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SportsAid Week 2021: Supporting the next generation of sports stars

SportsAid, the UK's leading charity for young athletes, celebrates its 45th anniversary this year – and this week is SportsAid Week, providing an opportunity to shine a light on the work they do to help the nation's brightest prospects succeed and achieve their ambitions – including many young tennis players.

This year alone the charity is supporting over 20 young tennis and wheelchair tennis players that are part of the LTA’s National Age Group Programme, helping them return to tennis after the pandemic.

A star-studded list of alumni

Since its foundation in 1976, SportsAid has supported tens of thousands of athletes by distributing over £50 million in awards. The charity's extensive alumni stretches across the generations with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sarah Storey, Steve Redgrave, Katherine Grainger and Daley Thompson all stand-out names.

Over 400 athletes competing across the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics this year received financial support, recognition and personal development opportunities from SportsAid at an early point in their careers, including the likes of Laura Kenny, Ellie Simmonds, Adam Peaty, Tom Daley, and Dina Asher-Smith have all received SportsAid awards.

However, one of the most high profile names among their alumni is now Emma Raducanu, with the newly-crowned US Open champion having first received a SportsAid award as a 12 year old and was supported by the charity in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

To help promote the charity, Raducanu joined other young tennis players for an exhibition doubles match at the Champions Tennis match at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017.

Promoting SportsAid's contribution to supporting the next generation of sporting talent

Taking place throughout this week (20-26 September), SportsAid Week is helping to promote the work done by the charity and their contribution towards supporting the next generation of sporting talent. The week helps the charity raise funds through their #MyMiles Challenge - encouraging people to undertake their own physical activity, either individually or collectively in aid of the charity.

SportsAid Week first took place in 2016 and was launched as a key fundraising drive to support the next generation of British sporting heroes, receiving widespread backing over the years. Back in 2016, Raducanu joined a tennis-a-thon where she helped raise funds for SportsAid Week and made her contribution to the #MyMiles Challenge.

Find out more!

To find out more about SportsAid Week visit www.sportsaid.org.uk.

Keeping up with the Brits: 20 September, 2021

It was a week to remember for the Brits on the ITF Tours with four players bringing home silverware with commanding victories over the weekend. Meanwhile, find out who has risen the highest in the rankings and which ATP event Andy Murray will star in this week.

What happened in British tennis last week?

Liam Broady reached the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger in Rennes last week. Broady – who has been in fine form this season – defeated Alessandro Bega 6-2, 6-1 in the opening round, before sealing a close three-set battle over seventh seed Gregoire Barrere.

In the final eight, Broady couldn’t find a way past third seed and eventual champion Benjamin Bonzi, losing out 6-4, 6-2.

Andy Murray also featured in Renne, but bowed out in the second round to Roman Safiullin, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

Ryan Peniston

After featuring in the final in Prague a month ago, Ryan Peniston also reached the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger in Cary. He beat Alexander Sarkissian and Christopher Eubanks in the first two rounds, but in the end, lost to eighth seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 7-5.

It has also been a good week for two players supported by the LTA's Pro-Scolarship Programme (PSP). A series of strong performances from Katie Boulter saw her come through qualifying to reach the second round at the WTA Portoroz. She eventually lost out to second seed Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-1.

Meanwhile, Paul Jubb went ten matches unbeaten to win back-to-back titles at the M25 Sintra. Having lifted his first ITF $25k trophy last week in Portugal, the PSP player backed it up with another stunning week, ending with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Alejandro Moro Canas in the final.

It was a first ITF singles title for Alastair Gray, who didn’t drop a set en route to being crowned champion at the M25 Johannesburg this weekend. He beat Jeremy Beale 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final.

Alastair Gray

Ryan Storrie became the third Brit to win an ITF title last week, after battling his way through a tough draw at the M15 Sozopol to upset top seed Kai Wehnelt 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 in the final.

Cornelia Oosthuizen secured her third title double of the season over the weekend after winning both the women's singles and doubles without dropping a set at the Open Internacional 'Fundación ONCE-Ciudad de Rivas in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain.

Rankings update

In the ATP rankings, Jubb’s back-to-back titles see him climb 45 spots to World No. 417. Meanwhile Broady rises six places to 139 and Jay Clarke is up 11 spots to 191.

On the WTA Tour, Boulter is the biggest riser as she jumps 14 places to World No.157, while Emma Raducanu reaches a new career high at No.22.

Photo of the week

One night at the Met Gala

 

Posts of the week

All smiles for the champions

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Paul Jubb (@pauljubb_99)

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ryan Storrie (@storrieryan)

Dom Inglot chats all things Emma Raducanu on his latest podcast

Team Konta on point

Jamie Murray shares insights on the doubles world on the ATP and WTA’s Tennis United

What is happening in British tennis this week?

Andy Murray returns to ATP singles action as the lone Brit in the draw for the Moselle Open in Metz. Murray comes in as a wildcard and has been dealt a tricky draw against sixth seed Ugo Humbert. The Brit has won their only other meeting in Antwerp back in 2019.

