The Bristol woman who became a Wimbledon champion at 85-years-old

Mary Walkerdine
Mary Walkerdine is still playing tennis at the age of 85.

A woman from Bristol, who became a Wimbledon champion at the age of 85, says she wants to encourage others to stay active and continue playing sport as they get older.

Mary Walkerdine is no stranger to success on the court but last summer, she reached new heights.

In August, she travelled to Wimbledon to compete at the British Seniors Closed Court Championships and scooped the title.

Mary told ITV News her love affair with the sport started a long time ago, and remembers hitting a tennis ball against the outside of her family home In Liskeard, Cornwall, when she was a child.

She then moved to Somerset and started playing competitively at school.

After moving to Bristol in 1956 she joined Knowle Tennis Club, a centre with which she has stayed ever since.

"I have been there for a long time and I am as keen now as I ever was," she said.

"I joined the club as a junior and I can assure you that I was not one of the best juniors at that point.

Mary says that she is not planning on retirement any time soon.

"It is something I have worked at, put a lot of hours in to it."

On her own win at the All England Tennis Club she says that it was a very special moment for her.

She does hope that it shows people that no matter what age they are it is never too late to compete or participate in the sports they love.

"It is a sport for everyone definitely," she said.

"It has changed the image completely, the most important thing for people to remember with sport is the friends you make whilst you are playing.

"It is good to stay in sport it is good for the social side. It means a lot to me, I am very keen on playing matches. I am not ready to stop competing just yet."

Mary is showing no signs of slowing down as she heads in to the next tennis season of 2024 either.

She has been selected to compete in Europe for Great Britain and is also hoping to go back to Wimbledon and defend her title.