Tennis ace Frances Candy has struck gold in a global team championship for the first time.
The St Leonards-based talent was part of the Great Britain squad which won the Alice Marble Cup for over-60 women at the 2014 Super-Seniors World Team Championships.
“I’m absolutely on top of the world,” said Candy, who helped Great Britain finish runners-up in the Maureen Connolly Cup for over-55 women at the ITF Seniors World Team Championships for each of the previous three years.
The 16 competing countries on the clay courts of Antalya, Turkey, were split into four groups of four with the winners of each advancing to the semi-finals.
Great Britain topped group B with three wins out of three. They began with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Poland in which Candy won the number one singles match against Teresa Stochel 6-0, 6-1.
That was followed by another 3-0 success against Argentina. Candy whitewashed Marta Gorosito 6-0, 6-0 in the singles and teamed up with Pauline Fisher to clinch the doubles 6-2, 6-1.
Great Britain edged out Germany 2-1 in their final group match. Candy outgunned Susanne Schweda 6-1, 6-4 in the singles and again joined forces with Fisher to take the doubles 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
That put second seeds Great Britain through to the semi-finals against The Netherlands and Candy saw off Nora Blom - the world number one for that age group - 7-5, 6-4 to help set up a 3-0 victory.
Great Britain got off to a great start in the final against the United States with Sally Freeman winning the number two singles rubber.
Candy suffered her first defeat of the event with a 5-7, 2-6 loss to Tina Karwasky having led 5-2 and 30-0 in the opening set, and didn’t play in the deciding doubles because of a tight muscle which was affecting her movement.
But Fisher and Freeman came up trumps by winning the doubles 6-4 in the final set to seal a 2-1 victory and Great Britain’s first victory in the event for a decade.
Candy wasn’t just content with team success, though, because she went on to win two bronze medals in the following week’s 34th ITF Super-Seniors World Individual Championships 2014 at the same venue.
The Rye LTC head coach reached the semi-finals of the over-60 women’s doubles alongside Fisher and mixed doubles with Japanese player Yoshio Hotta.
In the women’s doubles, second seeds Candy and Fisher won two matches in straight sets, one of which was against the number five seeds, but had to scratch from their weather-delayed semi-final as Candy had to return home.
Hotta visited Hastings around 45 years ago as a student and played at The Green LTC, where Candy was at the time. He recognised Candy’s name from that time and emailed her asking if she would be willing to play with him in the mixed.
They duly struck up quite a partnership, winning four matches in straight sets, two of which were against the fourth and sixth seeds, before bowing out in the semi-finals.
Candy was given a wildcard into the over-60 women’s singles and was seeded eighth on account of her results in the team event. After a first round bye, Candy won two matches for the loss of just three games.
She trailed 4-6, 1-1 in her quarter-final against fourth seed Adrienne Avis (Australia) when a hurricane swept through Antalya and by the time play was due to resume the following day, Candy had picked up a bug and was forced to withdraw.