Veteran Cooper ex­cels to claim na­tional ti­tle

Ten­nis

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Sport Starts Here -

Can­ter­bury ten­nis player Jasper Cooper has been crowned the Bri­tish over-65 in­door cham­pion.

Cooper won the na­tional ti­tle at Tip­ton and only dropped one set in the process.

The Can­ter­bury Lawn Ten­nis Club player came through a tough fi­nal against God­frey Evans af­ter beat­ing Peter Pharo, Paul Denyer and Boyd Brack­stone.

Cooper said: “I’m thrilled. I have worked hard on my ten­nis. Even at my age I’m try­ing to im­prove as much as I can.

“It was a tough route to the fi­nal as the matches were grad­u­ally get­ting harder as I went along.

“The fi­nal was hard-fought. I won a tight first set 6-3. Then my level dropped just a lit­tle, enough to lose the sec­ond set 6-0.

“I stayed calm and re­grouped well to take the match 6-4, end­ing with a win­ning back­hand and then a win­ning drop­shot. It was a great feel­ing to shake hands with the ti­tle in the bag.”

Cooper has won five Bri­tish veter­ans’ dou­bles ti­tles and this is his sec­ond Bri­tish sin­gles ti­tle – his first be­ing in 1999. At one stage he did not think he would able to play in the com­pe­ti­tion be­cause of a shoul­der prob­lem.

He said: “I felt I had a good chance of win­ning be­fore the tour­na­ment but then my shoul­der started play­ing up. I had an in­jec­tion on my shoul­der so I was not able to prac­tice as much as I would have liked.

“I went up there think­ing I may not be able to play in the tour­na­ment.” The 65-year-old is now ranked 26th in the world in the over-65s age group fol­low­ing his win.

Cooper will play in around 10 Bri­tish veter­ans’ tour­na­ments this year and will play in the World In­di­vid­ual Cham­pi­onships in Croa­tia in Septem­ber.

He is also a strong con­tender

‘Even at my age I’m try­ing to im­prove’

for se­lec­tion for the GB team for the World Team Cham­pi­onships, which he has never been se­lected for.

Ten­nis prac­tice also fits in well with his work of be­ing a chil­dren’s au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor and he has had sev­eral books pub­lished in­clud­ing a fan­tasy ad­ven­ture tril­ogy, The King­dom of Gems, and an ad­ven­ture called Gordo.

He added: “I can still write when I am at tour­na­ments and can of­ten be seen in a cafe or the ten­nis club­house typ­ing away.

“It is a job I am pas­sion­ate about and of­ten visit schools to speak to the chil­dren about it.”

Jasper Cooper with his tro­phy, chair­man of se­nior ten­nis GB Keith Bland and beaten fi­nal­ist God­frey Evans

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