TRAINING PARTNERS: Margaret Fisher and
TRAINING PARTNERS: Margaret Fisher and "coach” Leo.

Margaret eyes the big prize at world seniors championship

MARGARET Fisher has her eyes on the big prize - finally winning gold in the singles championships for Australia at the World Super Seniors Tennis Championships in Croatia in starting late September.

As there are no public sponsorship funds available for elite elderly athletes, the 88-year-old pensioner, Byron Shire's 2018 citizen of the year, is currently crowdfunding to make the journey.

She'd like to defend both her over 85s mix doubles and women's doubles titles won last year in Florida.

But it's the big one she really wants now - the gold that has eluded the dual gold medallist for the past eight years - the world singles title.

"I'd love to have the triple," she laughed. "But it would be just nice to win the singles.

"I'm going to try my very, very, very best!"

And you can be sure she will give it a good go, after all Margaret doesn't do anything by halves nor is she one to give up no matter what gets in her way. This was spelled out clearly three years ago when she was knocked off the court by cancer. It was her level of fitness that provided her with medical options not usually available to elderly people and as a result she made a full recovery. Not only that, but the next year she was back playing world championship tennis and returned home from the titles in Croatia with the 2016 singles silver medal.

At 88 she is not only still playing tennis she is fitter now than she was at 80, 70 or even 60. At 80 she couldn't run to the net. At 88 she can run all over the court.

She plays five days a week against much younger opponents at Byron and can most weekends doing half an hour's serving practice each day with her trusty dog "coach" Leo jumping and catching her serves. The two are local celebrities around the Bay.

Margaret has always loved tennis "learning on Mr Kendall's 17 beautiful grass courts" as a young girl growing up in Albury on the NSW/Victorian border. The same courts that Margaret Court learned to play on.

In 1953 the then 23-year-old teacher went to London to play at Wimbledon.

"My father insisted I have a job to go to over there before I left," she said.

So Margaret taught, played tennis and saw London- it gave her a wanderlust she's never really lost (this forthcoming trip will be her third to Croatia).

However life, busy careers first in teaching and then at Parliament House in Canberra and raising four kids meant that for many years tennis took a back seat - with Margaret playing social games when she could.

Until eight years ago - on the eve of her eightieth birthday.

"My younger brother Ian was going to Turkey (for the World Titles), there were places in the team," she said.

"I think I got a bronze in the mixed doubles that year.

"Playing tennis again woke me up again, reminded me that life is to live - you forget that sometimes."

For more, go to pozible.com/project/88-gold.


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