Thomas is ready to lead GB team
FELICITY Thomas has been selected as captain of the Great Britain Over-70s women's team to play in the Super Seniors World Championships.
Thomas has played for the East Gloucestershire Club in Cheltenham for more than 40 years and for Gloucestershire since 1974.
She still plays for club and county seniors teams and first represented England in 1998.
Her first selection for Great Britain was ten years ago, when the tournament was held in Austria.
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She has won British singles titles in over-65s and over-70s and numerous British doubles championships, nine of which were with Janette Coulter of Scotland as her playing partner.
Though 2011 was Coulter's first selection for Great Britain, together they won bronze in last year's World Championships over-70s doubles.
Thomas said: "Sadly, Janette died suddenly in June after a setback in her rehabilitation and will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues on the veterans' circuit."
She will be joined by Jacky Boothman (Dorset), Jean Porter and Ruth Weston (both Surrey) in the team for the event in Croatia in September.
Weston represents Scotland and the others England.
Thomas expects the side to face tough opposition but that they have as strong a team as last year, when they won the bronze medal in Turkey.
It will be Boothman's first year in this age group and they will benefit from her expertise on clay.
All four players are currently in the world top-20 in both singles and doubles.
Thomas will also play singles and doubles in the individual championships the following week, when she will be partnered by Ruth Weston.
Together, they won a silver medal four years ago in Turkey.
As the championships have not been played in Croatia before, it may encourage a larger entry as Turkey has been used for a number of years and some players felt that a change was due.
Thomas is looking forward to the challenge and to renewing friendships with players from around the world.
Prior to the World Championships, Thomas will be one of the hundreds of seniors who will be competing in the Super Seniors National Veterans Grass Court Championships which are this year being staged at East Glos on August 6 to 11.
The event is normally held at Wimbledon but the All England Club will be in use for the Olympic tennis event so East Glos are gearing up for one of the biggest events they have ever hosted.
Thomas said: "It's a great honour for us to host the event and all the East Glos veterans are looking forward to being able to compete for national titles on our own courts."
Super Seniors are 60 and over, while the age groups from over-35 to over-55 will be playing at the North Oxford Club.