Rob and Joey's 12 Hour Tennis-A-Thon

25th September 2007

Two of the tennis volunteers endured the hot African Sun to play 12 hours of tennis at the National Sports College, Winneba on September 25th 2007 to raise money to send one of the best juniors for a scholarship in South Africa. Rob 'Posh Tom’ Sadler and Joe 'Joey’ Page played tennis non stop from 6am to 6pm for sponsors to contribute towards a plane ticket to Johannesburg to send Jeff Bagerbaseh, 14 to try out for a tennis scholarship.


Jeff could not afford the airfare himself, so tennis volunteers collectively donated $500 as Rob and Joe decided they wanted to undertake this challenge - Rob never having played tennis continuously for that amount of time before and Joe never having even played a competitive tennis match!

They had t-shirts especially made for the event and over the 12 hours of peanut butter sandwiches, drinking milo, chasing children who would steal the balls, Coach Noah shouting at them that they were crazy and with the pain of aching muscles and impressive blisters – they eventually prevailed.  



Rob and Joe played an impressive total of 26 sets of tennis, making $300 towards the ticket!



The tennis-a-thon was so interesting to the campus population and passers-by that the tennis players had to hold the crowd back to stop them running on the court. 

Well done boys!

The battle begins...6am

12 Hours later....6pm

 with mahoosive blisters!!!


Why did you guys do the tennis-a-thon in the first place?

R: LOL, Coach Noah [head coach of tennis placement at Winneba] was open and honest about the dire financial state of the          Winneba Tennis Academy, we wanted to help in some way and later the idea came to head.
J: I wanted to do a baked bean bath originally, but they didn’t have any Heinz!


Did you think it would be difficult playing for that long? 

R: I thought as soon as we had the idea and announced it to the other volunteers, I thought we were crazy considering the length of time, the stifling heat and the fact that I hadn’t even played half of that length of time continuously before!
J: I thought it would be difficult and was a little nervous after we had announced it publicly – I felt we had a lot riding on us – no going back now! And also the fact that as a keen rugby player I had never played a competitive game of tennis before let alone for 12 hours.

So how did the Tennis-A-Thon go?

R: At the start at 6am, Ed [another tennis volunteer] came out to umpire our first set. I think we were both in a state of disbelief we were actually going ahead with this – thankfully the weather was overcast and we both prayed it would stay that way [it didn’t].
J: We started well even though I was half asleep. Halfway through it was quite impossible and at times hard to keep score, but Ed kept score and Sal brought us out bread and Milo. 
R: About 5 hours in – my mind started to wonder and at one point I got so dazed I was going for winners left, right and centre to keep the points as short as possible!
J: Blister time around 7 hours into it and a previous back injury from rugby made it a little difficult for me at times. We attracted quite a crowd of passers bys and some of the students at the university – by virtue of good looks, good tennis! Haha. It even went as far as two of the academy players having to keep the crowd at bay.
R: Coach Noah hadn’t realized it was just the two of us doing the 12 hours and jokingly told us we were crazy!

How did you feel after the 12 hours was up?

J: We felt relieved that we’d done it and felt very proud of both of us that we’d achieved something worthwhile during our time in Ghana.
R: I felt pretty jubilant and glad having done what I’d set out to achieve and also pretty smug that I’d won! 
J: LOL, We’ll play 12 hours of Rugby and see if he wins!

Best Moment, Worst Moment?

R: Best – serving an ace on the final point of the tennis-a-thon! Worst – 9 hours in, on knackered legs having to chase after a kid who’d stolen one of our tennis balls!
J: Best – winning the opening point of the tennis-a-thon and peanut butter sandwich time! Worst – I was physically sick in the early stages which wasn’t too great [bad chicken and rice the night before] 

What has the money you’ve raised gone towards? 

R: The money has allowed up and coming world class junior Jeff Bagerbaseh who trains with us to fulfill his life long dream of taking up a tennis scholarship in South Africa – without the money he couldn’t have gone. 

Would you ever do it again?

R: Defintely! I’ll be rounding up the troops at my club in London to do 1 hour shifts but I’d don’t think I’ll be inviting any of the first team!
J: Not in the near future now the Rugby season’s started, but it’s a good story to tell. 

The funds raised from the tennis-a-thon went towards airfare for Jeff Bagerbaseh to attend a scholarship in South Africa...