GARY Payton has forced his way into Great Britain's squad for the ITF Seniors World Team Championships in April.
It is the highest representative honour and achievement yet for the 44-year-old Runcorn tennis ace.
Payton earned his call-up as runner-up in the British Seniors Open Champion-ship.
Along the way, he beat twice British champion and second seed Graeme Adams 7-6, 6-4 before losing to former British number one and Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates.
Bates, who with Jo Durie won mixed-doubles titles at Wimbledon in 1987 and four years later in the Australian Open, joins Payton in the GB squad.
Other high-profile players against whom Welsh international Payton has pitted his wits include Andrew Castle, another former top-ranked Briton and now a television presenter, and Danny Ahl, the ex-world Over-35s number one.
The Seniors World Team Championship is held annually and Britain's rivals will include Australia, USA, Japan, South Africa, Argentina, France, Spain and India.
The draw will not take place until the eve of the competition in Antalya, Turkey.
Payton said: 'It starts on a round-robin basis and then progresses to knockout.
'However, every country plays the knockouts after the group stages so each of them finishes with an exact placing.'
Payton hopes Britain's three-man team can get themselves into the medal shake-up.
'Our prospects are good but, as always, there will be stiff opposition,' he added.
Payton moved to the picturesque Eden Valley in East Cumbria nine years ago but still visits family in Runcorn.
He is employed as is community sports manager at a sports college and head tennis coach.
'It involves management of facilities and involvement in other sports, although tennis plays a big part,' said Payton.
A one-time pupil of Westfield Junior School and The Heath School, he used to work for the Department of Employment in Runcorn.
At one time attached to tennis clubs at ICI Widnes and Helsby, he was Cheshire's number one as a junior.
Qualified to represent Wales, he went on to play for North Wales county.
His first senior call-up came as a 15-year-old and he is still playing county tennis to this day.
Payton has represented Wales at senior level several times and captained them twice in Four Nations Championships.
In May, he will be starring for the principality at the corresponding seniors event (for 45s and over), in Scotland.
Payton hopes to see a new blueprint announced by the Lawn Tennis Association aiding the creation of new talent.
He said: 'From a coaching point of view, it involves making sure the best coaches work with the best players at the best facilities.'