Player Profiles

DARREN O'DONNELL - Head Coach

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? - 10 years

Why did you want to coach here/why did you decide to join this club? - Honestly?! I went to Queensgate for interview practise and was grilled for 2 hours by the whole of the committee (about 10 of them) before doing 2 separate coaching sessions (adults & juniors). Didn’t put me off though to accept the offer to coach at the club! During the interview I was impressed with the club and its proactive nature of taking the club forward, especially the juniors!

What is your favourite shot? - Single handed topspin backhand

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? - Basically in my teens I was a ball boy during the old famous Manchester Northern pre-Wimbledon tournament and was on the same court as Stefan Edberg. Took up the game the next day after going back to the Northern to join.  That was 27 years ago.

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? - Presently Andy Murray. Incredible rise to the top from a four-court club up in freezing Dunblane, Scotland & from a single parent family. Have met Andy quite a few times & he comes across quite a witty guy plus he nicked the last 2 burgers at a BBQ I was at and I was next in the queue! Judy Murray is probably one of my favourite coaches as she is someone who always thinks outside the box. Michael Stich (Wimbledon champ 1991) was a player I liked watching when I was growing up.

Do you play any other sports and if so what? - Play golf, badly!

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? - Like to switch off by following the best team in the world….. Manchetser United!! Will try and support them live home & away.

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you - erm don’t know!!… did a sky dive from 12,000 ft then a bungee jump off a bridge and became a master scuba diver all in one day!! (in Oz)

What is your favourite film? - Schindler’s List

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – Oasis, mainly because I grew up with them by going to the same school and they lived around the corner from my home - (plus, don’t laugh - Bryan Adams!)

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Rattlesnake in Arizona…tasted like chicken!

Where are you from originally? - Manchester

Best and worst subject at school? - Biology and Math in that order

Greatest achievement (so far)? – Playing-wise - representing GB & Ireland separately in deaf tennis (long story!). Coaching-wise - developing players at Queensgate from scratch and taking them all the way through various levels of club, county, regional, national & international.



Player Profile

STUART OWENS - Team Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? - From memory I joined in 2010

Why did you decide to join this club? - At the time my two girls were keen to progress their tennis and Darren had an excellent set-up for juniors

When do you play tennis (team/social)? – I play on the Men’s 1st Team so irrespective of whether we have a match or not, II try to play twice a week 

What is your favourite shot? - It’s got to be the big lefty serve!

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? - I was a late starter at the age of 13. I joined Cumber Lane Tennis Club, now Wilmslow, and the rest they say is history

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? - I grew up in the era of Lendl and Edberg but for me Agassi brought a whole new dimension to the game of flair and energy. You can’t look any further though than Federer, the guy is a legend – so graceful and reads the game like no other

Do you play any other sports and if so what? -  I was fanatical about basketball during my teenage years but nowadays other sports include golf and running

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? - Spending time with the family is important and last year we bought a house that is going to require a lot of TLC to restore it to its former glory

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you - I was once listed in Britain’s Who’s Who of Young Entrepreneurs right next to Michael Owen, alphabetical order of course

What is your favourite film? - The Bourne films are just brilliant but I’m also a real sucker for Star Wars and Rocky

What’s your favourite band or type of music? - Hmmm big question, I like a bit of everything from Wham to Drake and David Guetta but probably The Weeknd if I had to name one band

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Bone Marrow in a French restaurant followed by snails on toast

Where are you from originally? - Ramsbottom in Lancashire. I can tell you that name brought hours of fun in the school playground when I first moved to Wilmslow as a kid

Best and worst subject at school? - As I lived in the school hall playing basketball I have to say PE as the best, the worst has got to be German – Mrs Williamson was a battle axe!

Greatest achievement (so far)? – That’s a big question so let’s stick to tennis. I’m fortunate enough to have a tennis partner with whom we’ve competed in just about every mixed doubles tournament for the last 20 years and I’m proud to say that we’ve managed quite a haul of trophies during that period. As I’ll never get the chance to thank Bev in public again, thanks a million Partner, you’re the best.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself! - I recently got engaged to Sarah, my gorgeous Geordie and we’re already planning our big day in 2020 on a beach far, far, away. Don’t worry Phil I’ll try and plan the dates around the fixture list!

Player Profile

BOB HALL - Club Treasurer

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? – 13 years

Why did you decide to join this club? – Used to be a member of Bramhall Park then lapsed for a decade or so but thought I’d have a change having checked out that club again. My son Jonathan wanted to join a club and start playing seriously (he was 8) following some lessons at Bramhall Lane through his Primary School Pownall Green. We tried Bramhall Lane initially but unfortunately there was a 2 year waiting list at the time for juniors – but none for me! This was no use whatsoever so checked out BQTC and then rang re membership and was encouraged to join which we both did immediately. Not looked back since.

When do you play tennis (team/social)? – Social very occasionally and with my son Jonathan when he can put up with my rubbish tennis! Hope to play more soon.

What is your favourite shot? Probably serve

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – I grew up on my Father’s farm and we all enjoyed watching tennis and my sisters were interested in playing so he built a grass court in the farm garden! Many happy hours were spent playing with cousins and my patient (elder) sisters. So probably started around 9 or 10 and entirely self-taught hence rubbish technique!

