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Monday, 20 September 2021

Meet UK's oldest amateur tennis player who's still serving at the age of 100

Credit: SWNS STUDIO
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Meet UK's oldest amateur tennis player who's still serving at the age of 100
Meet UK's oldest amateur tennis player who's still serving at the age of 100

Meet the UK's oldest amateur tennis player who is still serving up game, set and match - at the age of 100.Basil Smith has been playing tennis since he started hitting a ball off the wall of his parents house 92 years ago.The self-taught player still plays three times a week at Swansea Tennis Club - usually against people half his age - on top of an hour of extra exercise a day.And despite his old age, he's still a ninja on the court - smashing aces, returning tricky dropshots and spinning backhands over the net.He's still in it to win it and said there's nothing better then hitting the deciding shot.The centenarian says the winning formula for supple joints and healthy muscles is staying warm with a hot bubble bath after each game - and putting his jammies on the radiator every night.Basil, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, said: "I started playing when I was seven or eight, just hitting a ball against the side wall of my house."I am as keen on playing tennis now as I was in my 20s and 30s, and I am just as good now as when I was younger, and I have all the experience."I think it comes naturally to me, it's just my game."I just have that coordination and I am pretty fast all over the court."I also think I'm quite fortunate, because I have a good eye for the ball, and my reactions are fast."It's lovely to be back out there playing again now the courts have reopened."I've missed it so much, and I'm still going strong.""Tennis is one of the most important things in my life, bar my friends and family, "When I'm playing I forget about everything else - every little problem or worry - I just concentrate on the ball and enjoy myself, as if I am in another world."I don't like losing, and I play to win every time."It certainly lifts your spirits when you hit the winning shot."Basil's tennis CV includes playing in Durban in South Africa, Los Angeles and New York, as well as in Baghdad when serving with the RAF in the 1940s.He was captain of the Llandeilo team in the 1950s and 60s and coached at schools in the 1980s.He has worked for British Rail, Lloyds Bank, and finally as a postmaster, before retiring in 1982.Basil, who has no children, still drives to all his tennis practices and added: "I went for an eye test recently."They couldn't get over it because I still don't need any spectacles."They said I'm incredible."Basil said his tennis highlights include winning over 50s veterans competitions at Keele University, Dundee University and at Torquay.He said: "I was pleased with that, and I was the only Welshman playing there."Basil was delighted to get back on the court a month ago and feels lucky to be a natural with a racket and ball.The OAP who received 106 cards and 100 giant balloons for his birthday on February 2, said looking after your body between matches is the key to success.He said: "I think it makes all the difference if you keep your body warm right away."I consider it essential."Every time I get back from playing tennis I get in a hot bath, and I always use Radox Muscle Lotion."I have five flannels I use to give all my joints a good rub, and to get all the excess water off."Then I towel myself fully with warm towels to make sure I am lovely and dry."I dry each of my joints in turn, even all of my finger joints and all of my toe joints, and especially my knees."During the winter, from September to May, I always put all my clothes on the radiators so that when I dress they are nice and warm."I do that with my pyjamas too, I'm sure all that warmth makes the difference."I've been lucky."I've had no trouble with my joints, no arthritis or anything."I exercise every day for half an hour before breakfast and again before I go to bed, and I go for a walk every day if I can."I also like eating plenty of fruit, especially pears and bananas,  and I take vitamins every day."Also being a real extrovert makes a difference."I talk to anybody, and if I can do a good turn for someone I always will."He has outlived his wife Glenys, who died in 2018 aged 89, and his two younger brothers Ronald and Dudley, who died in 2000.

Meet the UK's oldest amateur tennis player who is still serving up game, set and match - at the age of 100.Basil Smith has been playing tennis since he started hitting a ball off the wall of his parents house 92 years ago.The self-taught player still plays three times a week at Swansea Tennis Club - usually against people half his age - on top of an hour of extra exercise a day.And despite his old age, he's still a ninja on the court - smashing aces, returning tricky dropshots and spinning backhands over the net.He's still in it to win it and said there's nothing better then hitting the deciding shot.The centenarian says the winning formula for supple joints and healthy muscles is staying warm with a hot bubble bath after each game - and putting his jammies on the radiator every night.Basil, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, said: "I started playing when I was seven or eight, just hitting a ball against the side wall of my house."I am as keen on playing tennis now as I was in my 20s and 30s, and I am just as good now as when I was younger, and I have all the experience."I think it comes naturally to me, it's just my game."I just have that coordination and I am pretty fast all over the court."I also think I'm quite fortunate, because I have a good eye for the ball, and my reactions are fast."It's lovely to be back out there playing again now the courts have reopened."I've missed it so much, and I'm still going strong.""Tennis is one of the most important things in my life, bar my friends and family, "When I'm playing I forget about everything else - every little problem or worry - I just concentrate on the ball and enjoy myself, as if I am in another world."I don't like losing, and I play to win every time."It certainly lifts your spirits when you hit the winning shot."Basil's tennis CV includes playing in Durban in South Africa, Los Angeles and New York, as well as in Baghdad when serving with the RAF in the 1940s.He was captain of the Llandeilo team in the 1950s and 60s and coached at schools in the 1980s.He has worked for British Rail, Lloyds Bank, and finally as a postmaster, before retiring in 1982.Basil, who has no children, still drives to all his tennis practices and added: "I went for an eye test recently."They couldn't get over it because I still don't need any spectacles."They said I'm incredible."Basil said his tennis highlights include winning over 50s veterans competitions at Keele University, Dundee University and at Torquay.He said: "I was pleased with that, and I was the only Welshman playing there."Basil was delighted to get back on the court a month ago and feels lucky to be a natural with a racket and ball.The OAP who received 106 cards and 100 giant balloons for his birthday on February 2, said looking after your body between matches is the key to success.He said: "I think it makes all the difference if you keep your body warm right away."I consider it essential."Every time I get back from playing tennis I get in a hot bath, and I always use Radox Muscle Lotion."I have five flannels I use to give all my joints a good rub, and to get all the excess water off."Then I towel myself fully with warm towels to make sure I am lovely and dry."I dry each of my joints in turn, even all of my finger joints and all of my toe joints, and especially my knees."During the winter, from September to May, I always put all my clothes on the radiators so that when I dress they are nice and warm."I do that with my pyjamas too, I'm sure all that warmth makes the difference."I've been lucky."I've had no trouble with my joints, no arthritis or anything."I exercise every day for half an hour before breakfast and again before I go to bed, and I go for a walk every day if I can."I also like eating plenty of fruit, especially pears and bananas,  and I take vitamins every day."Also being a real extrovert makes a difference."I talk to anybody, and if I can do a good turn for someone I always will."He has outlived his wife Glenys, who died in 2018 aged 89, and his two younger brothers Ronald and Dudley, who died in 2000.

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