Ruth Illingworth -
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Ruth Illingworth

Here are some vitals on Ruth:

ILLINGWORTH, RUTH (nee Ruth M Bennett)
United Kingdom
Born 18 February 1931
Married Douglas K. Illingworth between April and June of 1954 in Basford, Nottinghamshire
[Active 1950s-60s.]

Played singles at Wimbledon from 1960 to 1962 then again in 1965. Her Wimbledon rfecord was 2-4. Also entered the doubles in 1953 (as Miss Bennett) and 1954 (as Mrs Illingworth)
Still active in senior tennis as of 2013.

Blast bio at: Biographies of Female Tennis Players

Thanks to Jimbo for bringing her to out attention.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 2013, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Illingworth is still serving up a treat

THE people of Tunbridge Wells may not know it, but an international tennis star is living among them.

Okay, Ruth Illingworth may not be a household name like Andy Murray and Laura Robson, but in the world of veteran tennis there are few that can match her achievements. ​
INTERNATIONAL STAR: Ruth Illingworth gets in a bit of practice on the clay courts at the Nevill in Tunbridge Wells

The 79-year-old has been named the British Veteran Player of the Year, just weeks after reaching the final of the doubles and the team event at the Super-Seniors World Team Championship in Turkey.
Those two silver medals have been added to an impressive collection that already includes eight team gold medals, eight individual gold medals in doubles and the two golds in singles that she has won over the years at the world championships.

"I'm 79 now," Illingworth said. "I've been in this age group for four years. The longer you are in it the more difficult it is. You do not usually do very well in the last year so to get a silver is very creditable.

"I've played in these international events since 1983. It's very competitive, the standard is very high. The men go on playing up to the over 80 age group. You would not believe the way they move around the court."

Illingworth's future playing in the competition depends upon the governing body introducing an over 80s age group for ladies as well as her own desire to carry on competing at such a high level.She was persuaded to play this year by June Pearce, a county partner who had just reached the over-75 age group.

"It's 50-50 at the moment," she admitted. "It's in Turkey again, so not that far to go. I missed the one in Australia last year. I'd been three times before but adjusting to the jet lag is difficult. I'd had quite enough of that.

"We'll see if they bring in an over 80s. I've told everyone I've packed up playing singles. But people still say I could go on playing doubles. I'll think about it next year. I'd still probably get selected. I'm still number two in the country and there's nobody else coming up."

The only person ahead of her in the rankings is Pearce.

"June's a bit faster than me – I'm beginning to slow down a bit," she was forced to admit. "It's disappointing because I've always been fast on my feet. At the same time I'm lucky to still be playing – a lot of people aren't able to at my age."

It was never in doubt that Illingworth, who has now been playing competitive tennis for 67 years, would pick up a racquet as a youngster. Her whole family was tennis mad, but she could never have imagined the success she would have.

Illingworth played at Wimbledon six times; in 1953 and 54, before breaking off to get married and have children, and again between 1961 and 1965.
"Just playing at Wimbledon was such a thrill," she said. "Mind you there wasn't the money back then that there is now. I got to the semis of the doubles in that first year, that was my best performance. It was tough, even in those days, when it really was amateur compared to now.
"I once got through a round in the singles, but my problem was I always seemed to come up against the top seeds!"

She also has fond memories of getting the better of 1977's Wimbledon champion.

"I once beat Virginia Wade. She was only 17 at the time, but I still beat her."
Unsurprisingly, in a tennis career that has seen her play grand slams, beat greats, travel the world, possibly set a record as the longest serving county player – 32 years playing for Nottinghamshire – and win numerous titles, Illingworth has some interesting views on the game she loves.
One thing she can't stand are the on court histrionics of the modern players, thankfully something rarely seen in the veteran game.

"My favourite modern player is Kim Clijsters. She behaves so well.

"There's none of this grunting and groaning, or the fist coming up. I don't like that sort of thing. As for the men, Roger Federer is my favourite. Once again he behaves so well and is such a nice chap."

And what about British hopes?

"Tennis is a funny game," she said. "You have to be fit, but you also have to have it up here in the head. That's where a lot of our Brits fall down. There's also a lot of hard work and training that needs to be done. Not many people want to do that."

Future tennis stars from these shores could learn a lot from Ruth Illingworth.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 2013, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Ruth Illingworth was the winner of the British Tennis Veteran of the Year Award. Ruth has enjoyed a prosperous 2010, which culminated in her winning two silver medals in as many weeks in the Women’s 75 category at both the ITF Super-Series World Individual and Team Championships in Turkey last month.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2013, 01:03 AM
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Huge honour for Illingworth
Kent & Sussex Courier
Tunbridge Wells, England
Friday, November 12, 2010

A 79-YEAR-OLD grandmother from Tunbridge Wells has been named Veteran Player of the Year at the 2010 British Tennis Awards.

