Thursday, 22 November 2018

Councillor nearly tennis champ’s doubles partner

FORMER Henley town councillor David Silvester has recalled how he nearly became the doubles partner of

FORMER Henley town councillor David Silvester has recalled how he nearly became the doubles partner of British grand slam winner Christine Truman — but was prevented by her mother.

He was a fine tennis player himself in his youth and was selected for the under-16s national squad in 1953.

The following year, Truman, from Woodford Green, also made it into the squad after winning the Phyllis Court Club under-18s final.

Even though she was only 13, she beat the 18-year-old Berkshire champion Sue Fisher in the final. “I duly invited her to become my mixed doubles partner in 1955,” recalls David, now 75.

“But when she took me to her rather enormous mother for permission, I think she may have thought, ‘I’m not having my girl play with some lout from Uppingham School, where they don’t even play tennis, only cricket’.



“Whatever the reason, she said a firm ‘no’ and, if you knew Mrs Truman, you’d know that was most definitely that!”

David went on to become a professional coach as well as have a career in the oil industry before becoming a  councillor.

Truman, now 74, went on to win the French open championship in 1959 and Australian doubles title in 1960.

She also reached the Wimbledon final in 1961 but was beaten by fellow Briton Angela Mortimer, although David says she only lost because she tripped and sprained an ankle in the final set.

Truman retired from tennis in 1975 and became a commentator for BBC radio. She was made an MBE for services to sport in 2001. In recent years she has published several children’s books.



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