A BOURNEMOUTH tennis star believes fate propelled her to winning Senior Female Player of the Year at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards, presented by Lexus.

Pauline Fisher, who is originally from Wallasey, claimed the award at a ceremony held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

She was recognised for a sterling year of results that included gold at the ITF Masters World Individual Championships.

“I am really pleased,” the former PE teacher said.

“Last year just fell into place, I had incredibly good fortune with other people’s injuries and them dropping out, but I did play well. 

“So I’m very proud to have achieved what I did.

“It is fantastic to play for Great Britain, the opportunities that I have had, I would never have imagined it when I was an eight-year-old or a 16-year-old because I never played professionally.

“I just played as an amateur and to think that I could play for Great Britain for over 25 years is amazing.”

The annual LTA Tennis Awards, presented by Lexus, highlight and celebrate the incredible achievements and contributions of people in tennis across Britain.

First launched in 2015 with the help of former LTA president Cathie Sabin OBE, they recognise the vital work of volunteers, coaches, officials, and players dedicating their precious time and energy to the continual development and growth of the sport.

Over the past nine years, the awards have illustrated the depth of service and talent within the tennis community and serve as an inspiration to others to get involved in the game.   

The winners, selected from more than 2,200 nominations across 16 different categories, have all been acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to tennis in 2023.

Gold at the World Championships in the women’s singles 70s category saw her defeating the long-standing world number one in the final and claim the number one ranking.

And she enjoyed more success earlier in the year with a silver medal at the ITF Masters World Team Championships.

Fisher added: “I started at the age of eight with three volunteers who used to just hit the ball to us juniors on a Wednesday night doing it for free 64 years ago, which is just scary!

“From then on I played tournaments in the local area on Merseyside and then I got into county tennis in in Cheshire and I moved and still played county tennis for Hereford and Worcester.

“And I then started representing Great Britain when I was 44 and I have just been able to keep going, I’ve been lucky.

“Age-group tennis is fantastic because every five years there is a new age group and you are only competing against people in your age group with similar strength and everybody slows down, but it goes right up to 90 and 95, and if I am still playing then, brilliant!”

LTA President Sandi Procter said: “The ceremony has been a tremendous celebration of the people that make our sport so special. 

“I have always been passionate about the grassroots and the awards are our way of highlighting the extraordinary contribution of the individuals and venues that help us open tennis up bringing new players and fans to the game.’’

The annual LTA Tennis Awards, presented by Lexus.