Ruth Illingworth, who has played the game for 67 years, collected her award from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) at the National Tennis Centre in London.

It caps another fine year for the Nottingham-born player that saw her reach the final of the 75 age group at the Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Turkey.

On receiving her award, Ruth said: "I was very surprised and honoured to have won this award. It's great to be recognised as I am coming towards the end of my tennis career now.

"Turkey was a good experience. We were beaten by a very strong American team in the end, but it was great to come away with the result we did."

Illingworth has twice been a world champion in vets tennis at the ages of 70 and 75, and has three children and eight grandchildren who also play the game.

LTA Chief Executive Roger Draper said: "This award is richly deserved by Ruth who, along with the rest of the British team, did us proud in Turkey at the Worlds.

"Ruth is proof that tennis is most definitely a lifelong sport that can be enjoyed by anybody, regardless of age. I really hope that Ruth can continue to enjoy her tennis for many more years to come."

Other winners at the British Tennis Awards were Andy Murray, who won AEGON Player of the Year, and Laura Robson, who picked up the AEGON Junior Player of the Year title.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2013, 01:08 AM
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Rather spunky, these seniors.

Tennis: Ruth off to serve in Australia
Essex County Publications
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Brought to you by the Essex Chronicle

Ruth Illingworth, a member at the Gidea Park Tennis Club, travels to Australia next week to compete in the World Veteran Team Championships.

She represents Great Britain in the Over 70's event which is named after the American star Althea Gibson.

Illingworth is part of the four strong team which competes in Melbourne, and play starts a week on Saturday. Then the veteran action moves to Perth for the World Individual Championships.

Ruth holds the Ladies Over 70 doubles title from the recent National Indoor Veteran Championships.

She was runner-up in the singles and her clubmate Laurie Ekers was runner-up in the men's over 75 singles.

While these stalwarts are keen to show how they can still play, another Gidea Park player Tom Higgins is still proving himself, as hereached the quarter finals of the latest Girobank Tour event.

His world ranking gave him a seeded position in the draw and he beat Barry Hewer (Surrey) 6-2, 6-2 before losing to James Smith (Northants) in three sets.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2013, 01:11 AM
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

There are a few other "results" type of articles, but I don't know if they would be of use.

The Post-Standard
Syracuse, NY
Thursday, May 14, 1998

Lee Burling of Oswego lost a hard-fought second singles match to Great Britian's Ruth Illingworth 6-4, 7-6 as the U.S. Senior Women's tennis team took second place in the Kitty Godfree Cup in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on May 3.

The U.S. team, which is for senior women 65 and over, finished second overall to Great Britian, 2-1, in the finals of the Godfree Cup. The event, held at the Lauderdale Tennis Club, was one of 10 International Tennis Federation Veteran Team competitions played during the week.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2013, 01:14 AM
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Life begins at 40 for the veterans - Tennis
The Times
London, England
Monday, March 20, 1989
Rex Bellamy, Tennis Correspondent

Geoff Paish, Shirley Brasher and Roger Taylor, representing succeeding eras in which British tennis commanded more international respect than it does now, won three of the singles titles in the 11-event British veterans' indoor championships, sponsored by Anglia Secure Homes, at the Surrey Tennis and Country Club, Wallington, yesterday.

The sponsor is investing Pounds 30,000, spread over three years, in this increasingly popular event. Looking after post-infants as well as pre-geriatrics, Anglia also backs East regional competitions for players in the 10 and 12 age groups.

Paish, Tony Mottram's Davis Cup partner from 1947 to 1955, beat Jim Malcolm by 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the 65-and-over final. Paish did not find Malcolm's game easy to read but at times this tactically instructive match suggested that, in this age group, some players are warming up while others are tiring.

Brasher, who played Wightman Cup tennis from 1955 to 1960 and was twice in the winning team (rare, among British players), took the women's 50-and-over title with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Ruth Illingworth, who played better than the score suggests.

Brasher was irked because the rules permitted her to play in only one singles event ("That's symptomatic of British tennis"). The 40-and-over title went to a former Rhodesian Federation Cup player, Jenny Waggott, who lost the first five games but as if switched on by her husband's tardy arrival then played so well that she won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Jacky Boothman, who beat her in the 1988 final.

Taylor played 41 Davis Cup matches from 1964 to 1976 and still looks much the man he did then. Often raising images of Gulliver in Lilliput, he retained the men's 45-and-over title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Peter Worrall, who had practised with Brasher and, for a while, looked all the better for it. Taylor's prize, Pounds 400, was exactly half the sum he received in 1970 for reaching the second of his three Wimbledon semi-finals. Veterans' tennis has become a profitable business.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ruth Illingworth

Thank you Mrs A!

Ruth is the perfect example of the adage, "Tennis is a sport for a lifetime."
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