Frances Candy has scooped the top award in British seniors tennis.
The 60-year-old from St Leonards was named Aegon Seniors Player of the Year at the 2014 British Tennis Awards.
“It’s been my best year,” said Candy, who received the award at the 02 Arena last Friday and watched world number one Novak Djokovic playing in the ATP World Tour Finals. “I just want it to go on and on; I don’t want 2015 to come at all. I couldn’t ask for any more.”
The award tops off a year of career highs for Candy, whose strong performance started in January by taking the women’s 60 singles title at the British Open Indoor Championships.
Last month she won the 2014 Alice Marble Cup with the Great Britain women’s 60 team at the 2014 Super-Seniors World Team Championships, beating USA in the final.
Playing at number one, Candy won five successive singles matches, including a highly creditable win over Nora Blom, the Dutch number one.
Candy added: “Representing your country in the World Championships is so thrilling. We’ve won silver for the last two years and to get any medal when playing for your country is a huge achievement, but to finally beat the States this year and win gold feels fantastic!
“Seniors GB, the LTA and the team’s support has made it all possible, and this award just goes to show that as long as you don’t give up and strive for the best, you can achieve things you never imagined were possible.”
A regular British seniors team member, Candy was runner-up in the women’s 55 category at the 2010 ITF Seniors World Individual Championships in Mexico, and was a member of the team which won silver at the ITF Seniors World Team Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Lawn Tennis Association president Cathie Sabin said: “It’s been a tremendous year for tennis in Britain and people like Frances, with their passion, hard work and dedication, help continue to propel the sport forward.”
Candy started playing tennis at the age of six, and at the height of her GB rankings, was eighth at under-18 level and 18th at open level.
She has won around 20 national senior titles in singles and doubles, and has spent the last 15 years of her career as head coach at Rye Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.
Candy’s achievements this year have also earned her an award from the Sussex County LTA, which she was due to receive on Saturday, but was unable to attend so a friend took her place.