Roy Edmonds: Have tennis stars (and amateurs) gone too far with their dress code these days?

'Half-a-dozen young lady members of Poultons Moorland club, in 1974, all dressed charmingly in fashionably short, white tennis skirts or shorts, holding wooden Dunlop-Maxply racquets and ready at the net for a fresh season.'
'Half-a-dozen young lady members of Poultons Moorland club, in 1974, all dressed charmingly in fashionably short, white tennis skirts or shorts, holding wooden Dunlop-Maxply racquets and ready at the net for a fresh season.'
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It’s a shock, though also delightful, when black-and-white archive pictures from this newspaper’s Memory Lane section show people you know now – as they were 40-odd years ago.

So it was last Friday for me and other keen players, as The Gazette served up sporting memories from the last century of Fylde’s proud tradition of tennis clubs.

Apart from at Wimbledon, anything goes as regards sports outfits. However, it seems some notables have gone too far...

Apart from at Wimbledon, anything goes as regards sports outfits. However, it seems some notables have gone too far...

The front cover showed half-a-dozen young lady members of Poulton’s Moorland club, in 1974, all dressed charmingly in fashionably short, white tennis skirts or shorts, holding wooden Dunlop-Maxply racquets and ready at the net for a fresh season.

Inside was a spread of sepia memories from Thornton, Blackpool, South Shore, St Annes and Lytham clubs, along with a professional exhibition in the 1950s at Blackpool Cricket Club, featuring world number-one Jack Kramer of the States.

There were a few players (then with long, dark sideburns amongst the men) who are still gracing our courts today; plus shots of clubs now gone, like North Drive, in St Annes, and Blackpool at Marton Institute – where the once excellent shale courts hold vivid memories for many of us.

I’ll be carrying the archive pictures around in my tennis bag for a while, should any veteran players have missed their publication. In my head I also hold memories of many happy years playing tennis here on the coast.

The game brought me together with my wife and also still gives me many friendships and healthy, happy outings. You should try it if you haven’t already! Our local sports clubs are still great places to socialise and for families to enjoy together.

I also remember the last time I wielded a wooden racquet – when winning St Annes’ Club’s centennial tournament at the Millennium. (It was a handicap event and they’d been generous with me!)

Perhaps there will be pictures of that, too, in another 50 years.

For Roy’s books go to royedmonds-blackpool.com, Kindle or Waterstones.

Just time before the summer season ends to squeeze in another tennis tale. Last week I commented on sepia pictures in this paper showing the game played on the Fylde during the last century. How smart everyone looked, fresh and sporting in ‘whites’!

Now, apart from at Wimbledon, anything goes as regards sports outfits. However, it seems some notables have gone too far. Serena Williams, a favourite TV performer for us at Edmonds Towers, has been banned from again wearing her black catsuit at the French Open. The tournament is to introduce a stricter dress code.

Serena (pictured) herself said the outfit gave her confidence so soon after childbirth and made her feel like a ‘superhero’, particularly easing her worries about blood clots which had troubled her. Mind you, we vividly recall her wearing an even more sensational catsuit years before.

Perhaps it’s time that local clubs should rule along similar lines – and, for example, ban leggings. These, no doubt, keep the limbs warm in cold weather (as tracksuits do) but, unless worn with accompanying skirts, are skin-tight and revealing.

We’ve also seen some younger girl players in shorts so tiny many onlookers wondered if they had forgotten their skirts, being reduced to exposing themselves in underwear. After all, tennis isn’t competing with beach volley ball to attract more male spectators!

How would those older ladies, who feel the cold most, react if us veteran men started wearing such leggings too? Anyone remember comedian Max Wall? We shudder at the thought!

Then we could also rule that men should not wear floppy shorts – also unpleasantly revealing when sitting down. Or, indeed, skirts shouldn’t be so short as to expose knickers when serving or picking up balls . . .

Well, it would be a brave committee member who proposed such, so I better finish there – at Love All.

For Roy’s books go to royedmonds-blackpool.com, Kindle or Waterstones.