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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Hassell preparing for her 60th Framlingham Tennis Tournament

PUBLISHED: 10:51 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:00 01 August 2018

Joan Hassell, left, with Yvonne Durham (nee Grimwade) after Joan won the Suffolk Ladies Singles at Framlingham in 1967. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Joan Hassell, left, with Yvonne Durham (nee Grimwade) after Joan won the Suffolk Ladies Singles at Framlingham in 1967. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Suffolk tennis legend Joan Hassell is preparing for her 60th Framlingham tournament. Oh, and she also happens to be a world champion. Terry Hunt talked to her ahead of the 2018 event, which runs next week

Jez Cowley in action at  the Framlingham Tennis Tournament in 2017.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJez Cowley in action at the Framlingham Tennis Tournament in 2017. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Do you know Suffolk has a tennis world champion? I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I didn’t - until I met the remarkable Joan Hassell.

I chatted to 77-year-old Joan about her 60th appearance at the Framlingham Tennis Tournament, which takes place next week.

That is extraordinary enough, but when Joan casually mentioned in conversation that she had also held a world title, I had to find out just a little more about that!

It happened three years ago, when Joan was 75, and she and her partner won their age group ladies doubles in the Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Croatia.

Framlingham Tennis Tournament is one of the oldest in the country. Picture: GREGG BROWNFramlingham Tennis Tournament is one of the oldest in the country. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It is an achievement which Joan singles out as the highlight of her long and highly successful tennis career. Her first trophy came at the Felixstowe tournament, when she won the under-15 title.

But let’s focus on the Framlingham Tennis Tournament, where it’s no exaggeration to describe Joan as a legend. This will be her 60th appearance at what is Britain’s second longest established tennis event, after a low-profile tournament called Wimbledon.

In six decades of competing at Framlingham, she has won the Suffolk Singles ladies’ title no fewer than eight times, the ladies’ doubles eight times, and the open event twice. A formidable record!

Even in her late 70s, she’s still winning trophies at Framlingham, capturing the over-40s mixed doubles last year with her son-in-law, Nicky Giles.

Katie Tassell in action at Framlingham last year. Picture: NIGE BROWNKatie Tassell in action at Framlingham last year. Picture: NIGE BROWN

So what makes Framlingham so special? “There are lots of reasons,” says Joan, who lives near Ipswich, “It’s very friendly, and attracts people from all walks of life from all over the county and beyond.

“People come along and they all get on. It is as much a social event as a tennis tournament! Then there’s the beautiful setting (the tournament takes place at Framlingham College) and the facilities improve every year.”

Joan’s three grandchildren go to the tournament, and a quote from one of them summed up how they feel about the tournament: “I don’t want Framlingham to ever end.”

Mark Heath, Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back to discuss the latest goings on at Ipswich Town.

Paul Hurst has been impressed with the form of goalkeeper Dean Gerken since the 33-year-old was brought into the side in place of Bartosz Bialkowski.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst admits he’s frustrated at the repeated injury set-backs being suffered by creative midfield duo Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop.

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and manager Paul Hurst met on Tuesday prior to the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Brentford.

Ipswich Town’s potential move for free agent central defender James Collins is ‘dead and buried now’ according to manager Paul Hurst.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst will speak to the media at 1.30pm ahead of the weekend visit of Bolton Wanderers.

Luke Woolfenden wants to use his loan at League Two Swindon to help secure a place in the Ipswich Town side for the start of next season.

In our new daily feature, we take a look at what happened on this day in Ipswich Town history

Kayden Jackson is hoping his goal in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Brentford is the first of many as he continues to get to grips with the challenge of the Championship.

One of Ipswich Town’s greatest ever players was honoured with a testimonial match at Portman Road in 1982 for his service for the football club

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