Tennis courts

US champion Donna serves as lifeline for Cardigan tennis courts

A US-based tennis champion who learned the game in her hometown of Cardigan is offering to pay for the city’s courts to be renovated.

The now sadly neglected venue of Gwbert Road instilled in Donna Wyse a love for the sport and in 2018 she became USTA Over 50 Singles Champion in the United States where she now lives.

“Not bad for a Cardi girl!” she told the Tivy-Side this week.

But with Cardigan City Council having to prioritize its budget, the courts have fallen into disrepair and – as the town no longer has a club – are now largely unused, especially in winter.

Their surface has also been described as dangerous due to the loose gravel.

On a recent trip home with her family from Omaha, Nebraska, Donna was tricked into making her cash offer after being horrified by the state of the courts where — as young Donna Dunnett of Maesglas — she was first took the game under local coach Brian Lee.

“I walked past the courts and noticed they were a mess,” she said. “My Aunt Glenda said they were dirty and dangerous to play with.”

Ysgol’s former student Uwchradd Aberteifi started playing in her early teens.

“My friend and I practically lived on the grounds and even worked in a small shed charging people to play and provide equipment,” she recalls.

“I won the Ceredigion tournament and the Under-16 club and Brian took me, Hayley Stevens, Gaynor Spencer and Susan James under his wing.

“We ended up getting to the national final at Lilleshall National Sports Complex in 1983 I think, and I still have the photo that was in the Tivy-Side.”

After moving to University in London, Donna didn’t play seriously until she started working in her early twenties.

“Then I got married and lived in Germany so I was able to play more often, but it wasn’t until I moved to America 22 years ago that I started competing again,” she said.

“Having lived everywhere, tennis has been my escape and I have a lot of tennis friends all over the world.

“It’s such an amazing game, it keeps me in shape and is wonderful for your social life.

“So wherever I go on vacation or at work, I always grab my racquet and try to set up a game or strike with a coach.

“I would love to see Cardigan return to its heyday in the 1980s with a coach and youth programs to get them into the game.

“Before, I loved club tournaments – young and old played against each other, then we had an awards night at the rugby club!

“I’m happy to do anything to contribute and even though I’m ‘over the pond’ I would love to help in any way I can.”

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