Tim Henman serves for the future of British tennis

Chiswick to be one of 18 centres of excellence nationwide


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For further information contact
Samantha Durchslag
0207 493 2233

or Esporta Riverside Chiswick
0208 987 1800

Sports in Chiswick



Tim Henman this week demonstrated his commitment to raising the profile of tennis in the UK as the official patron of the Tennis First Charitable Trust, which supports the Esporta Racquets Academy, a new nationwide initiative dedicated to nurturing Britain’s future tennis stars. To mark the launch of the Esporta Racquets Academy, the UK number one seed participated in a Junior Masterclass at Esporta Riverside Chiswick.

The Tennis First Charitable Trust (TFCT) was founded at the Esporta Riverside Chiswick club in 1999 with support from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). The TFCT has helped tennis stars such Alex Bogdanavic and Anne Keothavong who both played in Wimbledon 2003 and 2003 and are now competing on the ATP and WTA tours respectively.

David Felgate, Director of Performance at the LTA and previously Henman’s coach confirmed the LTA’s support of the Academy. “The LTA is keen to help give children more opportunities to realise their talent and is determined to ensure tennis is an accessible, non-elitist and fun sport for all to enjoy. We are working hard to fund a quality tennis infrastructure and Academies such as this will undoubtedly help in achieving that,” he said.

So will the Esporta Racquets Academy generate the next Tim Henman?

Quite possibly, according to Gary Stewart, Academy consultant, who said that what makes the Academy different from other initiatives is the Academy’s selection process and its accessibility. Selection of participants will focus on children aged 4-18 and will be driven largely through a schools outreach programme. Mr Felgate emphasised that “schools are key” to develop the next generation of players and rather than bring “the odd tennis lesson” to schools the Academy will focus on identifying talented children at schools and bringing them to the Academy for coaching, competitions and touring opportunities.

Mr Stewart pointed that the outreach programme is already underway, so if you are a parent or teacher in a local school and would like to be part of it, call Samantha Durchslag 0207 493 2233
or Esporta Riverside Chiswick 0208 987 1800

Accessibility is the second distinctive feature of the Academy’s approach to grooming tennis talent. Access to the Academy, housed at 18 Esporta clubs nationwide, will be widened for selected children with the introduction of 4 new membership categories at Esporta clubs. At present a child’s membership is provided by his/her parents but the Academy will provide individual memberships to selected children. Members will be required to commit to a range of activities and initiatives at the Academy.

Henman himself declared his commitment to the Academy and will be actively fundraising for it, starting with an exhibition match against Goran Ivanosevich at the Royal Albert Hall next month. He further remarked that he hopes his active involvement will serve as a motivator for children to become and stay involved in the Academy.

September 30, 2003