Enniskillen player Matthew McGann thoroughly enjoyed the experience of representing Ireland at the World Seniors Team and Individual Tennis Championships in Florida recently.

McGann was part of the Ireland Over 40s team that claimed a 12th place finish in the tournament and he also performed well in the Individual Championships before being knocked out by the number 7 seed.

“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “It is the second biggest tennis event in the world and to be surrounded by so many tennis players was just incredible.” The tournament started with team section round robin groups.

Ireland were in a group with India and Austria and faced India first on the Monday. They beat them without any problems, 3-0.

The next day they faced an Austrian team that included two ex-pro players.

The Austrian number 1 was Werner Eschauer who had reached a career high of 52 on the ATP tour and although Matthew missed out on facing Eschauer, he did have a tough task against their number 2, Gerald Mandl, the 6’3” player who had a career high of 186 in the world. Ireland lost 2-1 but as they finished second in their group they were in the top half of the play-offs. Austria went on to win the entire event in the 40’s, the Tony Trabert Cup.

On the Thursday, Ireland were to play Switzerland for a finishing place of 8th-11th. Matthew played doubles again and although they won that match Ireland lost 2-1. This loss dropped them into a play-off for 12th and 13th place.

After a day off, Ireland faced their last matches when they played Mexico. The Mexicans played their number 1, Ricardo Langre, against Matthew who was a little bigger than expected! However, Ireland performed wel and won 2-1 which left them with their highest finish ever, 12th out of 23.

Matthew didn’t get any rest as the next day he had his first singles match in the Individual Championships.

His opponent was an American wild card named Anthony Cottone. It was a very tight match that lasted over 2 and 1/2 hours during the intense heat of the day but it was Matthew who finally won it 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

He didn’t have much time to celebrate his achievement though as the very next day he faced Morgan Young from Australia, world ranked number 25 and seeded 7.

Matthew just couldn’t catch a break against Morgan who was another guy over 6 feet tall. Matthew did put up a hard fight but lost it 6-2, 6-3.

Due to Matthew’s hard work he has now gained world ranking points. Enniskillen’s Head Coach is now ranked 530 out of over 1,000 in the world in the mens over 40’s and in the same category ranked 366 in the world doubles which is a great achievement. And he would like to make it back to the tournament.

“As I said, it was a wonderful experience so the plan would be to get back to compete in it again,” he added.

Matthew and the Ireland team also had the chance to meet a couple of the bigest names in womens tennis in the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.

“It was just lucky that our event was held at their club and they happened to be their training at the time which was brilliant,” commented Matthew.

Matthew concluded by thanking everybody who gave their time, energy and money to send him to the World Seniors Championships 2014.