Joanie Whiteford dominated the Tain Tennis club’s finals winning her 25th individual championship as well as the club’s mixed doubles and ladies doubles events.
Whiteford who is the Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty started playing tennis as she grew up on a farm in Northumberland.
She credits the bumpy tennis court for helping her become a talented player as she had to deal with the stray balls bouncing in every direction across the court.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty moved to Tain 35 years ago and has been involved with the tennis club ever since as a player and on the committee only taking a break as she had her children and suffered from a knee injury.
The experienced Tain champion only dropped one set across her three matches as she stormed to victory in the events being partnered with husband Dave and Jackie Neill in the respective mixed and ladies’ doubles.
The mixed-double winners saved five championships points to win the title and yet Whiteford conserved enough energy to dominate her two other finals winning in straight sets.
The club championship trophies that she has won over the 35-year period now have pride of place in her home as she said: “The trophies are beautiful. They’re very old especially the ladies one, it’s a very old Rose Bowl that used to be the men’s trophy.
“I’ve got a place for it on the mantel piece, it would have left an awful gap! Of course, there’s pride and you do your best.
“The younger ones are coming up and I know the day will come, perhaps I’ll bow down at 25. That might just be the thing to do, but that will win to win never goes away.”
The reigning champion doesn’t have her sights set on the regaining the titles next year just yet, but instead hopes that more younger female players will be inspired by Emma Raducanu’s win and challenge her for Tain’s trophies.
She said: “There’s a lot of youngsters coming through, and you know, what would give me more pleasure than anything is to see lots of girls coming into tennis.
“We had the junior championships the week before and we just didn’t have any girls playing. Our coach Scott already has a girl’s group on a Monday which is attracting a few more.
“If we could get some more youngsters in, I think that would give me more pleasure than winning it again. I’ve proved that I can so that’s more important to me.”
A call for better facilities
Tain tennis club already has a well-established set up for young players, but Whiteford believes the club can go even further with the help of funding and better facilities.
She said: “Our son who is 25, he played at quite a high level. We’ve had quite a lot of high-level juniors come through the team which is fantastic, but for indoor facilities they were travelling down to Gannochy in Stirling.
“I remember one evening we went down with our coach and they got stuck on the A9. These kids in the cities don’t have that to cope with. We were really disappointed that University of the Highlands and Islands didn’t get a covered facility.
“It’s a real shame for the youngsters. We must get a legacy going forward from what the Murray brothers have done for Scottish tennis and now what Emma has done for British tennis. Let’s hope we can build on that and attract some more funding.”
Elsewhere in the club finals, Martin Treacher won the men’s title winning in three sets against his teenage opponent Marcus Macauley.
The 15-year-old faced fellow teenager Kyle Corbett in the men’s doubles as Macauley and partner Gordon Brown edged the match 7-5 3-6 6-1 to defeat their 13-year-old opponent and club coach Scott Fraser.
Tain Tennis is club is currently offering a 50% reduction of the Membership Fees from now to the end of March 2022 with more information found on the Tain Tennis Club Website.