Freelance Writer

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

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  • Real Tennis at Queen's Club

    Real Tennis at Queen's Club

  • Koh Lanta, Thailand

    Koh Lanta, Thailand



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‘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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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Halle Tennis Tournament (GWO) 2016 Tournament Magazine

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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.

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Murray vs Raonic – Aegon The Queen’s Club final


L’Equipe 20/06/2016

Translated by Katrina Allen



The Queen’s Club Tournament: Andy Murray wins for the 5th time.

The Scot, Andy Murray, triumphed at Queen’s for the 5th time in his career by beating Milos Raonic on Sunday.

Murray has now overtaken several outstanding former champions: John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Roy Emerson, each one a four times winner.  His previous triumphs were in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.  This time he beat Milos Raonic  (6-7, 6-4, 6-3 in 2h12) in the final.  The match didn’t start well for the Scot (a recent finalist at Roland Garros).  Everything rested on the serve in the first set and the Canadian’s was impenetrable (72% on his first serve) and Murray, although fairly strong himself in this department, lost it in the tie-break.

Lendl left before the prize-giving

Raonic was the more rested of the two players, having had quick wins in his previous two matches, whereas Murray struggled over three sets in his quarter final against Edmund and then against Cilic in the semis. Raonic forged on, going 3-0 up in the second set. And then his game started breaking down. A few moments of doubt, particularly on the volley, (3/10 in the second set),  producing just two aces, and the world no. 9 lost his way.  Murray, always solid on the serve, was rewarded each time in his six approaches to the net. As Murray started reading the ball better, the Canadian couldn’t come up with any solutions. Murray got back to 2-3 and then romped away with the match. He won 5 games in a row to go 5-3 up and pocketed the set at the first time of asking.

In a flawless display, Murray broke in the first game of the third set and closed it out on his third match point. This is the British man’s 37th career title.  Since the beginning of this tournament, Ivan Lendl has been re-appointed as Murray’s coach while Lendl’s old rival John McEnroe was in the other player’s box, as Raonic’s new coach.  For some strange reason, as Murray lifted the trophy, Lendl disappeared from sight. No matter.  Andy Murray did what he had to and can go into Wimbledon in a week’s time with confidence.

Languedoc Living, Calais Jungle


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Diva Magazine, National Coming Out Day


Male to male romance

(full piece available on request)

I recently met a woman at a meet-up group who makes her living out of writing male-to-male erotic romance. What is even stranger about this is the fact that some 70% of readers are women.

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Typically Kiwi

Bead Gallery

Tasty Buggers Cafe (photo by Katrina Allen)

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Real Tennis – the rules

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Real Tennis/Jeu de Paume – History





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Real Tennis: Illustrations


From the viewing gallery (the “dedans”)

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Davis Cup, Queen’s Club, July 2015

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living in July 2016

Davis Cup tennis quarter final tie – France vs GB

Davis Cup Tennis Quarter Final tie : France vs Great Britain, The Queen’s Club, London. 17-19 July 2015

By Katrina Allen

Best of 5 matches. Two singles, one doubles.

The Davis Cup tie was held at The Queen’s Club in London, venue for the AEGON tournament, the Wimbledon warm-up event, which is also known as “the suit and tie tournament” because that’s how members think one should dress to watch sport.

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Andy and Amelie – Katrina Allen a.k.a. Clem Harris


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LGBT Accommodation – DIVA Magazine


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DIVA – LGBT Mental Health – May 2015 Issue

The LGBT community has a far higher incidence of mental health issues than the heterosexual one.  Why?


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O2 – the tennis circus..

I finally made it to the O2 ATP tennis event last week.  A shoot-out between the top 8 men.  It seemed so promising. Read More

Great Scot!

So Judy Murray, Andy’s mother, is through again on Strictly Come Dancing.  It does seem odd that she is considered to be a celebrity because she is the mother of a celebrity. Even odder, It has actually been suggested she won’t get the votes because her son encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ in Scotland’s campaign for independence.

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