Tennis duo smashes world record

2017-02-21 06:00
Tarrin Brewin, marketing manager of Deep Heat SA, world record tennis player Wendy Thompson, Lisa Bell, brand manager of Deep Heat, and Thompson’s partner Carlos Gomes.

Tarrin Brewin, marketing manager of Deep Heat SA, world record tennis player Wendy Thompson, Lisa Bell, brand manager of Deep Heat, and Thompson’s partner Carlos Gomes.

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Two Constantia residents who played tennis for more than 63 hours to promote tennis in disadvantaged communities are now the official world record holders for playing the longest singles tennis match.

Carlos Gomes and Wendy Thompson beat the Guinness world record when they played for 63 hours and 41 minutes, snatching the title from a German duo who played for 63 hours and 27 minutes two years ago.

Gomes and Thompson’s match took place from Friday 3 to Monday 6 February.

Thompson says it was one of the hardest things she has ever done in her life. “I never thought that it was going to be like this. It was so difficult but I’m glad we managed to pull through. We still can’t believe that we did it. It still feels like a dream.”

Despite putting in a few hours to train for the marathon match, Thompson says nothing could have prepared them.

“This went far beyond preparation. No amount of preparation can help you play for the hours that we did. It went from physical strength to mental strength because the body couldn’t do it. It was now all in the mind and I am happy that the match just showed us how we are strong in the mind,” says Thompson.

On the day of the start of the match Gomes was developing a cold but had to soldier on.

“I admire his strength. It was easy to give up but he played on. There were so many factors that could have led him to give up, like hallucinations, being nauseous, but he maintained the strength. We can’t believe that we did it,” she says.

Their goal was to raise at least R500 000 to resurface five courts, build two clubhouses and start a tennis academy for children in Khayelitsha and Kayamandi. They managed to raise just over R200 000.

“At least the money that we got is enough for a start. We still want more and are asking for people who can help to do so. We want the best for the children whom we are helping,” says Thompson.

Children were bussed in to come watch them play. Thompson continued playing tennis with her coach to the 65-hour mark to honour the sponsors who had supported them.

Gomes says the idea came about when they played a league tennis fixture in Khayelitsha.

“The facilities are really poor, to the point that many clubs actually forfeit their matches if they are drawn to play in Khayelitsha. We played our match – and lost actually. However, we had our best ever tennis experience there. There was such enthusiasm for the game and the Khayelitsha members were super friendly and hospitable,” says Gomes.

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