It is with both regret and pleasure that I have to announce the adjustment of some activities on the weekend of 3/4/5 of May. I will be captaining the Notts u14 County Cup junior tennis team at their fixture in Carlisle! There are no SBT/LET players in the team this year but it will be a great honour to serve them. I will update on how this impacts LE in the near future.
In order to take Long Eaton Tennis to the next level, we have a couple of projects.
Firstly. the introduction of intra and inter-club tournaments. We had a trial tournament last week and it was a great success. Thanks to the players for their enthusiasm, sportspersonship and friendly competitiveness, and thank you to helpers and scorers who were on a learning curve of their own. Congratulations to the winners. The next tournament is scheduled for the send or third weekend in Dec. It would be great if all the players had a British Tennis number and rating so that they and their opponents can begin to develop their regional and national standing. The registration process is simple and cheap/free and can be done online at https://www.lta.org.uk/Members/Join/
Secondly, two of the team are currently training for referee status (causing some unfortunate disruption to the Sunday scheduling). If one of us is successful, we will be able to host higher level competitions for the more competetive players. Please test us by asking questions about the rules of tennis.
Ongoing projects include attempting to secure and improve the facility to ensure the player development can continue in the long term and the aquisition of basic equipment to support the competitions. we need mini nets, lines and balls and hope to attract funding through events, donations and philanthropy. We are keen to keep the tennis affordable or free where possible.
In the pursuit of tennis excellence, and a good holiday, various members of my family have taken to spending Febuary half term at The Sanchez-Casals Academy in Barcelona. For the most part the weather has been great and the coaching is always second to none. Whilst there in 2008, I was watching a squad on one court but was aware of a noise like a rifle shot behind me. I turned in time to see a racket make contact with a ball about one metre from my nose, with another gunshot making me start. The player was a 16 year old boy. I watched for a minute in awe. I had not seen anyone outside the top 100 chase and hit the ball with such intensity and focus. For the first time in my life, I asked someone the name of the player, it was Grigor Dimitrov, the worlds no1 sixteen year old. I'd ever heard of him but nodded wisely and kept watching. Here was something special. When I started seeing his name in the ATP tournaments I took an interest but nothing seems to happen untill last week when he reached the semi-finals of Queens where Nalbandian (boo) got the better of him. Next week at Wombledon, he plays Anderson in the 1st who he beat in the quarters of queens. He's my tip for the shock semi finalist. I should have got his autograph in Barca. I wonder if he'd recognize me! Hmm.
I read that great things happen when practice meets opportunity (perhaps Malcolm Gladwell?). Like when Goran got a wild-card into Wimbledon and when Steve Jobs turned up at Uni and found the first onsite mainframe computer had just been delivered. I've been spouting off about how I will change the face of British Tennis as we know it for many years but now my bluff has been called. Time to put my mouth where my mouth is.
This week I've been sweeping, weeding, cleaning and repairing and now we have some very tidy courts. Last weekend I opened the doors wide and invited passers by to have a peek. Everyone was overjoyed, actually very happy and complimentary, a) they were allowed onto court for the fist time since they were built and b) that the outside had been cleaned (partly) for the fist time since they've been built.
I invite you all to pop over this weekend (it's carnival weekend so some roads will be closed) to say hi and share ideas or just get in touch.
I'm prepared to try and prepared to wipe egg from my face occasionally but I am not prepared to let this opportunity pass. Wish me luck.
Call me old fashioned, actually, no don't, but I've got this picture in my head of hundreds of Long Eatonians marching across the lush greens (thanks Rick) of West Park with a hamper under one arm and a tennis racket under the other. Folk from all walks of life, with all manner of styles and abilities on the court. Maybe far fetched but what ho! My mission (and I have chosen to accept it) is to generate a tennis culture in the area. This means making it an everyday sight for youngsters who may drop in and out, social events and exciting opportunities to compete and mix. I'm a dreamer I know. Who's in?