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Tennis: Ball crews in training for NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters

PUBLISHED: 14:15 10 November 2016

The Ball Crew during last year's NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters (pic: CRH Media)

The Ball Crew during last year's NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters (pic: CRH Media)

Archant

East London pupils being prepared for event later this month

With just weeks to go until the first ball is served at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, a total of 63 pupils from nine different schools in the surrounding east London boroughs are already hard in training for their all-important role as ball crew for the event.

From November 30 to December 4, the world’s top wheelchair tennis players will contest the season-ending championship to be held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

Now in its third year, the Ball Crew Programme sees children in years nine and 10 given the chance to develop skills like teamwork, communication and initiative, while providing a world-class ball crew service to the best players on the Tour.

The pupils, many who have never played or experienced tennis are trained by professionals during training sessions held over four weekends prior to the tournament.

The schools involved include St Paul’s Way Trust in Tower Hamlets.

Many of the pupils who undertook ball crew training in 2014 and 2015 have had the opportunity to be trained as ‘Tennis Activators’, gaining the knowledge, skills and resources to successfully run tennis sessions in their schools and local community.

The top eight ranked men’s and women’s players and top six quad players at the ITF ranking list cut-off of 10 October qualified for the Masters.

Four British players — Gordon Reid (world number two), Andy Lapthorne (quad world number four), Jordanne Whiley (world number) and Lucy Shuker (world number eight) — will all be flying the flag for Britain later this month, with tennis fans able to watch the action for as little as £1 per ticket.

For information on the NEC Wheelchair Masters event and to buy tickets, click here.


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