Eye of the Tiger: A Tennis Lesson from Tim Henman

Tim Henman Group

On Saturday October the 11th 2014 former British Number 1 and Wimbledon semi-finalist, Tim Henman came to give an exhibition match and coaching session at North Dulwich Lawn Tennis Club.

This was an historic event for a club which had previously dwindled to as low a 9 members in the mid-1990’s.  The ball started rolling when the club got in contact with charity Bright Ideas for Tennis, which it linked to on Social Media.

What is Bright Ideas for Tennis

Bright Ideas for Tennis is a Charity run by former British Davis Cup star Danny Sapsford.  The primary goal of the charity is to support tennis clubs across the UK by increasing membership numbers, raising participation levels and improving facilities.  Additionally, they provide clubs with a means of generating funds to develop existing coaching programs.

Tim Henman with Davis Cup players

How We Won Tim Henman

In the spring of 2014 a series of fund-raising events were held at a number of clubs.  The reward for the club raising the most money at these events would be a visit by Tim Henman, later in the year.

Through our contact with the charity, we held one such event on June 8th 2014.  The purpose of the day was to raise funds to update the clubs to shale courts to make them all-weather proof.

The day started with a coaching clinic, for adults and juniors, run by Danny Sapsford and Andrew Richardson.  Then there was a doubles match where the two pros played two of our own club members.  The day was a great success and blessed with glorious sunshine.  The money raised from the day totalled £4,810.

We were pleased with the amount we had raised, but unsure whether it would be topped by another club.  A month or two later, the results were in and it was North Dulwich which had raised the most – so Henman was in the bag!

Tim Henman Comes to Town

So, on October the 11th 2014, Tim Henman came to town.  He was accompanied by Danny Sapsford and fellow Davis Cup player Luke Milligan and Jamie Baker.

As before, the day began with coaching clinics for adults and juniors.  This was followed by the 4 pros competing in an exhibition match.

The event was a roaring success with over 250 people in attendance.  It was a memorable experience for all who came for coaching or to watch the doubles exhibition match.

Everyone was impressed with the length of time Tim Henman spent at the club.  After, the exhibition match, he gave an insightful Q&A session.  There was also the chance to challenge Tim to a session of keepy-uppy, with a tennis ball, in which he achieved an impressive total of 74 – the spectators watched in awe.

All four guest players were absolutely charming, friendly and spoke very highly of the day and the club – describing the club as “Having a friendly, community feel … It is a real tennis club.”

The event itself raised in excess of £5,000, which was an important contribution to the resurfacing of the courts.

North Dulwich would like to thank Bright Ideas for Tennis and Danny Sapsford.

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