National Finalists of Play Your Way To Wimbledon!: Huge congratulations to Tristan and Georgiy who qualified through the Surrey play-offs, and went to actual Wimbledon for the National Finals! They won a very tense first group stage match in deciding Tie-Break before winning their group. They then won both their 1/4 final and semi-final matches in straight sets, before an exciting showdown in front of TV cameras in the final. They battled really well, but just fell short by a 6-2 7-6 scoreline. Nevertheless, an incredible experience and achievement for our boys! Watch highlights of their final here!
Incredibly, all the boys representing Surrey at this year's national finals were Team Hawker squad players! Along with the 18U doubles, the only other event is 14U singles, and Lucca won the Surrey qualifier to also make the national finals! He did great, winning 3 out of 5 matches to qualify from his group, and win one knock-out round before meeting his match in the form of the physically stronger No.31 in the UK at U14's.
Surrey U14 Boys Champion!: Not content with his outing at Wimbledon, Lucca steam-rollered his way through a Grade 3 at Sutton, winning the event without dropping a set. Then came the Surrey Championships in Aldershot, where he had a sensational end to the season, being crowned boys 14U singles champion and doubles champion! He brushed aside some decent opponents on his way to the final, and then came through an epic, winning 3-6 6-3 (11-9) in a high quality match against the boy who had impressively beaten the top seed the day before. Well done Lucca!
Team Hawker Squads: New name, but the same dedication, high quality coaching and guidance for our most committed junior players! As always, squad sizes maximum 8 players on 3 courts. Click the link for more info, and for new enquiries, please contact me directly to arrange a free assessment and chat.
Big success elsewhere too!: Nicho and Fabian won the Grade 3 doubles event at Esher, beating much higher ranked opponents in the semi-final and final. Meanwhile, Sophie teamed up with Gabby to win a Grade 3 doubles event, having saved match points in their 1st round! It doesn't stop there, Fabian also won a Grade 4 singles tournament, as did Sophie. Meanwhile, Jeremy won 2 tournaments at Grade 5 level in the tougher U16 age group. What an amazing summer for Team Hawker players!
Paul's huge success this summer + Autumn Term Classes: Whilst our squad players were having great success in competitions, our fantastic coach Paul was enjoying a hugely successful summer holidays of camps, with attendance near capacity and smashing the figures from 2021! Needless to say, places on his side of the program are very scarce indeed. Please follow the link to see the timetable, and if any of the 132 places are available, or to join waiting lists for classes. Do also check out Nick's new skills & drills classes, a little further down.
Hawker Jets also successful in 2022's Team Tennis!: It seems a long time ago that Hawker Jets made their debut in the Premier Division, with Lucca and Nicho joining Tristan and Georgiy to make up our U18's team. A huge challenge and the boys were fantastic, scoring a number of impressive match wins, and also team wins vs Woking and Sutton (who shamefully pulled out at the last minute). At county level, we finished top in an U14's division, 3rd in another, and 2nd place in all the others! With many of our players playing up in age group, it was an excellent experience and a great effort!
To see the latest results, and read the latest reports, do check the Hawker Jets page!
Skills & Drills with Nick (NEW!): Taking over from Thursday Night Tennis, with class options on Weds (full), Thurs, and Fri. This is a great addition for higher standard players to add to their weekly training, and also a suitable session for competent players who can't commit to tennis, but still want to play each week. There are a few spaces for this term, please get in touch if interested.
New courts: After many disruptions and delays earlier this year due to the courts being resurfaced, we've now been able to enjoy our brand new courts, which are also available to hire 3 days in advance through our Clubspark page.
Autumn 2022 Preview!: We can't wait to get the new term and academic year up and running. From our re-branded Team Hawker squads to our mini red beginners, we're raring to get back on our brand new tennis courts this September!
We'll once again have many teams competing in this winter's Surrey National League Team Trophy event, including for the first time ever, an U9's orange ball team, captained by Paul and featuring his excellent squad of players.
Of course, it wouldn't be the Autumn term without FA Cup Tennis, our exciting internal competition that always culminates in an exciting finals day of high quality tennis!
Our coaching programme will run through until mid-December, and will include the usual weekend Matchplays for all age groups, as well as our usual selection of LTA graded tournaments.
