Young tennis stars are put through their paces
Six junior tennis players from Suffolk were put through their paces when taking part in the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) national Talent ID Finals at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, London.
The children, among 100 youngsters from across the country invited to the session, were: Oscar Cutting, 12, from Ipswich, who trains at Culford Tennis Club; Harriet Petley, 11, from Woodbridge, who trains at Ipswich Tennis Club; Noah Cutting, 11, from Ipswich, who trains at Culford Tennis Club; Ross Spinner, 11, from Ipswich, who trains at David Lloyd Henry Road; Travis Ireland, 10, from Ipswich, who trains at Ipswich Sports Club; Sofiya Khalyaeva, 10, from Ipswich, who trains at Ipswich Sports Club.
The players showed off their skills in front of the LTA Talent ID team, who were aiming to spot future performance players, who even at such an early age were displaying the right attributes that could enable them to make a real impact on the game.
Oscar Cutting, who is part of the AEGON FutureStars scheme and attends Culford School, said: “I like catching up with all my friends at Talent ID finals, we have a lot of fun and we challenge each other on court. We all love playing so it’s great to have a whole day of coaching and drills.”
Petley, who is part of the AEGON FutureStars scheme and attends Woodbridge Primary School, said: “I’ve been coming to the Talent ID Finals for quite a few years now but it’s always really interesting to see how much I’ve improved since the last one. The tests we do allow us to compare our scores and monitor our progression.”
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Noah Cutting, who is part of the AEGON FutureStars scheme and attends Culford School, said: “Talent ID is one day where you can show off your skills to the coaches and try to put on your best performance. It’s great to play against other players who love to play as much as I do.”
Spinner, who attends East Bergholt High School, said: “This is my first National Talent ID and I am really enjoying it. It’s quite hard work but really fun too and it’s great to meet all the other players.”
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Ireland, who attends Claydon High School said: “This was my first National Talent ID day, I have been to a couple of regional ones but this was my first National one so I was a bit nervous but excited too. It has been great, the drill tests have been quite hard but it was good to be challenged.”
Khalyaeva, who is part of the AEGON FutureStars scheme and attends Rose Hill Primary School, said: “Some of the drills are really challenging which is good for my game. I especially like the side to side hitting one.”
The day was overseen by LTA head of talent management, Andrew Lewandowski, who was impressed by what he saw. He said: “They have performed really well and shown lots of ability across a number of different tasks designed to test athletic ability, coordination, speed and agility, as well as a real natural talent and love for the sport.
“It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic and talented players give it their all. The LTA is committed to developing and supporting talent, and we now have the systems in place to give players like these the best possible chance of reaching their potential so I look forward to seeing them progress.”