News > LTA Awards
2020 was a tough year with Lockdown, nevertheless Tennis was able to persevere and we recognise below our LTA Award Winners and Performance Awards.
All the award winners should be very proud of their achievements and recognise this has not gone unnoticed by both Middlesex Tennis and our LTA colleagues.
The LTA Awards were introduced 6-years ago by Cathy Sabin, the then LTA President. The LTA Awards recognise & reward individuals, clubs and organisations for their contribution to the development of Tennis in the UK.
During October & November each year the tennis community are encouraged to put forward any unsung hero as part of a well-organised nomination process.
In 2020 over 2,000 nominations were submitted nationally, the job then fell to the Middlesex Awards Panel to select the Middlesex County winners from the excellent nominations put forward.
The 2020 Middlesex LTA winners were as follows;
- Disability Award: The Queens Club Foundation
- The need for inclusive activities is vital at this difficult time with many disabled people experiencing isolation and in desperate need of interaction. This has amplified the importance of tennis in supporting people's physical and mental wellbeing. The Queen's Club Foundation have been responsive, showing a willingness to fund innovative and creative projects during 2020 and support a range of organisations working in partnership to support the return to play and new ideas and activity.
Their funding has supported players with physical disabilities, visually impaired players and people with complex mental health conditions. Three Key Projects were:
1.Choice International return to wheelchair tennis camp held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 23 August.
2. Barons Court Project pop up tennis in Hammersmith for the homeless and people with complex mental health conditions.
3. Metro Blind Sports tennis sessions at Islington Tennis Centre for blind and partially sighted players.
These activities worked alongside and in partnership with inclusive activities supported by the LTA Open Court Programme, and Middlesex Tennis Disability Plan. On behalf of all those who have benefited from the projects supported by the Foundation we very much thank you for your kind and generous support.
Baroness Amanda Sater accepted the Award on behalf of the Foundation: “Thank you so much to Middlesex Tennis for this Award. We are honoured and delighted to be recognised in this way. It has been very difficult times for disabled people with isolation and we are delighted to have been able to support these organisations.”
- Community & Parks Award: Will to Win
- This has been awarded to a tennis provider that has responded positively during COVID-19 restrictions, making major improvements to their programmes and facilities for the benefit of local tennis players in the community.
Many of you may already know Will to Win as they have a significant presence in the county with pay and play park site at Regents Park, Hyde Park, Chiswick Park, Pitshanger Park and Lammas Park. Providing no fewer than 40 public access courts in Middlesex.
Despite the challenges we all faced in 2020 they implemented major enhancements to their tennis programmes and playing facilities. Working in partnership with the LTA they installed gate access systems and a new ClubSpark booking process at 3 of their sites, enabling easy public access via online court bookings. Off court, they were also very busy keeping their distribution list of 44,000 players updated with regular weekly news and return to play information.
Additionally, to cater for COVID requirements extra staff were appointed at all sites to ensure clubhouses and associated facilities were safe and accessible. Well done and congratulations to Win to Win for negotiating through a very difficult year and continuing to offer great programmes and facilities with excellent customer service to community tennis players in Middlesex.
Steve Riley, Director of Coaching and Founder said "The same words that would apply now, applied 25 years ago, We just worked hard, and had a lot of consistency...and working hard gives results so this is a team effort."
- Competition Award: The Fred Perry Championships
- This was an inspirational competition that gave players a much-appreciated taste of a professional tournament experience with well-structured competitive match play delivered through strong leadership and teamwork. A highlight for many players in 2020 providing outstanding organisation and delivery for many top juniors both at a national and local level.
There were qualifying events across the UK with the finals taking place at 3 Middlesex venues, including The Brentham Club where Fred Perry first became interested in watching and playing tennis over a hundred years ago.
A total of 232 players participated, with 32 draws and 350+ matches. All the Finals were umpired, and matches were streamed live across social media channels. COVID guidance was strictly followed and adhered to whilst still providing a quality experience for players, parents and spectators.
The winners in each age group received Fred Perry clothing and a tennis grant, plus a medal inscribed with some sound advice from Fred Perry himself:
"Be Absolutely Dedicated".
Brand Manager Heather Lowe said "It's been inspiring to see the talent that's on offer .. Thank you, we're excited to come back this year. And we'll be continuing to grow our charitable side of the organisation"
- Club of the Year: Teddington LTC
- Despite the challenges faces by clubs in 2020 Teddington grew their membership to almost 700 - the highest ever in the history of the club.
During lockdown the club operated drop-offs of food and essentials to vulnerable members including their 83-year-old groundsman who lives on site. Additionally, online quizzes were organised for members to keep in contact and help raise spirits when isolation and the lack of contact took hold of us all.
As soon as lockdown restrictions were eased, the committee and coaching team had procedures in place to restart the coaching programme with the club supporting coaches to sign in members and manage a 1-way system to ensure safe distancing.
