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Grandmas, 87 And 89, Unexpectedly In Doubles Final At Wimbledon

Liz overcame a triple heart bypass, and Zovita broke both wrists, but they are still traveling for the over 85s final.

Meet the 89-year-old great grandma and her 87-year-old tennis partner who have unexpectedly found themselves in the doubles final at Wimbledon.

Zovita Moon, 89, and Liz Simmons, 87, have only been playing as a duo for two weeks and six games.

But despite Zovita breaking both wrists and Liz overcoming a quadruple heart bypass, they are heading to the All England Club on Saturday for the over 85s final.

Grandma of 12 Zovita, who is preparing for her 90th birthday, said she’s nervous but excited about taking to the court with her friend from Limpsfield Tennis Club.

Liz, grandma of seven, a former county player and retired secretary puts their skills on the court down to the odd glass of wine – or cup of tea – they have after practice.

Having been paired up by Zovita’s daughter, the pair applied for the doubles tournament expecting to have to battle through the heats.

But there are so few competing members of the Lawn Tennis Association who are over 85, they were fast tracked straight to the finals at the British Masters Closed Grass Court Championships on Saturday.

Zovita, a widow, from Oxted, Surrey, said: “I’m nearly 90 and I’m just playing tennis – I just play two or three times a week with my friends.

“I just enjoy being out there and it gets me out the house.

“My husband died six years ago and it’s very easy when you’re on your own not to go out.

“I suppose [playing at Wimbledon] is quite a cool thing to do – this is a one off and I’m going to go there and enjoy myself and I just hope I don’t get too nervous, and I hope I hit the ball.

“I’ve never had any coaching and now it would be much too late to have any.”

Liz, also from Oxted, added: “I thought this year I would like to get back into some competitive tennis – I enjoy that more than a friendly knockabout.

“I was looking for a partner and Zovita’s daughter heard I was doing this and said Zovita would love to join in.

“We get on well and enjoy playing together – we just want to see how we can do.”

Liz Simmons 87 with her tennis partner Zovita Moon 89, they are playing a doubles tennis tournament on Saturday at Wimbledon. TONY KERSHAW/SWNS

Zovita, who used to work in HR, first joined Limpsfield Tennis Club in her late 30s in 1971, where she made good friends.

Following retirement in 1998 she started playing more regularly to keep active and social.

Despite being two months away from 90, Zovita says she thinks more older people should play tennis – saying if someone can hold a racket then they can go out and enjoy the sport.

She puts her good health down to eating well, drinking wine and not smoking.

And says despite breaking both wrists three years ago which left her unable to play until she had recovered, she’s never had a knee or hip replacement.

Now she believes she is the oldest female player at the club and says she enjoys seeing her friends and going out for a coffee or a glass of wine after a match.

She says her doubles partner Liz is a “steady and competitive player”- but that she’ll just be there to enjoy herself.

Liz – who’s been married to husband Brian since 1965 – grew up playing tennis after her family moved to a house with a tennis court when she was a teenager.

She went on to play at county level and played for different teams and clubs before putting her love for tennis on hold to work.

After she retired from secretarial work she picked up the racket again and went on to captain several teams and train as a tennis coach.

However her tennis career was put on hold while she underwent a quadruple bypass eight years ago, as well as having a pacemaker fitted last year.

But now she’s playing again and says despite the pair training for the doubles final, she’s tried not to overdo it.

Zovita, who has one great-grandchild, 12 grandchildren and four children, said: “I eat well, I have a good diet, I drink wine, I don’t smoke – maybe that helps I don’t know, it’s just nice being out and being social.

“Limpsfield Tennis Club is a very nice club and everyone’s very friendly – we have coffee and a glass of wine afterwards and it just gets me out the house.

“I’m petrified but my daughter says I will love it, she says ‘how many people your age can say they’ve been played at Wimbledon’.

“Liz was a county player and her and her partner won the over-75s when they played a few years ago.

“She’s really looking forward to it, I hope we’ll have a good time together – until last week I’d never played with her.

“I wouldn’t want to let her down as she’s a steady player and competitive and I’m not very competitive, I just go out there to enjoy myself.”

Liz Simmons 87 with her tennis partner Zovita Moon 89, they are playing a doubles tennis tournament on Saturday at Wimbledon. PIX/SWNS

Liz said: “Over the last couple of weeks we’ve played together six times.

“We’ve tried to play a lot more tennis to prepare but that’s it really – I’ve tried not to overdo it.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played competitive tennis – I’ll do a stretching routine before and be careful when I eat, and make sure I’m well hydrated.

“You have to familiarise yourself with everything that you can before the day as you don’t want anything to distract your attention.

“I was unable to play for a number of years due to heart problems – I had a quadruple bypass, stent and pacemaker.

“But I’ve started playing again and now I play three times a week.”

The Lawn Tennis Association hosts the British Masters Closed Grass Court Championships annually, which this year are taking place between 13-20 August.

Liz says she’s previously made it to the LTA finals and won the indoor winter competition for over 75s.

But despite making it to the grass courts finals before, she’s never won at Wimbledon and hopes this year will be the year.


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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