Town to be home to new na­tional acad­emy

Loughborough Echo - - FRONT PAGE - PETE WAR­RING­TON pe­ter.war­ring­ton@reach­

LOUGH­BOR­OUGH is to be the home of a new na­tional ten­nis acad­emy as part of an am­bi­tious 10-year vi­sion by the Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion (LTA).

The an­nounce­ment on Tues­day un­veiled plans for a cen­tre at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity and at Ten­nis Scot­land op­er­at­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Stir­ling.

It is the first ma­jor mile­stone in the LTA’s 10-year Per­for­mance Strat­egy for Bri­tish Ten­nis, which fo­cuses on mak­ing GB one of the most re­spected na­tions in the world for player development.

Due to open in Septem­ber 2019, the academies will set new, world-class stand- ards for the holis­tic development of high-po­ten­tial Bri­tish play­ers in trans­for­ma­tive, full-time, res­i­den­tial, train­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

Th­ese pro­grammes will nur­ture 13 to 18-year-olds (and some­times younger) as peo­ple, play­ers and per­form­ers.

Play­ers who demon­strate the great­est fu­ture po­ten­tial in the sport will be se­lected and sup­ported with world­class coach­ing, science, medicine, and wel­fare ex­per­tise, whilst also be­ing pro­vided an ex­cel­lent main­stream ed­u­ca­tion up to at least GCSE-level.

Eleven new Re­gional Player Development Cen­tres across the coun­try have also been con­firmed. Th­ese will pro­vide qual­ity sup­port to high po­ten­tial ju­nior play- ers aged be­tween 10 and 14, and the right coach­ing and ath­letic development for those aim­ing to progress to a Na­tional Acad­emy.

To sup­port the new Per­for­mance Strat­egy for Bri­tish Ten­nis, the LTA has formed its first-ever Per­for­mance Ad­vi­sory Group com­pris­ing of Jamie Del­gado - coach to Andy Mur­ray and former pro­fes­sional player; Sam Smith, broad­caster and former Bri­tish No.1 and Tim Hen­man, a former four-time Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal­ist and world No.4, who will sup­port the LTA in con­tin­u­ally re­view­ing and evolv­ing the per­for­mance strat­egy.

LTA’s per­for­mance di­rec­tor Si­mon Tim­son said: “I am de­lighted to an­nounce Stir­ling and Lough­bor­ough as the homes of Bri­tain’s first Na­tional Academies. They will be at the heart of our new player path­way for as­pir­ing fu­ture cham­pi­ons. Na­tional Academies will of­fer our high­est po­ten­tial 18 and un­der play­ers the op­por­tu­nity to train to­gether in a vi­brant en­vi­ron­ment, with world-class fa­cil­i­ties and the best coaches, science, medicine and wel­fare ex­per­tise, nur­tur­ing a new wave of tal­ent and fu­ture Bri­tish cham­pi­ons.”

Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sport, John Steele, said: “We are ab­so­lutely de­lighted to have been cho­sen by the LTA to host a Na­tional Acad­emy at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity.

“This is an ex­tremely ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity.”

■ Andy Mur­ray and Jamie Del­gado Photo by Clive Brun­skill Getty Images

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