Posted 08 Jun 2023

The week was going fast, today realised us passing the halfway point of our weeklong tennis road show. Today we were visiting Midfield Primary School in Bromley, a fantastic primary school with outstanding facilities. By now, we had developed a good routine, parking, signing in, showing our DBS and other documents, carrying all the equipment to the coaching space, setting up, and waiting for the first group of girls. 

A massive thank you must go out to Lucy Barnett who worked through all the management of this event with me, in association with Access Sport who supported the reach out to the schools in London through their network. Without the support of the WTA (The Women’s World Tennis Governing Body), and Morgan Stanley, this large tennis inclusion programme would simply not have happened.

It was always exciting for me to meet another new coach, today’s coach was Oli Wheeler, a member of Jake Johnson’s tennis coaching team from raw Tennis. I must admit, after meeting Jake, I thought it would be a struggle for Oli to match his energy and dynamic coaching style, I was wrong. Jake obviously had developed a great coaching the coaching programme, as Oli matched him in every department, I thought this reflected very highly on Jake, all too often, coaches do not pass their skills on to the next generation with such detail. 

Oli delivered with consistency and quality, it was clear to see how much the girls really enjoyed the sessions, it was also very good to see how he made all the girls settle in very well, after all, none of the girls had met him before, this was the first time they had worked with Oli, the first sessions can often be difficult, he found a very relaxed way of communicating with all the girls, a perfect balance between fun and meaningful work, it was a joy to watch him deliver throughout the whole day.

It was a long day, but a day that had witnessed smiles, laughter, and fun through the game of tennis. This is a relationship that will continue, the Elena Baltacha Foundation has already started conversation with Lucy, regarding a legacy programme, ensuring that the affect we had during this incredible day, will lead on to many more girls playing tennis over the coming years.

By Nino Severino

by Wendy Henderson