Follow us on Instagram!: Join the 'fun' on our chosen 'unsocial media' platform! Hawker Tennis on Instagram!
YouTube channel: After more than 4 years, video 57 has finally been published! It may be a short-lived come-back, but it was a lot of fun! Do check out all of the videos via the video's page on my website!
Latest Covid-19 News: It's an ever-changing situation we face, so please see the section on the homepage for the latest.
A great start for our new coach Paul Stow!: Paul's made the best of a frustrating first term, and has already made a big impact on the program with plans for extra Matchplay and some new squads for the mini-tennis players. Paul is passionate about developing junior players, highly knowledgable, and determined to be the best he can be. His coaching philosophies ring true with many of my own, and we're lucky to have Paul on board.
All-Hawker Surrey National League Team Trophy Final gets played!: Just before Lockdown 2 in November, our U16 A's played our U16 B's at Hawker in the final of last years Surrey Cup. Tristan and Georgiy (the A's), beat James and Josh. I've been promised the prizes will be sent soon, so perhaps in 2023 we'll have an award ceremony for the boys! Again, huge well done to the 4 of them on such an excellent achievement!
Surrey Cup 2020/21: Before lockdown 2, Team Tennis returned, and we enjoyed some exceptional performances against some big clubs. Post lockdown 2, and our teams have had a few tough losses. It's always fantastic to be competing though, and these losses have provided excellent learning opportunities. We love Team Tennis, and take great pride in grasping the amazing opportunity it gives our players to learn, grow, and feel part of our amazing Hawker Jets teams! We'd love to have the chance to continue this season, with the goal being to win at least one title again. At the time of writing, no announcement has been made, though of course it's possible the competition will be cancelled. Roll on Summer season!
Premier Team Tennis 2020: This event was the only Junior Team Tennis event to go ahead from all that were scheduled for last Summer. It changed from a league to a knock-out, and was pushed back to the Autumn. We were drawn away to the top seeds Bromley! Our boys put up a great fight, but lost, and Bromley are currently in the South-East Final. Congrats to all the boys again for this Hawker first of qualifying for the highest level of team tennis in the U14's!
Marginal Gains!: My latest article series ran throughout most of 2020 on world leading site Tennisplayer.net, and looked at many different ways to achieve marginal gains in competitive matchplay, a crucial area of study as many sports have leaped ahead of tennis in this area. Tennisplayer.net to check it out, and there is currently an offer of 30 days free trial to access the whole site!
Individual success: Just managing to play in an LTA Junior tournament since March last year could be deemed a success! The Junior Circuit has been badly disrupted by Covid. That didn't stop Tristan having a bumper week in Chiswick over October half-term, ending up winning the U16's without dropping a set, and also the U18's doubles! Big well done also to James and Lucca, who have been training with the Surrey county U14's and U12's squads respectively, virtue of their high rankings. Sadly, this training has also been hit by Covid, but both boys enjoyed several sessions last term.
BLM (George Floyd's death already a distant memory?): Did you know the man who was responsible for the death of George Floyd has been out of jail on bail since October? The other so-called officers with him also out on bail. A trial is scheduled for March.
Earlier in October, LTA CEO Scott Lloyd followed up with a 2nd open letter, after his initial one in which he admitted the LTA hadn't done enough to fight racism in the sport. He invited feedback and experiences, and it seems that he received plenty. He said he responded to each individually. I wrote extensively, but received what felt like a pre-written reply, with no personal mention of what I wrote about.
Those who read my views in previous newsletters will know that I'm passionate about this cause, not so much BLM directly, but the overall need to fight against racism on all levels. I told Scott my belief was that his priorities should be more equal representation on the LTA board, a drive to get more people from under-represented minorities involved in coaching, and a commitment to educate the predominantly white tennis community about racism, and ways we can all contribute to the effort.
Scott Lloyd's October letter sounds good on the surface, but absolutely nothing of any significance has yet been achieved. You can view the new open letter and access the feedback form here
Winter Term Classes: This is the 4th consecutive term that has been affected by Covid, but we hope and plan for a return to the courts before the end of March. Please click the link for full timetable.
Matchplay: Matchplay is a gem for local juniors who wish to compete regularly and without having to travel too far. It’s open to players from other venues as well as Hawker, and caters for all levels. Those starting out shouldn’t be put off, as we often have helpers to assist them, and we won’t match players up where the ability/experience gap is too wide. We sneaked a session in on Jan 2nd (hurray!), and do hope we'll be back by March for more!
Hawker Tennis Squads: The success of our players in team and individual competition continues to speak for itself. We have a handful of spaces in our squads, and welcome new players to have a free trial, please contact me directly if you're interested.
Thursday Night Tennis (TNT!): 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. TNT is completely full currently, but if you're interested, please contact me to go on the waiting list for when we can resume.
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.
Feel free to get in touch about anything at all.
Stay positive and keep smiling!
All the very best
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 over the last 5 years. 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 as follow:
2019 - Hawker's most successful year ever!