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – Difficult to choose. Current Men’s Roger Federer. Current Ladies Simona Halep. All time – probably Bjorn Borg Ladies Kim Clijsters

Do you play any other sports and if so what? – Nothing at the moment. Have played squash in the past and 5-a-side footy.

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – I like watching sport especially Formula 1 and skiing in the winter. Big fan of skiing. Also like films and some TV – especially SciFi / Action/ Drama / Crime 

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you – Won my half Palatinate colours for Tennis at Durham Uni for representing the college and Uni teams. Guess I must have been half decent back then.

What is your favourite film? - Inception

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – Again difficult so Jeff Beck / Jimi Hendrix / Muse / Snarky Puppy. So blues/rock/jazz fusion but I also like some current pop music but being the wrong side of 50 I never know who I’m listening too.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? – I don’t do weird eating - have to know what it is where it came from and do I like it!

Where are you from originally? – Born and bred on my father’s farm (literally) near East Retford in Nottinghamshire.

Best and worst subject at school? – Best Maths worst Art

Greatest achievement (so far)? – Prefer not to say as it would be boring academic or work. Perhaps raising six children and 3 grandchildren so far?!

Player Profile

GILLIAN MILLER - Social Tennis Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? – 10 years

Why did you decide to join this club? – Local club with an evening class for beginners.

When do you play tennis (team/social)? –social tennis on a Tuesday evening and a Saturday morning.  Wednesday ladies.

What is your favourite shot? Back- hand volley on a good day

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – At my convent grammar school – taught by the nuns which may explain my reserved nature!

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – Predictably Federer - although I can’t believe  anyone can be so perfect.

Do you play any other sports and if so what? – No time 

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – Work too much, be outdoors, spend time with family and friends and thank God for a wonderful life. 

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you – I was born on my mum’s birthday.

What is your favourite film? – The Tourist.

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – I’m a bit of Van Morrison fan and similar genre.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? – snails ugh!

Where are you from originally? - A small village in the Ribble Valley ’Sabden’ in a house my father converted from a tiny cottage, bequeathed to us by a lovely lady whom I called Aunty Polly.

Best and worst subject at school? – Best - English , Worst - Chemistry – blame the teacher Mr Sing who spent all his time smoking behind the lab.

Greatest achievement (so far)? –  Making it out of the Beginners Class, thank you Darren!

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself!Love the Wednesday night ladies I play tennis with – Clare, Penny and Shar .  Love all the friends I have made at the club.

Player Profile

ELENA WHALLEY - Junior Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? – Since playing green ball mini tennis…so about 3 years. 

Why did you decide to join this club? – My first coach Ashley Webster recommended Darren and said that he may have a squad I could join. That is when I started at Queensgate and I was the only girl in the squad at the time. 

When do you play tennis (team/social)? –Probably easier to say when I don’t – the only night I usually have off is Monday. I represent Queensgate for team tennis and JNEC but I train at a number of different clubs. I have recently played for Queensgate ladies, which I really enjoyed. 

What is your favourite shot? Although I don’t do it often, I like drive volleys. They are great when they work. 

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – My mum put me in a tennis tots session at David Lloyd when I was 2 years old. I then started to have lessons from 3 years old.  I have a picture somewhere of me holding a racket that is almost as big as me! So funny. 

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – Serena Williams. She is an attacking player and I think that represents how I would like to be. 

Do you play any other sports and if so what? –I like all sports but generally if not playing tennis it would be athletics.  

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – You will find me at my keyboard in my room learning songs or creating my own or in my study drawing. 

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you –  I have done an indoor sky dive which was great fun. 

What is your favourite film? – I enjoyed watching the Hunger Games films. 

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – Chart music but favour hip hop and RnB. Although I do like some rock music and 80s. My mum’s influence! J

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - I vaguely remember biting a worm at primary school… don’t ask why as I haven’t a clue. 

Where are you from originally? – I was born here but my dad is from Sierra Leone. I am hoping to visit Sierra Leone in the next couple of years. 

Best and worst subject at school? – Best are PE and Maths. Don’t really have a subject I don’t like but least favourite is Science. 

Greatest achievement (so far)? – Proud to have represented my county for tennis many times over the last few years. I also really enjoyed being part of the ball crew for the recent Fuzion 100 Manchester Trophy and I spoke to Naomi Broady who was really nice. 

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself!I love hot and spicy food, the hotter the better. I have had some vindaloo and loved it. 

Player Profile

FIONA STAFFORD - Team Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC?20 years

Why did you decide to join this club? – I started to play tennis about 25 years ago with my Mum at Bramhall Park, then moved to Queensgate to join the Stafford family.

When do you play tennis (team/social)? -Team and social 4’s

What is your favourite shot? - The smash

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – I started at school however my main racket sport was badminton so didn’t play seriously until I hung my badminton racket up-25years ago.

