It's taken Hawke's Bay tennis representative Margaret Hall almost 70 years to pluck up the courage and ask for some individual coaching but she reckons it was worth it.
"I was wanting to improve some of my backhand play. We ended up doing a bit of everything and it has all come together," Hall said as she reflected on her stint with Havelock North clubmate and former professional coach Alastair Montgomery.
"I've had group coaching in the past but never one on one," Hall, 79, recalled.
She hopes it will give her the edge when she competes as the No 2 woman in the New Zealand 80plus team at the ITF Super Senior World Team and Individual Championships at Lake Nona in Florida this month. Team events will be played from Sunday until Friday and individual events from October 14-21. Hall, who will be competing at her sixth worlds, will be one of two Bay players in the Kiwi contingent with Greendale's Victoria Kerrison a member of the New Zealand 65plus team.
Hall played for New Zealand's 75plus team which finished fifth in an 11-team division at the 2013 worlds in Croatia. This is her best finish at this level.
Next week her Kiwi team will be one of nine in their age group. They are the sixth seeds.
"We haven't set a goal yet. We will probably talk about that on the plane but Australia, Great Britain and Canada are the fancied teams," Hall said.
She will play with teammate Mary Durham in the doubles during the individual champs and another teammate Ashley Wilson in the mixed doubles.
"I've played with Mary before but only against Ashley who is in hot form after recently winning the Australian 85plus singles title," Hall said.
Humid temperatures around the 28 degrees Celsius mark are expected at facilities which escaped the worst of recent hurricanes in Florida. Hall has played in temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius when the worlds were staged in Perth.
When she returns from Florida her focus will be on the Wellington-hosted national seniors tournament in January.
Kerrison, 67, will be playing at her fourth worlds. She has been in a New Zealand team which has finished fourth at this level in the past and next week her team will aim for a top-12 finish in a 19-team division.
During the individual events Kerrison will play with long-time partner Sandy Tritt of Waikato and an unknown American partner in the mixed doubles.
"The organisers have found the partner for me. It will be a journey into the unknown with him but I will get more tennis and this is what these tournaments are all about," Kerrison said.
A Hawke's Bay Hospital medical secretary, Kerrison has played in several veterans tournaments recently as part of her build-up for Florida. Tritt and Kerrison lost the final of a Taupo tournament last weekend in a tie breaker and she won the mixed doubles title with Taupo's Andy Mellor.
"There were some tricky weather conditions in Taupo. We'll adapt to any conditions in Florida ... you get used to that when you play in these international events," Kerrison said.
A former Kiwi captain at this level, Kerrison has played in Christchurch, Croatia and the United Kingdom in the past.
Because Hall and Kerrison left for Florida yesterday they will miss the annual Hawke's Bay Veterans tournament in Napier this weekend. Men's and women's doubles matches will be played at the Hawke's Bay Lawn, Greendale and Nelson Park courts tomorrow and mixed doubles on Sunday.