I’m trying to use the three-week break in league tennis to improve my flexibility. Things have got so tight in my shoulders and back that my agonising antics during the warm-up serve routine are now considered comic relief.

My first-set loss ratio this season also tells a story of a cold, stuttering start. My daughter, who once earned provincial colours for gymnastics, tries her level best … but, to me, it too often sounds like cruel goading rather than encouragement. While I’m trying to crank my legs into a pathetic imitation of the lotus position, she is effortlessly doing the splits. ..

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