Discussions with our Patron

26 Feb 2021

Zoom call with the Earl of Wessex KG GCVO

Discussions with our Patron

The Earl of Wessex took time out of his busy schedule to check in with the Real Tennis world. Representatives across the Real Tennis spectrum were invited to discuss their challenges and achievements they had faced in 2020.

The T&RA Chief Executive, Chris Davies, covered the challenges of the ever-changing COVID environment. This entailed working alongside other national governing bodies to initially restart Tennis and then to progress towards a rebuilding phase as we emerge from Lockdown III. This gave the association to broaden the understanding of Real Tennis to many who had never seen the game, at one point gaining the government understanding that it is a socially distanced sport. this remains work in progress.

With so many players working from home, it provided the opportunity to develop the Investing in Professionals (IiP) programme, engaging around 46 amateur and professionals who gave their valuable time and support to this new programme. The aim was to gain the buy-in of the current professionals, while providing a platform to safeguard the future of the profession. The invaluable support of the IRTPA was highlighted by World Champion, Rob Fahey, who has personally invested his time to ensure his fellow professionals gain the recognition they deserve. Carl Snitcher also played a key role to ensure an appropriate level of funding was available, drawing together numerous stakeholders from across the Real Tennis world and, alongside Peter Luck-Hille, was the driving force behind the Real Champions Club (RCC). In the end the RCC is the second largest funder of the programme behind the T&RA. The Earl of Wessex was delighted to hear about the progress and the remarkable sense of co-operative spirit which has allowed IiP to reach this stage.

Adrian Paterson, Chairman of the Hyde, spoke about the recent acquisition of the club from the local council, combined with the impressive step of gaining charitable status. More progress which was perhaps inadvertently helped by the pandemic, showing that Tennis players are ever flexible and able to seek out an opportunity.

One of the more progressive areas have been the schools and Dan Jones, Wellington Head Professional, briefed on how children had kept playing at the school, maintaining their interest as well as providing physical respite to their lives. Wellington had also managed to run the Junior Open in November, with the usual four age categories, as well as other T&RA competition - the first since the Category Tournament were curtailed in late March.

Both Rob and Dan are looking forward to the Oratory and Wellington opening on the 8th March, and chance to see children back on court. For the rest of the Tennis community, we wait to see how the post-lockdown world emerges and the T&RA continues to push to restart our unique socially-distanced sport!

The Earl of Wessex is a keen player and has only recently completed his 2018 global challenge to play each court in the world, while raising awareness for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, as well as vital funds for the scheme. 

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