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Teresa Catlin returns to Great Britain groove at World Team Championships after 25-year absence

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Cambridge tennis coach is back at the top

Cambridge tennis coach Teresa Catlin steps off a plane in Florida tomorrow and heads into the unknown.

She is part of the Great Britain over-45 squad contesting the World Team Championships as she returns to international tennis after a break of more than a quarter of a century.

While the rest of the four-woman squad have all been to the championships before, the last time Catlin set foot in Flamingo Park, Miami – home of this year’s Young Seniors competitions – was as a teenager contesting the Orange Bowl in the 1980s.

For the prestigious team championship she will join Michelle Oldham, the player who persuaded her to return to competitive international tennis, captain Jo Shepherd and Barbara Griffiths.

But the following week at the world championships she will play singles, team up with Griffiths for the women’s doubles and then contest the over-40 mixed pairs with a 42-year-old London-based partner, Mark Beim, whom she has met only once.

Catlin was selected for the team event after winning both the national indoor title at the start of 2018 and then a Fila tournament at Welwyn.

She was then runner-up at the clay court championships in Bournemouth in the summer on the same green clay that the world event is being staged on.

It is likely Catlin will play both singles and doubles, teaming up with Oldham, with whom she won the national over-35 clay court doubles title in Bournemouth.

There are 16 teams entered and all countries will play three pool games with the winner of each group going into the semi-finals, with the other teams playing for the minor placings.

“I really don’t have any idea of the standard,” said Catlin, who stepped up her match practice by playing for Cambridgeshire’s women’s team as well as the over-35s at their respective county weeks this summer.

“We will just do the best we can and see what happens. This will be my first international competition for over 25 years.

“Playing more in the summer means I’m a little bit more mentally match fit but obviously I’ve not played matches at international level.

“There will some serious teams in it like Spain and the USA, whose players are regulars on the ITF Seniors Tour if they are lucky enough not to have to work or have flexibility.

“If I didn’t have to work I’d play more tournaments!”

Catlin, who coaches at the Cambridge Club, warmed up earlier this month by playing for the International Club of Great Britain – open to any player who has representative honours as a junior or senior – against France at Wimbledon.

She pronounced herself pleased with her performances in her final warm-up competition after winning her singles match 6-0, 6-1 and then teaming up with Shepherd for a 6-1, 6-2 success

“I’m looking forward to Flamingo Park,” she said, “although green clay is not a surface we play or practice on very much and I haven’t played on it since the championships at Bournemouth in May.

“Even red clay is very different to green clay as red clay is much softer and slower. The surface will be the biggest problem for the British players; we are just not used to it.”

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