance worker Justine, 48, added: ‘It’s been a challenging time for me so it’s really nice to see everyone and get back out on the court after all this time.’

Tennis players enjoy the sunshine while on the court. Picture: Emily Turner

Rob Fairall, 48, of Southsea, was also playing doubles with three friends. He said: ‘It’s good to be back and is long overdue. I didn’t really understand why we couldn’t carry on playing as tennis is outside and socially-distanced like golf.

‘It’s good to see everyone again. Playing tennis is good for your mental and physical health.’

Tim Peters, 66, was back playing with his son Tommy. ‘It’s been really nice to see lots of familiar faces and we’ve been very lucky with the lovely weather,’ he said.

Brothers (l-r) Joe Dorsett (23) from Portchester and Tommy Dorsett (27) from Paulsgrove, both booked the day off work to play a round of golf with each other. Picture: Sarah Standing

‘It’s been good to hit some balls again with my son.’

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From left: Ashley Neaves, head tennis coach, and Binky Hallett, chairman of the club, at The Avenue Lawn Tennis, Squash and Fitness Club on Monday, March 29. Picture: Emily Turner
The golf course has been fully booked all day today (March 29). Picture: Sarah Standing