Former world No.4 tennis ace Tim Henman heaps praise on Culford School's Academy programme as he coaches the youngsters in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:21 13 March 2018
TIM HENMAN was in Suffolk this week – coaching stars of the future at Culford School. MIKE BACON went along to talk to the former British No.1
Former British No.1 tennis star Tim Henman has heaped praise on Culford School’s tennis academy programme.
Henman, who reached No.4 in the world during his impressive career, has been taking an active interest in the west Suffolk school’s programme – a programme that has seen The Lawn Tennis Association ranking Culford as the top co-educational school in Great Britain for the sport.
“They are doing a great job here, with great facilities and some great hitters as well,” Henman said on his visit there this week.
“It’s a great set-up. Andrew Richardson (Head Coach) and I go back a long way. We used to play junior tennis together from about 11 and we played on the Satellite, Challenger and Main tour together.
“It’s great that pupils can be at school, maintain their education and have these facilities on site. I think if we could roll this out at other facilities around the country, it would benefit British tennis.”
Henman never have won a Slam, although he reached six Slam semis, including four at Wimbledon. He was ranked British No.1 in 1996 and again from 1999 to 2005, from which point he was succeeded by Andy Murray.
He carried that mantel for many years, as Murray has done since, but believes British tennis is badly lacking depth.
“The type of thing we have here at Culford is absolutely what’s needed,” he said.
“In regards British tennis, we still lack strength in depth.
“Andy has been at forefront and done so much, Kyle Edmunds has made some big improvements and Johanna Conta has been at the top of her game. All great role models but as regards strength in depth, as a country we are still pretty limited.”
Culford’s Academy is led by James Yates, a Level 5 Licensed Master Performance Coach and David Hall, a Level 5 Licensed Club Coach, leads the School and Community section.
Head Coach, Richardson achieved an ATP singles ranking of 130 in the world and 98 in doubles, as well as representing Great Britain in the Davis Cup.
“It’s really good time Tim is interested in programme. He’s been a great supporter of it and we are excited the direction it is going,” Yates said.
Culford pupil Kira Reuter was among those receiving advice and help from Henman. She claimed her third British Tour event after winning the Loughborough British Tour title at the weekend.
Another up-and-coming talent is Harry Wendelken. Fresh from a victory in Denmark, the Culford Senior School pupil finished runner-up in Lithuania at a Grade 2 International Tennis Federation Event recently.