UK’s tennis future could be in the South West
With a philosophy of More Players, Better Players, Exeter Universtiy Tennis Centre is celebrating it’s fifth year, and could well be the hotbed of future tennis talent in the UK.
The tennis centre celebrated its five year anniversary by raising over £600 for Sports Relief Built in partnership between the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Exeter City Council and the University of Exeter, the Exeter Tennis Centre opened at the end of 2004.
Since opening the centre has achieved LTA Satellite Performance Accreditation, Tennis Foundation Beacon Centre Status, ‘Clubmark’ accreditation and is also an LTA Mini Tennis Accredited Centre. This has led to the University of Exeter’s Tennis Centre becoming one of the West Country’s leading tennis providers.
Director of Tennis Will McNally said: “The centre’s philosophy of ‘More Players, Better Players’ applies to all levels of player. It is about increasing the number of players and then giving them the opportunity to get excited by the sport through playing the game in a variety of different formats.”
The Exeter Tennis Centre is a Tennis Foundation Beacon Site in recognition of offering the local community a sustainable, fun and affordable tennis. As part of the community tennis programme, it also offers coaching programmes at venues across Exeter as well as running lunchtime and after- school sessions at schools.
The centre runs over 60 competitive events a year, catering for all abilities from novices to seasoned campaigners. It has four state-of-the-art indoor acrylic courts and six floodlit all-weather outdoor courts with 14 qualified coaches. At the highest level, the Centre can lay claim to fostering some of the nations leading tennis stars. Eleven year old Robert Leck is ranked number one in Great Britain in the 12-and-under category having won numerous junior competitions and has also represented Great Britain. He trains regularly at the tennis centre where he is coached by McNally.
Also under McNally’s watchful eye is 15 year old Jack Findel-Hawkins, a pupil at Exmouth College. Jack has just broken into the top three ranked players in Great Britain in the 16-and-under age category. Some 53 other young players aged between six and seventeen are on the junior performance programme at the Centre, all hoping to follow in Robert and Jack’s footsteps.
The student’s Men’s and Women’s first tennis team’s play in the top tier of inter-university competition while four other teams also compete in lower leagues. Through Exeter University’s High Performance Programme, the university has attracted scholars Alex Parry and Lucy Forward who receive support to allow them to continue their development as elite players while also excelling in their academic fields. Alex Parry, a first year Sport and Exercises Sciences student, arrived at Exeter this year following a successful two year period as a full-time player.
McNally added: “We have also made great progress with our elite performance activity and I trust we will continue to nurture some of the country’s most promising talent as well as developing our positive relationship with the local community. Our team of coaches are enthusiastic and passionate and I hope that the next five years prove as fruitful and enjoyable as the last five have.”
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