PLAYING a game of tennis must be good for the body if the exploits of a 90-year-old from Bromsgrove are anything to go by.
Les Irving is still playing the sport three times a week and not only is he the oldest player at Bromsgrove Tennis Club, but is one of a small elite band of 90+ players nationally.
He has been involved with tennis since the age of 12 when he helped maintain courts on the Isle of Wight.
Moving to Bromsgrove in 1953, he joined Aston Fields TC playing on the long gone courts near the working men’s club on Stoke Road.
Ten years later he and other members moved to join the new tennis section at Bromsgrove Cricket Club located where Harwood Park is now built.
Finally, he moved to the current home of the cricket, tennis and hockey club in St Godwald’s Road.
Not only content with playing, but Irving was a respected umpire and linesman, making numerous appearances at Wimbledon.
Notably, he was one of the linesmen involved in the infamous John McEnroe ‘you cannot be serious!’ incident in a first round clash against Tom Gullikson in 1981.
Irving has also been Bromsgrove TC’s club president and oversaw improvements to the clubhouse to create a good place for socialising.
To cap it all off, he still helps out with coaching and has invented a number of teaching aids used by clubs up and down the country.
Talking about his long involvement in tennis, Irving said: “Tennis has been good to me.
” I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends and it’s helped keep me fit and active.
“I still enjoy playing and whilst not as quick as I used to be I try to make sure I get young fit partners who can do the running for lobs and drop shots.
“I’d recommend playing to anyone.”