Islington tennis player opens up about mental health in new short film

Steven McCann. Picture: Submitted by the LTA

Steven McCann. Picture: Submitted by the LTA - Credit: Archant

A man who plays tennis in Islington has spoken about how the sport has helped him overcome two decades of addiction and mental health problems.

As World Mental Health day approaches next month, Steven McCann, 38, has shared how tennis has helped him following two decades of severe addiction and mental health problems.

A short film created by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) follows Steven as he shares his journey from battling addiction to reigniting his passion for tennis.

READ MORE: Playfinder platform sees huge increase in booking requestsTwo years ago, the former Love Sport Radio presenter from Barnet decided to turn his life around, becoming teetotal.

Since then, he has supported local homelessness charities and built the confidence to return to tennis after a 20-year hiatus.

“I suffered with addiction issues in my 20s and most of my 30s. It got pretty bad and I wasn’t living my life very well or enjoying it, frankly. I made the decision to turn my life around,” he said.

You may also want to watch:

“I had so many hurdles in my mind to not get on a tennis court again. I don’t have the right shoes, I’m too old and there aren’t any people that I know.

“In the end all I had to do was turn up and walk on court.

Most Read

“What tennis has given me is an opportunity to do something for myself. It has given me confidence, a new group of friends and it makes me feel like I’m active again.”

Having rebuilt his confidence, Steven joined his local tennis league in Highbury with the support of his partner Elle and tennis coach Alex.

Steven now plays multiple times a week, competing regularly in the local league.

He hopes his story will encourage others to take up tennis for its mental health benefits.

A recent YouGov survey by the LTA revealed people who play tennis on a monthly basis are 13 per cent more positive they can achieve their personal goals.

The LTA is the national governing body for tennis in Great Britain, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It oversees tennis in Britain, from grassroots participation through to the professional game.

This summer, the LTA launched Play Your Way: a campaign encouraging people to pick up a racquet no matter your age, ability or background.

Watch Steven’s full feature on LTA’s IGTV, Facebook, Twitter or on YouTube.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter