Simon’s a master of the real tennis court

Simon de Halpert is left of the net at the world masters, where he had major success
Simon de Halpert is left of the net at the world masters, where he had major success

Simon de Halpert has won the over-70s’ singles and doubles titles at the Real Tennis world masters championships in Cambridge.

The event is held only once every five years in the UK and the Nutbourne player was delighted with his successes.

De Halpert, whose home club is Seacourt at Hayling Island, told the Observer: “I started playing as a 15-year-old pupil at Canford School in Dorset and have played more or less continuously since then with some lengthy spells off court when I was abroad with the Royal Navy.

The world masters is held every five years in the UK, and in Australia and the USA in the intervening years so there are participants from all three countries. The only other country with courts is France but their players tend not to participate.

“The first week was the team events for the over-50s, over-60s and over-70s. The UK won all three competitions without losing a single match and I was part of the lead doubles pair in the UK over-70s’ team.

“The second week was the singles and doubles competitions, again in age groups of over-50s, over-55s and so on up to over-75s.

“I competed in the over-70s singles and doubles and the over-65s doubles. My Australian partner and I were defeated in the semi-finals of the over-65s doubles.

“In the over-70s singles I won my first two matches 6-4, 6-3 with both matches taking over an hour. The final was against the British player who defeated me in the over-65 final five years ago and whom I have never subsequently beaten. But after nearly two hours on court I won 6-5, 6-2 – and it was my second match on court that afternoon.

“In the over-70s doubles I teamed up with my singles final opponent. We had two fairly easy victories to reach the final, where we came up against a UK/Australian pair who were top seeds. However, we had an unexpectedly-easy win by 6-2, 6-1.

“I plan to defend both titles in Melbourne in 2017.”

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