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Peer was arguably tougher off the court than on it

Shahar Peer’s tennis career was something of a rollercoaster ride. There were high hopes when she won the Junior Girls’ Singles title in 2004 and she went on to reach 11th in the world in the WTA rankings.

    But in between the highs there were some very low times, including regular first-round exits at Wimbledon. Indeed Shahar was as tough off the court as she was on it. She stood me up once at Wimbledon, after two hours of waiting, but I found some open-handed compliments the best way to break her down when interviewing.

    She usually gave very little away in the press room at SW19 and rarely cracked a smile. But I could sense disappointment year on year as she set herself the highest of standards. Twenty-nine is no age for a professional athlete to retire but she’s been showing the strain for a while now and after 13 years on the circuit her body clearly needs a rest. Thanks for the memories, Shahar.

    * L’Equipe are on the verge of becoming the first MGBSFL divisional champions of the season. Victory over Faithfold B at the Hive in Edgware would see them secure the Division Two title.

    Manager Nick Stern has banned any title talk from the changing room, and even JC website, until now, but his players are focused on the task at hands.

    L’Equipe have collected 13 wins and two draws in the league thus far and are now the only unbeaten team across all three divisions.

    Ahead of kick-off, Stern commented: “If we win on Sunday it would be L’Equipe’s first title in our 10-year existence, in fact our first trophy.

    “And getting to do it at the home of Barnet FC, where both David Prager and Mark Singer are regulars, is almost as special as winning it at our home ground.”

    * Scrabble FC’s midfield dynamo Elliot Espinoza is my MGBSFL Player of the Month for February.

    He pips goalkeeper James Harpin of Lions B to the award after helping propel Scrabble to third in Division One.

    Espinoza impressed in the wins over Hendon B, Los Blancos and Faithfold and Scrabble manager Ray Abrahams told me his star man is “back to his best”.

    The top managerial awards goes to Jacob Emanuel and Jack Shulman.

    The dynamic duo deserve plenty of credit for guiding Hertswood Vale off the foot of the league. Working with a smaller pool of players compared to Sam Marchant of Lions B, who also had an impressive four weeks, they managed to keep the players believing despite no victories in their first 12 league matches in their debut season.

    There has been a dramatic upturn in results and Emanuel said: “We’ve picked up wins over Division One high-flyers Finchley City in the cup, with further victories against FC Team C, MH Dons and Redbridge JC C in the league with a full-strength squad.

    “We can only dream of what might've been had unavailability and injuries not haunted our season.”

     

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