Freelance Writer

(racket sports, travel, psychology, anything quirky). Former real tennis champ and tennis tournament player. London based.

More About Me
  • Real Tennis at Queen's Club

    Real Tennis at Queen's Club

  • Koh Lanta, Thailand

    Koh Lanta, Thailand



articles viewable here
Read More


articles viewable here
Read More


articles viewable here
Read More


articles viewable here
Read More

Watch some incredible real tennis rallies…


This article appeared in Tennis Threads, the only printed British tennis magazine.




Billie-Jean King’s name is everywhere at the moment after the film release of ‘Battle of the Sexes’.

Billie-Jean was my idol. As a junior, I modelled my whole game on hers. In fact, I still think of her when I serve. Hers was a loose and languid action.

She attacked, she screamed when she missed a volley, slamming her racket on the net cord followed by a roar of frustration. The British public were shocked at the aggression but she didn’t seem to care.

I had a couple of coaching sessions with her when I was about 13.

She told my parents “she has a nice game”. I nearly fainted.

Our paths crossed a number of times after that. Every time she saw me she’d say ‘how are ya doing? how’s ya game?’ in her American drawl. I began to think I had a double. Surely she didn’t really recognise me. But it was great kudos – my schoolmates would say ‘does she know you?’ ‘Oh yes, we go back a long way, Billie Jean and I’.

Read More

Lower-Ranked Players Need More Support

This post appeared in and The Dominion Post

Novak Djokovic’s call for more money is right one if it goes to lower-ranked players


Last updated 09:27, January 20 2018



OPINION: So, Novak Djokovic called a meeting of players to discuss, well we’re not really sure what exactly … there have been rumours of boycotts, breakaway unions and demands for more prize money.

Read More

Crying Wolf

Hunched over, barely visible in the dark room, standard lamp flickering in the opposite corner. She was wearing that saggy old stained dress which she virtually lived in.

‘I’m dying, I’m dying’ she declared breathily, eyes theatrically wide in what I assumed to be feigned terror. It was comical.

’What’s wrong with you?’ I asked flatly. We’d been there so often.

Read More

Billie-Jean King – the Trailblazer

 This article appeared in and The Dominion Post


“We know that homosexuality is a lust of the flesh … they too know this, this is why they want marriage, because it’s self-satisfying…my belief is marriage the bible way.”

“Transgender children are the work of the devil.”

“Tennis is full of lesbians.”

These are just a few quotes from Margaret Court, senior pastor and former Australian world No1 tennis player, in response to the country’s vote in November, on same-sex marriage.


Former tennis great Margaret Court whose comments on homosexuality have prompted calls for a name change for Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena.

Read More

Borg vs McEnroe – the film


You Cannot Be Serious


Has there ever been a good film about tennis?

John McEnroe thinks not.




The trouble with films about tennis is that most actors just can’t play the game.

“Players” and “Wimbledon” were both murdered by hopeless attempts to look like proper players. McEnroe had a walk-on part in “Players” and regretted it, saying that tennis films were always terrible. Read More

NextGen Opening Ceremony

My friend Scott Barclay’s article on that disgraceful opening ceremony. The organisers have apologised but what were they thinking?


So, Dmitrov (a.k.a Baby Fed) finally won a major title at 02 last night.

What took him so long? Girls, apparently. Lots of them. His performances off the court clearly affected his performances on it. The most high profile one was, of course, Sharapova. When asked what attracted him to her he said, “well, she’s tall and she’s blonde. What else would you want?” Err, brains, or humour maybe?? My opinion of him plummeted. Read More

Wimbledon Tennis 2017

by Katrina Allen

This article appeared in  LanguedocLiving  July 2017

Usually, I’m really sad when Wimbledon finishes but this year I was particularly sad, and not for the usual reasons. Read More

Choking. Is this what happened to Cilic?

Halle Tennis Tournament, June 2017.

This article first appeared on Campden Hill LTC  Website, May 2017.

Halle (The Gerry Weber Open) Tournament, Katrina Allen

Have you been lucky enough to see the sublime Roger Federer play live? This time last year, I hadn’t, and was pretty desperate to do so before he retired.

And then I came across William Skidelsky’s book ‘Federer and Me, a Story of an Obsession’. It’s a brilliant read, both funny and informative but, best of all, in his chapter about the German tournament in Halle, he revealed how I might realise my dream. For this is where Federer plays his Wimbledon warm-up and where he has a lifetime contract (so there’s no chance of seeing him at the rival tournament at Queen’s). And, unlike Queen’s, there’s a sliding roof so play is guaranteed in the main stadium where they naturally schedule all his matches. Read More

Roland Garros, French Tennis Open – Languedoc Living, June 2017

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living, June 2017

So, the clay court season has finished, culminating, as always, in Roland Garros, the French Open. I’m always rather sad when the French finishes. Gruelling rallies on the dusty clay, in the heat, over the best of five sets are exciting to watch. Wimbledon seems almost dainty in comparison. Read More

The Dominatrix

(I have interviewed the Mistress, Her House Slave, Her P.A., a Freudian Psychoanalyst and a sex therapist for a comprehensive article on this subject.)

