MENTORING young coaches, increasing participation of children in tennis and working with disabled players are just some of the reasons a tennis coach from Havant has won a national award.
Ashley Neaves has been awarded UK Tennis Coach of the Year by the Lawn Tennis Association and was nominated while working for the Portsmouth Tennis Centre before moving to The Avenue Tennis and Squash Club in Warblington.
The 29-year-old said: ‘I was pretty shocked.
‘I wasn’t expecting it but I’m very proud to have got the recognition.’
Ashley added: ‘I want The Avenue to win club of the year and I want to get more kids into tennis, so we’re visiting schools and putting on roadshows to encourage greater participation.’
Havant MP Alan Mak presented the award to Ashley.
Mr Mak said: ‘Ashley’s award is recognition of his outstanding talent and commitment to helping the next generation of sports stars from our area.
‘We’re all very proud of him, and I was delighted to present the award in front of so many local tennis fans.’
There was an added bonus for Ashley, who saw British player Gabriella Taylor, one of his former pupils, compete at Wimbledon this year.
Ashley said: ‘It was great watching Gabriella on Court 14. I was her coach about seven years ago and it was fantastic to see that she has done so well.’