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Tennis: Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis celebrates success

PUBLISHED: 13:58 06 December 2012

Elena with the EBAT players at the Red Ball Tournament

Elena with the EBAT players at the Red Ball Tournament

Archant

TENNIS: The Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT) are celebrating after their Olympic-inspired tennis roadshow recruited some promising talents – who have already starting winning awards.

The roadshow delivered a fun-packed programme to eight primary schools across Ipswich following an inspirational Olympics.

This resulted in 86 girls attending an introductory EBAT Summer Programme at Ipswich Sports Club, Henley Road, which ran over five weeks.

From this 65 girls joined the academy proper and started their sporting lives in tennis.

They have been training solidly for three months and are committed to a very tough training programme that has been designed not only to promote tennis but also to find the tennis stars of the future.

Academy director and Elena Baltacha’s coach Nino Severino said: “Serena Williams had a very tough start in tennis, coming from a deprived area.

“We hope that EBAT can produce talent that can be inspired by players like Serena and one day go on to win a Grand Slam.”

The focus for the first block of training these new EBAT girls experienced were two tournaments held at Ipswich Sports Club.

In the first Orange Ball tournament for the older girls, EBAT players Tewana Senah, Sophie Taber and Maddison Frost took first, second and third place respectively.

In the second Red Ball tournament, EBAT players Jessica Eagle and Ellie Merry-Kennedy took second and fourth spots respectively.

EBAT’s new players have not only been inspired by the Olympics, but also by the achievements of other established EBAT girls such as Sofiya Khalyaeva and Justice Hall.

These two players are now training and competing at a high level and flew up to Scotland to join Judy Murray, mother of US Open champion Andy Murray, for a training block at the Scottish National Training Centre.

Justice Hall is now being assessed for national status and Sofiya Khalyaeva is a national player who has already been selected to compete for Great Britain.

She now starts her tennis life on the junior tour, competing in Portugal this month and Sweden in January.

EBAT is the only academy of its kind in Great Britain. It’s an official charity that focuses on offering high-quality tennis programmes to young girls who live or go to schools that are located within deprived areas of Ipswich.

EBAT’s goal is to develop Suffolk into a hotbed of tennis talent, deriving from girls who would not normally ever have the opportunity to be involved in a sport like tennis because of the cost implications.

Elena Baltacha and Nino Severino academy director would like to thank EBAT coaches Chris Daynes, Danny Wyatt, Lee Tweed, Ben Roberts-Law, George Ayde and Phil Green who have all contributed greatly to the development of all the EBAT players.

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Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers says no-one at Portman Road is getting carried away by the start to the season the Blues have made – but they are ‘enjoying the ride’.

Ipswich Town sit fifth in the Championship table, with five wins from their first seven games – so why are some fans still so negative?

Ipswich Town Ladies face old rivals Norwich City tonight in the first East Anglian derby of the season.

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Ipswich Town Ladies’ unbeaten run came to an end against a dominant Leyton Orient side as two first half goals ensured that the visitors would be leaving with all three points, writes Ethan Turner.

Defender Adam Webster makes his return from an ankle injury tonight for the Ipswich Town under 23s.

Ipswich Town got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Ipswich Town beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at Portman Road to move back up to fifth in the Championship table.

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