World Team Championships Finland June 2016

World Team Championships, Finland June 2016


World Team Championships over 55s Austria June 2016


Helsinki Finland, Monday 20 June 2016 – The first day of competition for the Irish Mens’ Over 55 team in the World Team Championships Austria Cup. 22 countries had entered with fixtures to be played in the Jarkko Neiminen Tennis Centre boasting 22 indoor courts, 12 outdoor courts (not being used in this competition) a shop and a café. At a slightly bizarre opening ceremony 2 days earlier we had listened to Beatboxing by Finn RudiRok, a treat that is available to all on Youtube. We had been drawn in a group with France and India. Today we played France and I was first up at 2nd singles ……. Less than an hour later I was off court having lost 6-0, 6-0 and wondering if I even belonged at this competition. At 1st singles Tony played incredibly well against the currently ranked 3 in the world 55 gaining a foothold in the 2nd set before going down 6-1, 7-6. Tom and Robbie lost the doubles 6-2, 6-0 one of their opponents having once played in the French Open. Later in the week the French were crowned Austria Cup champions.

Tuesday 21stIndia – Due to the number of teams participating there were two start times for the fixtures ours being in the afternoons; in the mornings we were Helsinki tourists. Against India I was first up again, this match taking 3hrs 20mins in contrast to my short  Monday match. I played an Indian man with bloodshot eyes from Hyderabad whose movements and deliberations between points were exceedingly slow. The tennis wasn’t good but eventually after having had a match point, then having saved one I won 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. The Indian playing 1st singles was at a different level beating Tony 6-1, 6-2 in a match with a bit of needle. With the fixture tied Tony and Tom played the doubles having chances but losing 6-2, 7-5. In the end the quality of the Indian no1 carried the result in their favour.

Wednesday 22nd – 3rd place teams play offs – Canada – We knew Canada were strong because their no3 had come within a point of beating Tony in the Scottish ITF tournament in Scotland last February. Tom lost at 2nd singles 6-1, 6-1 to their no3, Tony lost 6-1, 6-4 to their no1 and Robbie and I had a great doubles in the dead rubber before losing 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 against their nos 1&4

Thursday 23rd – 19th to 22nd play offs – South Africa – We had worked our way down to the bottom pairings South Africa v Ireland and Turkey v Moldova. After a bit of Afrikkans banter between Tony and our opponents we took to battle finally getting a result … Hooray!   I won 6-3, 6-4 at 2nd singles and Tony playing exceptionally well winning 6-1, 6-2 at 1st singles. In the doubles Tom and Robbie won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. We were due to play Moldova the next day but they conceded the fixture so we came 19th

The competition was very well run by the Finnish organizers and volunteers. It was a privilege to be part of a team at this event although we would have to concede that the top teams were at a different level from ours. Helsinki is a wonderful city and we really enjoyed being there. I wish to record my thanks to my fellow team members Tony Davison, Tom Barry and Robbie Harrold for their support and good company.

Willie Noteman (captain)