Uniquely, the Head Coach at Teddington is also the membership secretary, this allows him to ensure every new member is personally contacted and offered a free introductory hit as a welcoming introduction to the club.
- Official of the Year: Alan Warman
- This goes person who is obviously very popular with his players and parents as he received no less than 62 nominations. Alan is calm, considerate and relates well to players at all ages. He is passionate about tennis and oozes positive energy. He inspires young players, ensuring that they play by the rules, play fairly and respect their opponents.
Below are just a couple of extracts from the many nominations Alan received.
One from his mum “he works 7 days a week, promoting tournaments and constantly answers his phone assisting parents and players. His advice is open minded and fair, coming from 45-years of tennis experience”.
And a comment from one of his players “Alan has a relaxed and supportive manner that encourages young players to take part in competitions. I was planning to leave tennis after performing badly for few months, however Alan motivated me and guided my parents, so I am now back and performing very well. Thanks Alan”.
At his events Alan adopts the role of referee, tournament organiser and safeguarding officer, all of which are undertaken in a professional manner. After the first Covid lockdown Alan was one of the first to be back with match play in a safe manner - his precautions were exemplary and made everyone feel comfortable.
- Volunteer of the Year: Emma Harverson
- Emma has been an active and enthusiastic member of Conway Tennis Club for many years, showing unparalleled commitment to the club as a volunteer during these challenging times.
As a requirement of the return to play guidelines, Emma introduced an online booking system at the club. The Club has never had a booking system before, but this has been a total success, and is going to remain a permanent feature. There was a doubling of membership during the summer which led to extra demand for court usage between members, coaches, and the requirements with over a dozen club teams entered into the Middlesex County League Winter season – therefore the new system was essential and invaluable.
Emma led the playing-in social sessions ensuring that new members were made to feel at ease and welcome – she is a great advocate for the club, friendly and always welcoming. Additionally, she ran Zoom quizzes alongside our membership secretary, and somehow found time to win the Ladies Singles tournament! Emma played a major role in the planning the two club finals days, she ensured they ran without spectators and introduced first ever live streaming of the finals.
She is often spoken of as having a 'Wise Head on Young Shoulders’.
- Young Person of the Year: Lola-Juliet Omran
- Whilst not be able play, she dedicated put her time to activity work as a volunteer at her local club, where she assisted in many roles all through the summer. The feedback from parents and children was all very positive, they all loved her. For a 13-year-old she is amazing at giving back, even if it means falling behind with her own tennis development. She absolutely loves helping others.
Additionally, she has created her own Instagram account and produces regular updates. During the height of the lockdown, she posted everyday with clips of working out and keeping herself occupied. Home-schooling for any autistic person is disruptive and she needed her routine and she created one.
She has developed a sense of self-worth, that she is not this child who is different. Her uniqueness and quirkiness are a driving force to her being successful. Players and parents speak highly of her, which makes her mother very proud and assured that she is developing as an aspiring young lady.
- Development Coach of the Year: Mark Bullock
- Mark has received tremendous praise from the parents and players that he coaches. In 2020 when we were all unable to get on-court he took the initiative to embraced and excelled in the delivery of online sessions and social media interaction.
Despite the challenges we faced in 2020 Mark took on many roles and adapted well to the different working practices that were forced upon us. He produced regular Twitter & Instagram content and during the first lockdown in partnership with his wife set up his own You Tube playlist.
Alongside this he trained as an LTA Coach Mentor, specialising in Inclusive Tennis. Whilst we were able to get on-court Mark started coaching weekly online wheelchair sessions that are ran for a year with Choice International.
He attended regular training courses and used his online knowledge and skills to support and develop other coaches, enabling them to deliver their own online sessions. Mark is currently delivering a regular Saturday morning online tennis session for players with a range of impairments This has grown in numbers each week and current attracts 30 families.
A quote from one family was ‘Thank you – we all love that the sessions feel fresh each week -it’s giving us something to look forward to and a great reason to get up early on Saturdays!’
- Performance Coach of the Year: Shola Roper
- Throughout 2020 Shola has positively contributed to performance tennis highlighted by some great work with performance players and county teams. Through these difficult times he has maintained an extremely positive and proactive manner encouraging and bringing out the best in his players.
Shola has structured and organised his programmes in an exciting and professional way both at Ealing LTC and Middlesex Tennis which have really helped players to develop and maintain a positive attitude and positive wellbeing.
Shola was a great contributor to the success of the Boys 18u Middlesex County Cup Team who in 2020 gained promotion to group one. He demonstrated great leadership skills in getting the players ready for the event and instilling the belief and confidence which had been lacking in previous years. He maintained regular contact with players and parents through the various lockdowns and restrictions and in doing so has contributed to how players have managed to keep training and practicing within the permittable guidelines.
A couple of quotes from his players illustrates the positivity that always surrounds Shola.
