Group with Prince Edward in Washington

Prince Edward's 2018 Challenge

HRH The Earl of Wessex, the T&RA Patron, started his 2018 Challenge to play three sets of doubles on every Real Tennis court in the world within the year.

It began in January at the Cambridge University Real Tennis Club where he was first introduced to the game. Over the following 45 weeks, HRH travelled around Britain, Ireland, France, Australia and the USA visiting 52 courts in 47 locations, and played on 50 of them (5 clubs have 2 courts; 2 were not playable). Only one court refused permission! Along the way he played 151 sets with 438 different players and 1,877 individual games, the final tally being 882 against and 995 for. The odyssey concluded at the Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court, where HRH played with two current world champions (Rob and Claire Fahey) and Penny Lumley, former world champion, followed by a finale playing with Tim Henman against Nick Wood and Johanna Konta.

Prince Edward in action
Prince Edward in action
Prince Edward & Tim Henman vs. Johanna Konta & Nick Wood
Prince Edward & Tim Henman vs. Johanna Konta & Nick Wood
Prince Edward in Cambridge
Prince Edward in Cambridge

2018 also marked 30 years of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, which today comprises more than 130 countries and territories. The connection is simply that Tennis is how the HRH completed both the Physical Recreation section and ultimately his Gold Award, albeit a long time ago! HRH believes that Tennis embodies what he feels the Award is all about: challenging yourself, trying new things, setting a goal, discovering passions, having fun and making life-long friends. The Challenge succeeded in raising awareness of the game among the next generation as well as raising more than £2m for the charity so that it could continue to reach many more young people, especially those at risk and marginalised, and give them the same opportunity and to discover their passion, their purpose and their place in the world.

The Final Word from Prince Edward

The Tennis Challenge exceeded everyone’s expectations.

The clubs rose to the occasions, far more people turned out to support, local DofE units responded brilliantly to the opportunity, and more than a thousand young people discovered a new sport they had never even known existed.

In fact, the Tennis community was so impressed by the reaction of the DofE Units that the Dedanists’ Foundation has developed a programme for DofE participants at Bronze level, which any of the clubs can refer to if participants come knocking on their doors. They intent to develop appropriate programmes for Silver and Gold levels.

Thank you, one and all, for being so welcoming and supportive. I really appreciate it and am so glad that there will be a legacy which is more than just financial.

HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO

The Tennis and Rackets Association is grateful for the sponsorship and support of:

Logo - Tennis and Rackets
Lead Sponsor for Tennis
Logo - Brown Advisory
Lead Sponsor for Rackets