Hawke's Bay tennis player Margaret Hall is eagerly awaiting the screening of a British documentary she was interviewed for in Croatia.
At 81, Havelock North's Hall, was the youngest member of the New Zealand 80-plus women's team which finished ninth at last month's World Super Seniors Championships. During the individual section of the championships a British documentary-maker watched her second round 6-2, 7-6 (10-8) victroy against a German opponent and later asked Hall if he could interview her about why women in their 80s still wanted to play competitive tennis.
"I told him something about my nearly 70 years of playing tennis, while his young assistant filmed me. They appeared quite happy with what I said, so it will be interesting to view the documentary when it comes out. I saw them filming other players later, especially a French woman who hadn't started playing tennis until she was 40, yet she advanced to the semifinals of the 80-plus singles this year," Hall recalled.
A Radio Kidnappers presenter, Hall, was competing at her seventh Super Seniors World Teams Championship. Her team was the only one representing New Zealand so the four team members carried the New Zealand flag around the arena during the opening ceremony.
In 2017 Hall and her same teammates who were in Croatia, Otago's Jean Stevens, Waikato's Mary Durham and South Island's Mary Walsh, won bronze in Florida.
"But this year, we were all two years older, and came up against younger players in opposing teams," Hall explained.
Against Great Britain in ideal conditions on day one captain and No 1 Stevens and No 2 Hall both lost their singles in tie breakers and the Kiwi doubles pair also lost. On day two against France Hall won her singles match in a tie-breaker against Josiane Thiers and Stevens lost her's.
Hall then played the doubles with Durham and they lost in a tie-breaker.
"I had been on court for two-and-a-half hours with my singles and another two hours with the doubles so I was tired that night. Next morning, I felt a twinge in my left leg and when we reached the courts I couldn't run. Mary took my place and played singles, but South Africa was too strong and won all three matches," Hall recalled.
On the fourth and final day of the teams competition New Zealand recorded their only win - 3-0 against Ukraine. Argentina won gold, the United States silver and France bronze.
After two sessions with a physiotherapist Hall's left leg was almost back to normal by the time the individual events began.
"And I knew that back at the Arohanui Church in Havelock North friends were praying for me," staunch Christian Hall said.
Her first match was against Marielle Gallay, a French player she had met twice before and beat. This time Gallay made numerous errors and Hall won 6-1, 6-2.
After her second round win against the German player Hall was thrilled to be the only unseeded player to reach the quarterfinals where she was eliminated by an experienced United States player. That same day Hall and Durham were beaten 7-5, 6-2 in the second round of the doubles by a seeded Australian pair and earlier in the week Hall and Britain's Roy Henderson lost their first round match in the mixed doubles.
Hall's international singles ranking in her age group improved by 43 places to 29.
Stevens was eligible for the 85-plus age group where she won gold in the singles and mixed doubles.
"It had been an enjoyable two weeks of good tennis. Watching some of the matches, particularly the 65-plus mixed doubles, was as good as watching Wimbledon," Hall recalled.
"I was disappointed my leg had stopped my team play, but so grateful to God that I was able to play well in the individual events," Hall added.