Still loving the game at 86

Jean Stevens is not slowing down.

She can hit those top spin forehands like another veteran left hander.

However, Rafa Nadal is just a spring chicken compared with her.

Stevens, who is 86, was named New Zealand women’s senior player of the year in the national tennis awards handed out last week.

Stevens won it for her deeds in Umag, Croatia, in late 2019 when she won her singles grade and also her mixed doubles at the World Teams Tournament in the 85 years plus grade.

With 2020 being a write-off she did more than enough to win the award. It was the first time she has won it and was thrilled with the honour.

Stevens still plays three times a week at least and simply loves the game.

Dunedin tennis player Jean Stevens with the tools of her trade at the St Clair Tennis Club courts...
Dunedin tennis player Jean Stevens with the tools of her trade at the St Clair Tennis Club courts yesterday.PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

"I don’t think I’m getting better with age but I’m still playing and still love it," she said.


She started when she was 5 and never stopped. She represented Otago when she was a young adult but was never top ranked.

Most of those whom she played with were no longer playing but she never missed the opportunity to get on the court.

She was a real fan of doubles so had a good volley.

The mother of four boys, grandmother and great-grandmother had no intention of giving up the game, although she would probably not

attend this year’s teams tournament, also in Croatia.

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