Tennis/Squash: How Hallamshire is hitting the heights

Hallamshire Tennis Academy 'Enjoyment' award winner Matt Groves, centre, with coaches David Marray, right, and Jason Torpey
Hallamshire Tennis Academy 'Enjoyment' award winner Matt Groves, centre, with coaches David Marray, right, and Jason Torpey
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Tennis coach David Marray says the Hallamshire Tennis Academy is setting new standards, not only across the city but also the country.

The Academy recently hosted its first awards night at the University of Sheffield and Marray, older brother of 2012 Wimbledon men’s doubles champion Jonny, is delighted with its progress.

Hallamshire Tennis Academy mini oranage 'Enjoyment' winner Molly Pucci with coaches Isobel Dunn, left, and Suzzi Garnett

Hallamshire Tennis Academy mini oranage 'Enjoyment' winner Molly Pucci with coaches Isobel Dunn, left, and Suzzi Garnett

He said: “We have made really great strides recently. The number of regularly competing juniors has gone from 79 to nearly 100 and we now have five junior teams.

“Getting people to play the sport is the first step but once they’re doing that it is important they test themselves at the right level of competition.

“We have nearly 230 children in our programme which means there is good competition at all ages groups.”

Hallamshire Tennis Club on Ecclesall Road, where the Academy is based, was awarded the Lawn Tennis Association’s Club of the Year for Yorkshire in 2014.

Hallamshire Tennis Academy mini orange 'Passion' winner Luke Hoyland with coaches Suzzi Garnett, left, and Isobel Dunn

Hallamshire Tennis Academy mini orange 'Passion' winner Luke Hoyland with coaches Suzzi Garnett, left, and Isobel Dunn

Marray said: “We’re really going from strength-to-strength. The club had the highest number of participants in the country for the Great Britain Tennis Week last year and there have been some really good results too.

“Ravi and Medha Ivaturiw are UK Family Championships National Champions and Luke Naylor was Road to Wimbledon finalist. One of our most promising junior players, Olivia Noble, has achieved a full scholarship to Fresno State University in California for September 2015.”

It has been a strong start to the season for Jonny Marray too.

After winning the Chennai Open last month he is through to the quarter-finals in Montpellier with partner Colin Fleming after a 6-1 6-3 victory yesterday against Frank Moser and Divij Sharan.

The British pair play Kiwis Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak in the last eight.

Meanwhile, squash ace Nick Matthew, who is also based at Hallamshire is determined to prove he remains a major force on the world stage over the next week.

The 34-year-old is relishing the prospect of competing in back-to-back tournaments as he chases his first trophy in 2015. The Sheffield star, ranked three in the world, faces a qualifier in the opening round of the Swedish Open today. Matthew, a three-time world champion, has won the event on four previous occasions in his stellar career. The second seed beat Ramy Ashour in a thrilling final last year.

Matthew, who recently reached the final of the JP Tournament of Champions in New York, is aiming to reach the latter stages of the Open and the British National Championships, which begin next week.

He told The Telegraph: “I think the key for me is trying to back up the two events. I want to make a statement that I’m here to stay and that my performance is not going up and down and I’m staying very consistent.

“I’m looking forward to going to Sweden. It’s a tournament where I’ve got some great memories. It’s been a happy hunting ground over the years for me and so has the Nationals.

“They have been two of my favourite venues so I’m looking to carry on that success.”