When Howard met Andy

On the 14th of September, three members of High Wycombe Lawn Tennis Club were invited by British Tennis to view the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. The delegation consisted of their elderly President, Howard Pountney, Joe Rylett the Chairman of the club and John Beckley a member and Trustee of the club.

What a privilege it was to see all the facilities at the centre. The hub of the organisation is an extensive office area where work is proceeding to further the cause of British tennis. John was heard to remark, “we now know where all the directives like Clubmark are coming from”. The indoor and outdoor courts and their changing facilities are quite splendid. There are several different types of court surfaces to play on and Joe was particularly interested in viewing the outside artificial clay courts as it’s this surface High Wycombe are considering for three of their courts. Following the tour, Joe and John were invited on court by two other visitors to play some social tennis. After the tennis the delegation sampled catering in the centre’s restaurant.

Joe Rylett, Howard Pountney and John Beckley at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton

Joe Rylett, Howard Pountney and John Beckley at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton

Howard chatting to Andy and Jamie Murray

Howard chatting to Andy and Jamie Murray

As we were eating, Howard spotted Andy and Jamie Murray on an outside table, so after finishing his meal he wandered over and joined them at their table. Being 96 years old, and involved in tennis for much of his life, Howard always has some interesting views to share with players. Andy was very polite and with a smile thanked Howard for his advice. Howard’s parting words as he said farewell to Andy were “many years ago I shook the hand of the last British Men’s Wimbledon champion Fred Perry and now I’ve met and shaken the hand of the next British Men’s Wimbledon Champion.”

The delegation from High Wycombe left the National Tennis Centre in the belief that this new and exciting facility will help provide the springboard that is needed to turn our promising young players into future champions.

Joe Rylett

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