We caught up with our fantastic #gymphlexhero, Real Tennis & current world champion Rackets player, Lea Van Der Zwalmen, reflecting on recent tournaments, achievements and what’s in store for the year ahead…
During the bank holiday weekend, our hero was in Petworth eagerly preparing to compete in her first season of the prestigious LRTA International tournament. The biennial event invites top 8 ladies in the world to battle it out. ''I was very pleased to get the opportunity to play in this tournament, after convincingly winning both my group matches on the Saturday, I unfortunately lost in the semis against Tara Lumley 2/0. She played superbly, served very well and didn't give me any loose balls to impose my game. All credits to her. She then went on to win the tournament, beating the top seed 2/0 in the final. I had to play Tara again the next day in the final of the Queen's Club Ladies Real Tennis Championship and this time, I managed to squeeze the win 2/1 in a very contested and high quality match.''
Concluding on the event, Lea said: ''I am very pleased to finish my first ever Real Tennis season with a win and I am looking forward to starting my summer training soon. I’ve had a very good first season – with highlights of reaching the semi finals of both the singles and doubles British Open; and I am already forward to seeing what next season has to offer!''
It’s all go for Lea, who after finishing her year abroad in Germany, June 2019, plans to thoroughly train at the Queen's Club (London), before spending a whole month in Washington DC from mid July till mid August for some more intensive real tennis training, before the season begins with the French Open in Paris, the last week of September.
As well as developing her Real Tennis skills, Lea is also preparing to defend her World Champion title next summer. ''Things have been quieter on the Rackets front since there's less tournaments but I managed to convincingly retain both my British Open Singles and Doubles title. I shall be very looking forward to defending my World title next summer.''