Tributes to Ali 0

Joel Durston – club captain

I count myself very lucky to have known Ali, if only for a short time, and to have called him not only a teammate but a good friend. On the court, as well as being a good player, he played the game in great spirit – always congratulating good play rather criticising bad play. It’s a testament to what a friendly, upbeat guy he was, and he always had such a can-do attitude to life. I remember once he was saying he thought he could maybe beat John, probably the best player at the club, who he was due to play in the club tournament. As much as Ali was a good player, he played in – and captained – the 3rds, I just didn’t think this would happen and told him this. Such was his self-belief, we ended up putting a pint (I think) on whether he would get six games or more. In the end he lost 6-1, 6-1, but what shone through was his attitude. He accepted it, picked himself up and was immediately thinking how he’d beat him next time; illustrating just how determined he was. I learnt from his lovely widow Kasia, who came to his memorial tournament along with his sister and son, that Ali had set himself a similar quest to beat the best player at his previous club – and he did! I like to think he’s still somewhere out there, working on his game and plotting on how to beat John…

Filip Prodanovic – 3rd team captain

Just a small announcement that yesterday the Men’s 3rds team completed all the matches for the Summer season, and I’m delighted to say that we will be getting promoted into a new league for next summer season. This is also to say thank you to all players who turn up on a Sunday morning, and take time away from their wives and kids to play a bit of tennis. Also, I would like to remind everyone that the 3rd team was initially captained by our late mate Ali, with whom I have had pleasure to be partnered with for a couple of seasons, and just as the team became stronger and we started winning, Ali became ill. We will be celebrating and honouring Ali in our tournament which is soon to come in October, and this small success we should dedicate to his legacy and enthusiasm he showed for the great game of tennis!