Enniskillen tennis coach Matthew McGann is heading to Florida this month to represent Ireland at the World Team Championship. The competition includes several former top ten players with top former doubles player Jeff Tarango and former French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors among the opposition, and Matthew cannot wait to take to the court as one of four Ireland players in the Over 40s category, before he plays in the individual tournament a week later.

“I’m excited. It will be amazing to be part of the experience,” said Matthew. “This is the biggest tournament I will have competed in by some distance. I’ve never competed outside Ireland before. It’s just incredible to play a world event in whatever category. These tournaments have 100s of teams in it, and this is supposed to be the biggest one ever. It will be amazing to be part of that atmosphere. It’s just amazing to be playing the team event alongside some of the world’s top players.” The team competition is run in a format similar to the Davis Cup with one doubles match and two singles matches, with four men and four women in each age category. Matthew earned his place after a season of success, culminating in victory in the Ulster Senior title last month. He is hoping he can maintain his good form, although he has not set himself any targets for the competition.

“I’m playing ok at the moment,” he acknowledged. “A couple of weeks ago I won the Ulster senior title in the over 40s so that was a good practice tournament. The competition is going to be difficult and I have no expectations about how I’m going to get on.” Matthew will have to contend with not only the Florida heat but also a slower clay court, but he is putting in extra training to get himself well prepared. “I’m trying to do some extra training, but maybe not as much as I should,” he admitted. “The surface I’m playing on in Florida is called green clay and there are only two courts in Ireland that have green clay and they are both in Dublin. I did get to do a bit of training over the weekend but over the next couple of weeks it is about keeping up my normal training and getting as much hitting as I possibly can. It’ll be tough enough to adapt because even playing on the green clay here in damp and cold weather mean it will not react the same as it would in Florida where at the moment it is about mid 20s. We arrive three days before the tournament starts and we will get some practice out there.” The team tournament runs from April 21-26 with the individual competition taking place from April 27 to May 4.