26th Oct, 2020

Tennis centre serves up an ace with open day to honour Felix Gill

Liam Moakes 7th Oct, 2020

THE UNIVERSITY of Warwick Tennis Centre is giving locals an opportunity to train like a professional during a special open day in honour of one of their junior players.

To mark Felix Gill’s qualification to the boys’ singles event at the French Open, the tennis centre in Coventry is hosting a taster day open to people of all ages and abilities on Saturday, October 10 from 9am to 1pm.

Gill, 18, is flourishing in his second Grand Slam tournament this year after competing in the Australian Open in January.

Gill, then 17, reached the semi-finals of the boys’ doubles alongside Arthur Fery at Melbourne Park having worked his way up the world rankings into the top 30.

The exciting prospect currently trains at the tennis centre, coached by the university’s renowned Performance Academy head coach Gary Naughton.

World number 38 Gill, who started his tennis journey at Redditch Tennis Club and is still a member of the club, is now shining at Roland Garros having won two matches to reach the last 16 at the time of writing.

In the first round left-hander Gill saw off Italy’s Leonardo Malgaroli 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 before stunning rising South African star Khololwam Montsi – the 11th seed ranked 13th in the world – 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in the second round.

Now standing between Gill and a place in the quarter-finals is Swiss eighth seed Leandro Riedi, who is ranked 11th in the world.

With its wealth of high-level coaches, who will be available on the day, the University of Warwick Tennis Centre team is hoping to encourage young and old alike to pick up a racket and inspire the next generation of British players.

The day will start with an hour-long mini tennis taster session aimed at five to ten-year-olds. Featuring a mix of tennis activities including competition, drills, games and racket skills exercises, the session will be followed by a cardio-based tennis drill session for adults of all level.

Youngsters are relishing this weekend’s event.

From 11am, the professional coaching team will be on hand to offer tips and personalised advice to those looking to develop their game, while the last hour of the event will be dedicated to a family cardio tennis session to get children and parents moving together with tennis-based drills.

Falling on World Mental Health Day, the event is accessible to players of all age, size and experience. Tennis is a great all-round way to keep in shape by helping to develop upper and lower body strength, as well as cardio.

In addition to its physical benefits, tennis has been linked to higher confidence and happiness levels, with 63 per cent of tennis players reporting they felt less isolated.

Brad Rowbottom, tennis manager at the University of Warwick Tennis Centre, said: “Seeing young British athletes reaching their full potential and qualifying for high-level tournaments is always an incredible feeling, but even more so when they do it wearing our colours, so I know everyone here at the junior performance academy will be standing behind Felix.

“What better way to celebrate his achievements than to offer local people an opportunity to give tennis a go?

“This is set to be an exciting open day and our experienced team will be on hand to ensure everyone gets the most out of it, no matter their experience.

“We’re hoping to inspire local people to try something new, get moving and maybe even enjoy a newfound passion. We’re convinced the next Andy Murray and Johanna Konta are here in the West Midlands and we can’t wait to meet them!”

Places at the Covid-19-safe event are limited. To sign up, visit warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/events/tennis-centre-open-day.

To find out more about a tennis membership at the facility, which includes unlimited access to the world-class Sports and Wellness Hub, visit warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/active/tennis/plus.

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