Best sports interview answer EVER!: Well, it obviously isn't, but it's right up there, and sums up everything I'm trying to instil with our Team Hawker squad players, when working on mental/emotional skills for competing.
In May, Ronnie O'Sullivan won a record-equalling 7th World Snooker Championship, and when asked how heavily that number 7 had weighed on him, he replied:
'Not at all. Don't get me wrong, the records are nice when you get them. I've just never performed well when I'm going for stuff like that (who has?!). I just try to enjoy the game, work hard, compete, and enjoy what I do'.
Every word is gold! Whether someone is trying to achieve GOAT status in their chosen sport, or just trying to win their first Matchplay match at Hawker!
I know this is easier said than done, but all the skills we've worked on through last winter (and will continue to re-inforce), give our players the opportunity to take a step closer to developing that relaxed and superior mental state for competing!
Best book EVER! (from April): Kids can't concentrate as well today as they could 10-15 years ago. I've seen it first hand, and the research backs it up. Some of the examples I could give you of inability to concentrate are just ridiculous. This book explains why it's happening, and not just to kids. Johann Hari spent years travelling the globe, talking to experts, collecting the latest research, and experimenting. Social media and smart phones are unsurprisingly part of the problem, but why and how they are so bad for concentration is both surprising and alarming. They are also only the tip of the iceberg, with numerous other factors contributing to our diminishing ability to focus! If you're interested, then have yourself a read of 'Stolen Focus'!
This term, I'm experimenting with phone-free tennis for squad players for all tennis sessions and matches, and will continue to use drills and games that specifically promote focus and concentration.
It's important to say that kids who struggle to concentrate are not at fault in any way, neither are their parents. It's therefore very easy to empathise and be patient with this issue, but at the same time I do want to see if it's possible to help and improve things a little, watch this space!
Matchplay: Matchplay is a gem for local juniors who wish to compete regularly and without having to travel too far to gain match experience, and the opportunity to develop their skills in the match environment. It’s open to players from other venues as well as Hawker, and caters for all levels. Please follow the link for more info.
Richmond/Sheen Sports: You could go to an online retailer, or a budget superstore, and you may save a few pounds, but you won't get better overall value. Here's the best option, pay a visit to RichmondSports or SheenSports!
They are managed by enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable staff, equally passionate about sports as they are about the local community, where they support many local clubs and schools, including ours.
Your individual needs will be met in a way the bigger retailers can't match, in terms of better advice, a more personal service, and a genuine desire to fulfil your sporting needs whatever they may be.
Being part of Hawker Tennis also entitles you to 10% off, so you'll be getting excellent all-round value, whilst helping them to keep helping us and other local clubs.
Tennisplayer.net: I'm an established contributor on this world leading coaching resource site, having written 2 lengthy series of articles, the first in 2016/17 on 1-2 Rhythm, and the latest on Marginal Gains in 2020. There is currently an offer of 30 days free trial to access the whole site!
Racism: Check the link for the latest from myself and the LTA, though there is no update since the January newsletter.
Feel free to get in touch about anything at all.
Remembering Joe Horner (it's all too easy to forget, so this memorial will remain on this page. I hope people continue to find enough time to reflect on the growing issue of mental health, especially in younger people): Joe was a regular face at Matchplay during many of his teenage years. He loved coming down to play, to mix with friends and enjoy the special atmosphere. His highlight was winning the 2009 Summer Tournament Doubles.
Sadly, Joe struggled with severe depression from his early 20's, and his mental health largely deteriorated during this time. He was very open about his problems, and had so much love from family and friends, but tragically in April 2019, he took his own life.
I have very fond memories of Joe, because he really understood what Hawker Tennis was all about, and fully appreicated being part of it even from a young age. He turned into a fine young man, so considerate of others, and always a pleasure to chat to.
After finishing education, Joe worked as a keeper at Chessington Zoo, and then moved on to ZSL at London Zoo. ZSL work worldwide on conservation to help save endangered species, something that was very close to Joe's heart.
For those who knew Joe, perhaps you would like to donate to this cause, or write a few words on his memorial page. Links are still up to date in 2022, and as follows:
Summer 2022 - Multiple Regional Tour winners, Surrey U14 Champion, and PYWTW National Finalists!