Tennis First fills funding gap

Tennis First, the charity that supports some of the UK’s top young tennis players, has provided more than £250,000 in funding to junior players in the past two grant periods – with plans to offer even more money this year.

The charity, which was launched in 1999, identifies and provides financial support to players that have the attributes needed to reach the world’s top 250 on the ATP and WTA tour.

Ken Weatherley, director of Tennis First, said that the charity fills an important gap in funding, allowing many talented young players to continue to pursue their dream of playing at a professional level.
“The Lawn Tennis Association just doesn’t have all the funds it needs to support young players with their personal development. While there’s a huge budget directed at high performance centres throughout the country, competitive tennis makes big demands on the family budget.

“That’s where we help. We know that tennis is an expensive game when it comes to developing young talent from beginner to tour level, so we take applications each year and direct our resources where they’re most needed.”
Taking a flexible approach to offering funding, Tennis First grants up to £5,000 each year and looks at applications each year. Making grantees reapply each year ensures that both money and performance are carefully reviewed on an annual basis to ensure players are on track to achieving their potential.

Tennis First grantees have achieved impressive results, with former grantees including Oliver Golding, who won the US Open junior boy’s title in 2011, and Kyle Edmund, the boy’s doubles French Open champion in 2012. Since moving into the men’s competition both have consistently improved their ranking to career highs of 352 and 276 respectively.

Another rising star, Luke Bambridge, has also benefited from Tennis First’s support and, having competed successfully on the junior tour, is now moving onto the ATP tour where he is currently ranked 616 in the world.
“Competing at international level is extremely demanding on many fronts for a junior player – physically, emotionally, technically and, above all, financially.

“The support I have received from Tennis First has been invaluable to me and my quest to become a professional player.  I will always be indebted to Tennis First.”
Tennis First also recently announced that it will support wheelchair tennis grantees for the first time from 2014/2015. Information about applications for grants can be found on the charity’s website, www.tennisfirst.org.uk.
All the latest information on Tennis First and its grantees can be found at www.tennisfirst.org.uk and on Twitter: @tennisfirst

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