On the doubles side, Viking Open Nottingham champions Ken Skupski and Matt Reid take on top seeds Henri Kontinen and Ben McLachlan in the first round. Meanwhile Jonny O’Mara teams up with Divij Sharan.

Tara Moore and Emina Bektas team up once again in the WTA Ostrava – they play second seeds Zhang Shuai and Sania Mirza in the first round.

Broady heads to Switzerland for the ATP Challenger in Biel. The fifth seed will be hoping to build on the quarter-final run from last week and will face Andrey Kuznetsov in round one.

Jay Clarke is staying on the clay this week as he heads to the ATP Challenger in Bucharest. A win in the first round against Riccardo Bonadio could see him face second seed Radu Albot.

Ryan Peniston faces a tough challenge up against fifth seed Jason Jung in the forst round of the ATP Challenger Columbus.

Harriet Dart joins Peniston in the WTA Challenger in Columbus – taking on Rebecca Marino in round one before a potential clash with top seed Ann Li.

Top photos from the US Open

An historic moment like Emma Raducanu's US Open title win is the stuff of dreams for sports photographers. We caught up with Al Bello, Sarah Stier and Elsa Garrison, photographers for Getty Images, who were at the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the final and captured all the best moments of the Brits in NewYork.

Al Bello

1. Letting it all sink in

I like this one because it is a different trophy picture that is usually taken. It is more of a scene setter and it helps that Emma is looking back at the streamers with a smile on her face while holding the trophy.

2. Poetry in motion



I shot this image from a position behind the service line. It is located underground behind a cutout on the wall out of view of the public.

I noticed the light was right for this angle. The background was dark and the sun was in a good position to highlight Emma. I just needed a good stretch and I needed to time the picture right to get the ball on the racket.

I also shot at a very shallow depth of field to blur out the background and focus just Emma. It is a shot that you have to be patient as it may take most of or all of the match to get her in the right position. Luckily she did stretch and I was able to time the photo right.

3. The leaping volley

I like this image because of the way Joe is making his stretch to get to the ball and his shadow is doing the same. He looks graceful and you can see how athletic he really is .

Sarah Stier

1. At full stretch

I took this photo of Dan Evans from a dugout-style photo position that allows you behind the baseline on one side of the court.

I love shooting from here because of the point of view... especially if it's a close match, or if one of the players is very dynamic, you'll certainly be able to get a unique shot here.

Although Daniil Medvedev had Evans running this way and that across the court, it gave me this opportunity to capture Evans stretched out for a shot, face and body angled toward me. 

2. Realising a dream

With each opponent she knocked out of the tournament, Raducanu maintained a stoic demeanor that I found difficult to photograph. She didn't react much at all!

But finally, after her semi-final match against Maria Sakkari, she was all smiles, her eyes shut and squeezed together in a way the conveys the sheer disbelief combined with happiness that she must have been feeling. I was glad to have trained my camera on that moment.

Elsa Garrison

1. Doubles delight

The key for me with doubles tennis images is to find a moment when both players are in the frame. In the middle of a rally, Alfie Hewett returned a shot as teammate Gordon Reid was moving to his next position. This duo dominated the U.S. Open.

2. Hear Evo's roar

When Dan Evans and Alexei Popyrin went into a fifth set, I knew that whoever won would react more than the normal fist pump. Court 17 was packed with fans - I had a plan to shoot the initial moment tight before I shot wide to show the packed court.

3. A moment of disbelief

This image is right after match point at the U.S. Open Women's Singles Final. History had been made after Raducanu became the first qualifier not only to reach the final, but to win the championship.

Paul Jubb wins first ITF M25 title in Portugal

Rising British star, Paul Jubb won his first ITF M25 singles event in Portugal over the weekend after defeating eighth seed Santiago Rodriguez Taverna 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

The 21-year-old, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, only dropped one set en route to lifting the title in Sintra.

Jubb had to battle past two Brits in the opening rounds - beating qualifier Alistair Gray 6-4, 6-4 to kick start his campaign, before knocking out third seed Anton Matusevich 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1).

In the quarter-finals, the LTA Youth ambassador faced arguably his toughest contest up against American Govind Nanda.

Both of their previous meetings had gone the distance with the Brit clinching a close victory and this match was no different. Nanda levelled the scores at one set apiece after a dominant first set from Jubb but the Brit once again proved too strong. He bounced back to seal the deciding set 6-2 and marched on to his fourth ITF semi-final of the season.

Having claimed two M15 titles in Egypt this season, Jubb came into the final full of confidence and looking to win the biggest trophy of his career to date. He edged the opening set and stormed on to victory with a commanding all round performance.

"I'm very happy to have taken the title last week - I had a couple of strong performances that will be great to build from," said Jubb.

"Prior to coming here I had been really pushing myself in practice and I'm coming back from injury so it's nice to get a bit of a reward from that.

"Now it's straight on to the next, I'm not satisfied - I'm trying to push on to the next level now. I've got to keep pushing and moving forward so I can finish the year as strong as I can."

Jubb stayed in Sintra to play the next installment of the event this week and has already made it through to the quarter-finals.

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