It’s not every day that a Grand Slam champion turns up to surprise you at your tennis session.
For some of the pupils at Sacred Hearts School in Hammersmith, it was a day they’ll remember for the rest of their lives as 2021 US Open title winner, Emma Raducanu, joined them on court to get involved in a host of games and activities.
The girls were taking part in an LTA Youth Tennis Leaders course with LTA Accredited Coach, Kate, and had been specially selected for a session at the National Tennis Centre after supporting an LTA Youth Schools competition during the summer.
Raducanu, who is an ambassador for the LTA Youth Programme said: “It was really fun getting to meet some of the girls and I feel honoured to have been some part in their journey if they decide to carry on.
“I’m really passionate about showing what sport, especially tennis, can do for young people. More and more girls are getting involved in coaching, playing and volunteering in tennis.
“Coaching and leading is a big element of what makes us stay in the sport and I think that having a female figure in that role can nice and warming for some of the girls. I remember myself, I was quite shy and I had one leader who was a girl and she made me feel a lot more comfortable.”
The looks of shock and amazement radiated around the courts as the girls got a unique chance to play alongside one of their heroes.
“She’s really an inspiration because she’s so young and has done so well,” said one of the girls from Sacred Hearts School.
“She’s got a really good personality and you can see her lifestyle is really balanced because she’s good in school. She’s a great role model.”
LTA Youth Tennis Leaders is our exciting leadership programme for young people aged 11 to 18. The programme provides young people, whatever their tennis ability, with the opportunity to gain invaluable leadership skills both on and off court.
Tennis leaders support coaches, volunteers and teachers to deliver tennis sessions on court, and support the running of a venue or event. They are a role model to younger players, members and school children, and inspire others to play. Off-court, they help volunteers, teachers and club management committees to make sure tennis is relevant, accessible, rewarding and enjoyable.