Friday, 24 June 2011

Anyone For Tennis?

It was confession time but I wasn't sure if my sins could be forgiven. It had only been a week, but I'd broken every rule. I'd eaten carbs, drunk red wine and scoffed the childrens' sweets when they were at school. 

And now I was about to be punished for it on on the scales. Sighing, I hopped on, praying that balancing on one foot would miraculously make me weigh less. No chance. I'd put on three lbs.

'That's it,' my husband said. 'You'll have to do some exercise.' 

I flinched, horrified. 'No, not the cross trainer,' I begged. He shook his head. I began to panic. What evil form of gym torture did he have in mind? The running machine that gets faster and steeper with every step? A combat aerobics class with size 6 supermodels? 

'Tennis,' he announced. I smiled, relieved. I used to work at a tennis centre when I was a teenager. 'As a coach?' my husband asked, confused, when I told him.

'No,' I snapped. 'In the kitchen.' Then I paused. 'And the dining room. Oh and the bar.' In fact I used to do every job there to earn as much extra cash as I could.

But I was rubbish at all of them. I couldn't cook, was too young to drink and had never made my bed at home so didn't have a clue about cleaning. 

Still, that didn't stop me trying, and maybe because I was so enthusiastic that's why they kept me on. One time they'd even let me wait on women's tennis legend Martina Navratilova while she was staying there.

Big mistake. I was so nervous having a VIP guest, I wobbled as I neared her and slopped soup all down her tennis whites. 'I'm so sorry,' I said, almost bursting into tears. 

I expected her to serve me up a volley of abuse. Instead she smiled, accepted my apology and left me a tip (and no, it wasn't to give up the waitressing job.) 

Anyway, getting that up, close and personal with a sports superstar gave me a lifetime love of the game. And when one of the guys there, who said he'd been on Andre Agassi's coaching team, offered to give me lessons I'd jumped at the chance.

In between tidying the rooms, clearing tables, and mixing cocktails, I'd practised my backhand and serve. 

'So you must be good?' my husband said. I hesitated. 'That wouldn't be the word I'd use,' I said, but he wasn't listening. He was already on the phone booking a court. 

'It's the only way to shift that weight,' he said. The day before our match he went for a sneaky session while I dusted off my old racquet and checked I could still squeeze into a pair of shorts. 

'Guess who was there?' he grinned, excited, when he came back. I shrugged. 'Serena Williams,' he said and my eyes widened. Of course, she was playing in Eastbourne before appearing at Wimbledon. 

'I hope she's on centre court at Devonshire Park tomorrow,' I panicked. I didn't want the world champion watching me at the gym. Luckily, she was playing, so I could humiliate myself in peace, missing shot after shot, and smashing the ball into the net. 

I survived the hour, and hobbled off court, sweating. 'Meet you in the club bar after a shower,' my husband said, and when I turned up he'd ordered chips and a glass of wine for us both. 'I think you deserve it,' he said. 'That was the best laugh I've had in ages.' 

I grinned, happy to have made him happy. 'Same time, same court next week?' I suggested. Playing tennis as part of a diet – it's ace! 


  1. I normally breathe in when I weight myself. In my head I know it makes no difference at all but I feel better. Hmm like your Tennis diet.

  2. Fantastic. Excercise so you can eat and drink all those carbs. great :)