The annual Tennis Wales awards have recognised the people and organisations that have contributed most to tennis in Wales during the past year.
The ceremony, was hosted by TV presenter Lewis Vaughan Jones, and took place on Saturday 26 January 2019 at the St Davids Hotel, Ewloe. The 13 award categories recognised the achievements of players, volunteers, coaches, education providers, clubs and centres from across Wales during 2018.
Simon Johnson, Interim CEO at Tennis Wales said:
“The Tennis Wales Awards are our opportunity to thank, recognise & reward all the amazing people who take part in our sport each year. From our volunteers, tennis coaches, officials, charitable partners and of course the people playing the game, it’s a great celebration for those involved. I’d like to thank everyone who gives up their time for the love of the game for all their work”.
Young Person (sponsored by Inspire2Coach) – Jonathon Dawes (Rhyl Tennis Club)
Jonathon has been involved in running local and national events; at a local level he ran an open day at Rhyl Tennis Club, which saw many participants picking up a racket for the first time he also run a Sport Wales Bronze and Silver Young Ambassador conference which included running a cardio tennis session for 90 Denbighshire Young Ambassadors for all ages. On a national scale Jonathon has been involved in running the Sport Wales National Young Ambassadors Conference for young people across Wales teaching them valuable skills which will help young people in the future. Jonathon was also awarded with a British Citizen Award for Volunteering in 2018.
Volunteer – Vicki Broadbent (Mold Tennis Club and North Wales, Chair)
Vicki works tirelessly to increase the participation of tennis in a region that has been through a difficult couple of years. Vicki has turned the North Wales committee around as chairwoman ensuring transparency and policies are at the forefront. She dedicates all her time to improving ‘fair play ‘across all areas of tennis. Vicki has worked hard to increase the number of players in LTA county pathway and in 2018 more coaches attended a level 1 course than ever before. Her dedication and hours of commitment are never ending and she always works with a smile.
Education – Cardinal Newman PE Department (Rhondda Cynon Taff)
Cardinal Newman High School is currently in the third year of the “School of Tennis” programme. In 2018 pupils from Year 7 to10 experienced tennis during curriculum time lessons resulting in 495 pupils completing a minimum of one unit of tennis lessons, (six weeks) which equates to almost 3000 learner hours of tennis. This number has increased every year since the project started. During the Winter Term 380 pupils completed a Cardio Tennis unit of work. Across all of last year the school delivered 4020 learner hours (on the curriculum) of tennis to 600 learners. To be able to deliver effectively the whole of the PE department have attended the Teachers Tennis award and two are Level two Tennis coaches. One of the staff has also become a Tennis Wales Ambassador.
Disability Programme Award – Newport LIVE Tennis Centre
Newport LIVE have increased the number of disabled participants regularly engaging in their programme from 12 to 27 this has included the development of a specific adult wheelchair tennis session and a partnership with a newly opened school for those on the Autistic Spectrum. The Centre provides a quality, accessible and affordable programme that offers a wide range of opportunities for disabled people to participate in Tennis. As part of this commitment they offer both inclusive sessions that are open to all and impairment specific sessions that are open to both disabled Junior and Adult players. The Centre pride themselves on delivering excellent customer service to all participants regardless of impairment or disability, our volunteers and coaches attend regular CPD around inclusion and disability to ensure this is the case.
Coach of the Year – Craig Ingham (Swansea Tennis Academy)
In 2018 Craig played a leading role in securing Wales' only Regional and Local Performance Development Centre for performance players. Craig creates a learning environment year in year out at the Centre that not only makes children love the game but focusses on providing them with every opportunity they need to progress onto the next stage of the pathway. Craig prides himself on creating a team where players, parents, coaches and Centre staff all share a common goal and work together to achieve it.
Community Venue – ANEURIN Leisure
Aneurin Leisure provides tennis sessions, as part of the LTA SERVES Programme based at Tredegar Sports Centre. These sessions are delivered at the right place, time, price and in the right style to meet the needs of disadvantaged young people. Once a week delivery provides young people with a safe place to take part in tennis and the coach gives them ownership on the design of the sessions so they keep coming back and playing regularly. A lot of these young people have never played tennis before. The centre also supports young people to develop as volunteers who shadow coaches and support the sessions.