(the word Mistress and related pronouns are traditionally in capital letters)

A friend told me one day – ‘I have a really interesting opportunity. If I tell you, promise not to laugh.’ I duly promised. ‘I’m going to be helping a Dominatrix. It’s mostly personal assistant work, answering the phone, taking bookings, optimising the website etc. It’s also a really great writing opportunity.’ Read More

 A Night to Remember

We played that game, two truths and a lie. We were drunk of course. Red wine rings on what had been a spotless white linen tablecloth, ash strewn where ashtrays had been missed. Someone had stabbed their fag into the butter. Lesley’s eyes flashed. No-one admitted to it. Not so funny now was it.

Read More

The Perfect Daal

“This is a recipe from the tribal territories,” he booms in his usual stentorian fashion. I suppose it’s because he was a Major in the army in Pakistan.

“You Brits never use enough spice” he carries on, tipping a waterfall of ground coriander into the bubbling tomatoes. No wonder those Asian supermarkets sell spices in such huge quantities. Read More



‘Traveleyes’ is an intriguing travel concept geared towards both blind and sighted travellers. Swopping on a daily basis, blind and sighted people are paired up, the sighted ones guiding and explaining what they see.  It’s a brilliant way to wake up all our senses: smell the game in Africa, sniff perfumes in a perfume house in France, feel snow crunching underfoot, smell spices in Morocco, taste Italian cuisine and experience the world through a blind person’s perceptions. These tours tend to attract solo travellers, a lot of whom are single or who simply decide to leave their partners at home! The sighted people also  get a considerable discount on the trips.

Can’t wait to go on one!

Return to the Calais Jungle

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living September 2016

I recently went back to the Calais Jungle as a volunteer for the third time within the last twelve months.

(photograph by Katrina Allen)

So, what’s changed during that time?

Well, when I was first there last October, there were an estimated 5,000 migrants at the camp. According to a census a couple of weeks ago, conducted by two of the charities helping out, the numbers have now reached 9,000, with a 29% increase in just one month and around 70 new arrivals every day.

Read More

Halle Tennis Tournament 2016 – Gerry Weber Open (GWO)

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living in June 2016

Halle Tennis

by Katrina Allen


“Get yourself to Halle” urges William Skidelsky in his excellent book “Federer and Me”.

Like the author, I am a complete Roger Federer nut. Why? Because he is the most beautiful, elegant and creative tennis player there has surely ever been. I get goose bumps just thinking about his game.


(photograph by Katrina Allen)

Like a Muhammad Ali or a David Beckham, he transcends his sport, adored by people who don’t even like tennis.

Pancho Gonzales once said of Pete Sampras, “he moves on oil”. Nothing like Roger he didn’t, but then Pancho was no longer alive when Fed. really came into his own.

Read More

Halle Tennis Tournament (GWO) 2016 Tournament Magazine

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 10.30.28 pm



The Gerry Weber Open – Der Besondere Profi


Real Tennis player, Katrina Allen, is at the GWO (The Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany) for the first time.

She was the World no. 1. She took part in the British, Australian, US and French Open tournaments in both singles and doubles and she won them all.

She isn’t a big name in tennis history but that’s because we aren’t talking about our game but a different form of tennis “the original game, invented in the 12th century by the French” explains Katrina Allen, who is working at GWO at a journalist.  “It’s a complicated game with complicated rules”.  But this is what inspired her. “The sport is very challenging. The court is massive, the balls hard and the wooden rackets heavy.  “I loved all that” says the Londoner.  Today Real Tennis is not particularly well-known and is played in only a few countries.

Katrina has come to Halle just to be at the GWO. “This tournament is like a festival.  I have been at many major tennis tournaments, but none as impressive as this one.  The atmosphere is great, very relaxed and informal.  My main reason for coming was to see Roger Federer. He is just wonderful, an exceptional player.”  Roger was the only top ten player she hadn’t seen so she has finally ticked him off her list.


The French Open Tennis, Roland Garros 2016

by Katrina Allen.

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living in June 2016.

(photograph by Katrina Allen)

So, yet again, no French singles winner, male or female, at Roland Garros. The last man to do so was Yannick Noah, so cherished by the French, back in 1983. As for the women, the nervy and somewhat histrionic Mary Pierce won in 2000 but she was Canadian-born and raised in the States so I’m not sure that really counts. The French probably think it does as the previous winner was Francoise Durr back in 1967 and I expect they were a bit desperate. For a ‘French woman’ I’ve never heard such a deeply-entrenched American accent.

Read More