"no matter what is happening in the world, Shola has such a positive disposition that you forget how bad things are"
"He leads by example for sure which you can see rubs off on other coaches and players. I have never seen a coach day in and day out show such a positive energy to others".
He always finishes his emails with "Always only the best" which describes his character well.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: David Watts
- After retiring from the Civil Service in the mid 90’s David maintained his unreserved passion for tennis by taking on many roles as a club volunteer, County volunteer and a position on the LTA Council.
Now in his mid-70’s, David began his lifetime interest in tennis as a talented young player in the Richmond area where he was on the Management Committee and men’s captain at Sheen Tennis Club, Chairman of the Civil Service Club from1980- 2 and President of Teddington LTC from 1989- 94.
Retirement from the Civil Service allowed David more time to concentrate on the administrative aspect of tennis. He was elected to the LTA Council and welcomed the valuable opportunity to influence the development of tennis players and clubs through membership of the Education and Young People Committee.
In 1989 he was recruited to the Council of Middlesex County LTA and spent twenty years as Secretary of the West region of the summer Middlesex League comprising of more than 600 teams and over 14,000 players.
In acknowledgement of his broad experience of all aspects of the sport, he was elected Chairman of Middlesex Tennis in 2008, where he served admirably until his recent retirement in December 2020. He also served on the Council Liaison Committee and was a member of the LTA Disciplinary Committee from 2003 to 2008 then acting as Chairman until 2015.
Aside from his committee responsibilities, David qualified as a referee and played a major part in the Middlesex junior tennis programme by refereeing at many county tournaments throughout the year.
It’s certainly very inspirational and uplifting to view the successes of Middlesex Teams both across 2019 and into 2020. Middlesex for the first time in its history won the LTA champions Race, a culmination of all of the performances from Junior County Cup competitions, Adults county week, winter singles and the over 35 competition held at Eastbourne. It has been a huge achievement and team effort to prise the away this prestigious trophy from Surrey and Herts who have dominated county cups in recent years.
Well done for everyone involved Players Parents, Coaches and everyone connected with the teams. As current champions and holders we have a lot to be proud of.
Below we recognise our Middlesex Tennis Performance Award Winners:
- Middlesex Team of the Year: 18U Girls
- Captain Ronnie Maxwell
Assist. Louise Hutchinson
The 18u Girls Team played a pivotal role in the success of Middlesex in winning the LTA Champions Race, in 2019 and continued its impressive run in 2020,
In 2020 defending the title proved to be difficult, as a 4/5 loss to Hampshire and Isle of White, meant that by the final day we were in a potential position of relegation to division 2 or indeed winning the National Title. Inspired selections ensured the team came through to win the event beating a strong Yorkshire side 6/3.
The National Title was a fantastic achievement given the extremely high standard and competitive nature of the group.
Selecting a team to represent Middlesex is always difficult given the competitive nature of the players, and it is sometimes also difficult for the players to fit the competition into their extremely busy schedules, but we are amazed and truly grateful for the commitment the girls make to represent the county, some of whom have played in every county cup competition since the age of 9.
- Middlesex County Cup Captain of the Year: Ronnie Maxwell
- Ronnie has been a long-standing Captain to the Middlesex 18U Girls team, and he goes back to the era of Jane Bone, the first Middlesex Tennis Performance Manager. Leading the team to back to back National Titles in 2019 and 2020. Ronnie is a captain whom players love to play for.
His approach ensures that players step onto the court calm, confident and ready to give their best to represent the county. The girls know he backs them 150% and is in their corner at all times. Honest, fair and supportive.
Ronnie mirrors these values come rain or shine, whatever the situation, and this style of leadership gets the best out of these winning teams on a very consistent basis. Really well done on being recognised County Captain of the Year 2020.
On accepting the Award, Ronnie said "I am very fortunate and find it a real privilege to captain the side... And I see it as a honour every year.
What's great about the county.. this county Middlesex has shown right through the years, that diversity of all the coaches and everything in this county and also the cohesion of it"
- Middlesex Player of the Year: Sophie Bekker
- Sophie is an extremely committed and contentious young tennis player who is at the start of her tennis journey. Sophie has already come through the LTA performance pathway, through county, regional and National stages and is on the LTAs high performance programme.
In January 2020 Sophie was selected to represent Great Britain 12U National Team at the Tennis Europe Winter Cup. The qualification phase was held at Feucherrolles in France with the team victorious against Hungary, France and Portugal.
The finals in Sunderland proved to be a historic moment for the GB team in defeating Czech Republic, Belarus and formidable Russian To win the European title for the first time In its history.
It was an great experience for Sophie to be part of the GB team and she has since gone on to feature very strongly on the Tennis Europe circuit and at National events in the UK, culminating in October in reaching the national 12U Finals held at Bath, another great achievement given the nature of the very fragmented tennis year we have had.
Sophie has shown great resilience, determination and dedication in continuing with her tennis journey and we all wish her very well as tennis starts to unfold throughout 2021.
Nominations open in September