My MPTA Story - Jan Miles
1. Where did you grow up and what are some of your earliest memories of playing tennis?
I actually was born in Scotland and lived there until I was 14, then my family moved to Australia and this is where I first played tennis.
I played with some friends that I worked with and as I had never played tennis before it was a learning experience for me. We made a team and I was about 17 when we did this, don’t think from memory that we were much good but we had fun.
2. What were some of the highlights of your junior career and at what age did you start playing in the senior ranks?
I never ever played Junior tennis in Scotland, had a racket but we just hit balls in the street back then, could not afford lessons lol and as I said I started Senior Tennis at 17 in Ballarat
3. You have played senior tennis since 1971, what are some of your greatest highlights as a player?
Joined Mt Prospect Tennis Association in 1971 when I was married and we bought a house in Kingston where I played with the Kingston Tennis Club for many years.
Highlights were the great people I played with and the Premierships that we won, unfortunately I cannot remember all of those but there were quite a few in different grades. Loved competing in Country Week for Mt Prospect which was held in Ballarat, in those days, we won a number of premierships there also.
4. How would you describe yourself as a tennis player?
As a tennis player I am just average but I hate to give up so will chase as many balls as I can, slowing down a lot now of course but still hate to give up.
5. Who are the best five players you’ve seen play during your time with MPTA?
Is difficult to say who the best five players are, I guess Jan Hives would be one, Beth Huntley another and there were a number of good male players around in those days also.
6. Tell us about your involvement with the Kingston tennis club and some of your favourite memories.
The Kingston club was a very strong club in those early days I think from memory we fielded about seven teams in different grades.
7. Which of accomplishments are you most proud of during your nineteen years as MPTA Secretary?
I enjoyed being Secretary of Mt Prospect Tennis Association, it was a strong Association and we were all volunteers trying our best to make the Association better.
We ran Tournaments where there were people from all over the state entered although I think I was assistant Sec when the last one was held and Joan Lindsay was Secretary and she was brilliant!
8. You worked alongside Bill Cosgrove, David McKay, Pat Gilchrist and Mick Kennedy, can you tell us briefly a little about each of these people?
All these that I worked alongside have been really great for the Association and always were looking for ways to improve our facilities there. All easy to work with.
9. Can you describe just how popular tennis was during the 1970s-1980s and do you have any thoughts as to the decline in participation in the last couple of decades?
During the 70's and 80's tennis was very popular over all grades and there was a few different grades those days. Lots of young families were around and there were kids everywhere.
I think the fact that women now tend to work and prefer to have their weekends at home catching up with everything else, young teenagers tend to find part time work and it is generally weekend also.
There are also indoor courts where you can go and play at any time of the day for a couple of hours and then go home has contributed to the decline in women playing.
10. The clubhouse has played an important role with the social aspect of the Association, what can you tell us about some of the activities that have been held there over the years?
Oh my goodness there were many different activities held in the clubrooms, Saturday's after tennis the clubrooms were full with groups sitting around having a talk and a drink.
I remember that we used to have what they called boat races...there were two teams of maybe four or five in a team and they would be lined up one after the other all with a drink in their hands.
There was a starter and when they called go...the first in line had to scull his drink and then put his empty glass on his head to show it was finished then the second in line had to do the same....and on it went to see who finished first.
Another was how to shoot a can... you had a can of beer (was cans in those days) punch a hole in the bottom and try and drink it as it was fizzing out and not lose too much lol.....think those games would not be politically correct these days but back then they were a good laugh.
They also played carpet bowls in the clubrooms and that was fun also. We used to hire out the venue for different activities also...I remember going to Zumba there myself.
11. Matches are decided by games won rather than sets at MPTA, has this always been the case and what is the reason for this?
I started playing at Mt Prospect in the 70's and are far back as I remember the scores were always decided by games because it made every single game that you played very important.
I know there is a feeling now that they would rather have it decided on sets but I still like the game decision.
12. Can you tell us about some of the tournaments you helped organise for MPTA over the years and just how big they were?
We have had some very big tournaments at Mt Prospect over the years, probably some of the biggest were when Joan Lindsay was the Secretary, she did a wonderful job of those.
I know there were really huge Easter Tournaments held there and people came from far and wide to play in them. I was mainly just involved with the club tournaments.
13. What does the MPTA need to focus on in the years ahead to prosper?
I am not sure how we can encourage more people/juniors to play on Saturdays for the previous reasons I have stated.
Would be great to have eight teams in all grades again like we used to even when we had B grade and C grade.
14. What advice do you have for people wanting to become involved MPTA?
I would love people to put their hand up and get really involved with the Association and bring new ideas into it, am sure some people would have some fantastic ideas that might help the Association to grow again. It’s not a hard job but many do not want to commit these days.
15. What is the best piece of advice you have for the young children taking up tennis today?
Hmmm best piece of advice for young people…I guess to just enjoy themselves, it’s a great sport and can be a team sport which I think is great for kids to be involved in and provides opportunities for meeting lots of others who have an interest in the sport also.