Official – Mark Wilkinson
Over the past three years Mark has been the Tournament Director at the Welsh National Championships. He has a high level of professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication to make the 'customer journey' at this event a highly satisfying one for players and parents alike. In recent years he has taken on a higher level of responsibility which included a lot of pre-event work to ensure everything was in place to run a top-level tournament. He has overseen a positive transition of the event with the introduction of new strands such as a family competition, wheelchair events and moving from one venue to another on an annual basis. His attention to detail is second to none and he ensures every step has been taken to delivering a positive outcome.
Player of the Year – Evan Hoyt, Llanelli
In 2018 Evan's singles ranking rose from 1475 to a career high of 440. He also went from no doubles ranking to a world ranking of 260 which is another career high. Evan won his 1st singles title at the ITF $25000 level in Brisbane, Australia a week after reaching the final in Darwin. Evan also won the singles title at the Penarth Windsor British Tour event. In doubles Evan has won 5 doubles titles in 2018, including 2 at the $25000 level and one at challenger/$75000 level. Evan has also reached the top 10 in the British men's singles rankings for the 1st time.
Competition – British Tour, Penarth Windsor LTC
Penarth Windsor ran the first British Tour Grade 1 event in Wales for some considerable years which provided a high level competition locally in Wales to the ever-growing number of performance players. The venue offered a whole host of extras for this event which included free family housing for main draw player’s over 18, over 50 spectators each day and 250 for the final and free sports massage organised by the club. They trained & kitted out junior members to ball crew the final, plus supplied ABTO officials. Volunteers sweeping/dragging clay courts after each match, a website was set up and BBC Wales media interest was gathered with interviews and filming. The event had two full men’s/ladies draws with a 16 qualifying draw in the men’s. Plans are already in place with the help of its sponsors Chiltern Sports Contractors to ensure the club sees growth in 2019 with improved prize money and the benefit of having run one of the most successful Tour events in the calendar behind them.
Club Team – Cardiff Castle Men’s First Team
Under the stewardship and captaincy of Head Coach John Williams, the Cardiff Castle Men’s South Wales Doubles League First Team were again unbeaten in the South Wales 2018 Summer Doubles League, winning 58 out of a possible 60 rubbers and earning maximum points. The team have now gone 7 years and 70 matches without being beaten. Most of the squad have been developed under John's coaching from an early age and have a strong team bond and an all for one team ethic.
Team of the Year – Junior Home Nations Team
Home Nations event took place in September in Belfast. Team Wales won the overall title, with the U18s finishing first and the U14s and U12s both finishing second, this was enough to top the group and win the event for the first time since 2015 and the first time ever on Irish soil.
Club or Centre (sponsored by Chiltern Sports Contractors) – Caerphilly Tennis Club
Caerphilly Tennis club has almost doubled its membership in the last 12 months and currently has 116 members with 137 non-members accessing weekly activities. In addition, the club has expanded its coaching programme offering 24 sessions per week with a full pathway from tot’s sessions through to adults. The club has delivered 4 ‘Tennis for Kids’ courses, 22 Mini Tennis Camps with 180 children participating. The club has also carried out redevelopment of their tennis courts and clubhouse and also offers a ‘Family Fun Tennis Evening’ every Friday for just 50p per player for 3 hours of tennis which is offered to non-members. In addition the club trained 48 new tennis leaders, supported the Caerphilly Legacy Games as well as improving the club’s online presence.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Nigel Jones
Nigel has been a volunteer for tennis in Wales for thirty years. He has been involved at all levels of the game, from organising and promoting grass roots events to serving on the Executive Committee of the Welsh LTA. His many roles have also included Chairman of the South Wales LTA; Chairman Junior Events; Chairman Welsh Tennis Committee; Chairman Junior Welsh Committee; Organiser of Welsh Veterans Tournament, and on the Welsh Hardcourts Committee. He has also captained Junior County Cup teams, and arranged friendly matches within the South West region. Nigel has been responsible for events such as the Gaynor Jones Inter-Club Mixed event. He maintained all the LTA Winter League results throughout the 1990s - re-calculating the results manually! For over thirty years, he has travelled throughout the UK - mostly at his own expense, and mostly by public transport!
He visits County Cup events, Home Nations, Junior Welsh (he has missed just two tournaments in 30 years!). He supports the players, the captains and the coaches, and is well-known throughout Wales and the South West. (He often turns up with his latest batch of chocolate muffins to keep the spirits up!) His legacy has to be a demonstration of loyalty, passion and enthusiasm for supporting and promoting tennis in Wales.