Amongst the winners at the recent European Senior Championships in Pörtschach, was one of the ITF Senior Circuit’s most celebrated players, Carolyn Nichols.
Currently ranked world #1 in the women’s 60 & Over division, the American had a great fortnight at the Austrian resort, picking up a Grade A title at the Werzer Cup in week one before claiming gold at the first ever ‘open’ edition of the regional championships in week two, all for the loss of just five games. We caught up with her to find out more about life on the Senior Circuit.
Tell us about your background in tennis.
My father [also a former senior world #1] played seniors tennis. I watched him playing and that’s why I am playing. I do a lot of volunteer work for tennis. I have a tennis website and a blog. I wasn’t very good when I started but I worked very hard to get better. It takes a lot of time and passion.
How often do you play, and what is your fitness regime?
Back home I usually play about 6 days a week. I had a serious shoulder injury 2 years ago, so now I have to do a half an hour of exercises every day. Normally, I go to the gym about 3 times a week and the other days I do different things like biking or wind sprints.
You’re #1 in singles and doubles, and have won countless titles. What motivates you to keep playing?
I love the sport. I want to improve my tennis. The competition in the US is very strong and I want to make the US team.
How did you enjoy your experience here at the European Senior Championships?
Well, I have been to Pörtschach many times to play the Werzer Cup. It is the same place and organisation so there is a big similarity. It is a very beautiful area. It is the first regional championships I have played outside North America. It is very nice that this event was open in this year so players could combine two weeks of tennis. That was also the reason why I came over to play here.
Is there a good balance between camaraderie and competition on the Senior Circuit?
I am extremely competitive so I would say it’s very friendly here. After playing you go and have a drink and a chat with your opponent. I like it very much.
Have you noticed any differences between Senior Circuit events in the States and here in Europe?
They are very different in many ways. In my division, the competition is much stronger in the US. The doubles competition and the consolation are more important in US. The rankings are more important in Europe than in the US.
What has been your proudest moment in the sport?
When I won in the World Championships in 2015 in La Baule in France. I won the singles (for the first time) plus the doubles and team competitions.