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – Chris Evert, I loved her style of play and her romance with John Lloyd. This shows my age!!! I also admired Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

Do you play any other sports and if so what? – I have dabbled at most sports because I trained as a PE teacher. In my younger days I played Netball, Rounders, Badminton and competed in athletics. I loved water skiing and outdoor pursuits. Now, I play Golf as well as Tennis.

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – Golf, baking, coffee and meals with family and friends, church and work.

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you – I love singing but I’m not gifted in this area!!! Although I think a few people in the club may know this fact!!

What is your favourite film? – The Shawshank Redemption

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – I have an eclectic taste in music from classical to disco. No real favourite band. It’s a family joke, I never know the name of the bands/artists!!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Kangaroo

Where are you from originally? - Bramhall

Best and worst subject at school? – Best subjects-PE and Maths. Worst subject-French

Greatest achievement (so far)? – I’m not really into blowing my own trumpet!! I have a wonderful immediate family and extended family and I feel we have been very blessed with a family who want to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. 

I played Netball for Cheshire and represented Cheshire at High Jump. 

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself!I’m really proud of being a member of Queensgate tennis club and have seen it go from strength to strength over the years. I was on the committee when my children played on the teams and started the Friday night children’s club. I am very grateful to the present and past committee for all their hard work. The club house and courts look amazing. My happiest time is sitting in the sun with family and friends, good food and a glass of bubbly!!

Player Profile

KAT BIGLEN - Ladies' Club Captain

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? - Since I was about ten years old

Why did you decide to join this club? – It was across the road from where I lived. I had great coaches who really encouraged me and I had lots of fun playing with my friends.

When do you play tennis (team/social)? - I play in the summer and winter leagues and attend ladies practice every Monday night. 

What is your favourite shot? - I’d have to say cross court forehand 

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? - I first learnt to play tennis at about five years old at what was ‘Match Point’ before it turned into Total Fitness.

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? - Stan Wawrinka, love his backhand. 

Do you play any other sports and if so what? - table tennis and golf 

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? - I’m mainly found watching tennis when I’m not playing, I love going to different places all around the world to watch tennis. I’m also a Manchester United fan so can be found at the Theatre of Dreams. 

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you - I’ve got a Blue Peter badge

What is your favourite film? - Argo

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – dance music

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Probably crocodile 

Where are you from originally? - Bramhall

Best and worst subject at school? - Loved geography, wasn’t a fan of chemistry 

Greatest achievement (so far)? – I bought a house this year which I was quite proud of 

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself! - I’m joint Ladies club captain

Player Profile

ADAM MAYERS - Social Tennis Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? – Since October 2017

Why did you decide to join this club? – To get better at tennis so that I can play with my children as they get older and to have fun 

When do you play tennis (team/social)? - Social

What is your favourite shot? – One that goes in!

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – On the mean courts of South Wales some time during Wimbledon in the 1980s – so 11 or 12?

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – John McEnroe because sport needs characters 

Do you play any other sports and if so what? – Regularly visit the gym and have been known to do the odd triathlon, play golf but I’ll give any sport a go.

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – Working, ferrying my children to various activities and clubs, watching Wales play rugby 

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you – I’ve hit an albatross on a par 5 at golf.

What is your favourite film? – Forrest Gump for its feel good factor 

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – Anything from the 90s really

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? - Coal

Where are you from originally? – Pontypool South Wales

Best and worst subject at school? – Best Maths, Worst English 

Greatest achievement (so far)? – My children 

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself!Not really I wish to remain slightly mercurial

Player Profile

CHARLIE CLARKE - Junior Member

  

How long have you been at Queensgate TC? – I began playing tennis at Queensgate when I was 4 years old, so 10 years.

Why did you decide to join this club? – Darren was recommended to us by Mark Furness at Hale as we wanted a local club to see if I liked the game.

When do you play tennis (team/social)? – On average probably 5 times a week but depends on tournaments and other sports.

What is your favourite shot? - The volley at the net when it comes off!

Where did you first learn to play tennis and how old were you? – Darren was my first coach when I was 4 and used to love the sponge balls and mini red tennis.

Who is your favourite professional tennis player and why? – Has to be Roger Federer – he has an unbelievable temperament, is the most fluid player and is so quick and light on his feet.

Do you play any other sports and if so what? I play football for Sale Utd and if there is any time then Kick boxing, Badminton, Table tennis, Running and Cricket in the summer for Woodford Cricket Club.

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? – XBOX - currently Fortnite is the game, I play drums and working on my grade 3 exams, other sports when I can and I love going to the cinema.

Tell us a fact that no-one at the club would know about you I am ambidextrous and when I started playing tennis it was tough to decide whether I should play left or right handed! I went for right handed but in football my favoured foot is the left and throw a ball with my left hand too.

What is your favourite film? – Forrest Gump

What’s your favourite band or type of music? – The Killers although I like loud Rap Music too.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? – Mussels – never again! 

Where are you from originally? - Stockport

Best and worst subject at school? – I love History and not keen on Biology.

Greatest achievement (so far)? – I’ve won over 50 tennis tournaments so far. Qualified for Grade 2 Road to Wimbledon at Ilkley this year where we got to play on the Grass – my favourite surface. Have played for the County too.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself!I love telling jokes and apparently I never shut up J