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The Heron Tennis Centre's Ace Academy: Developing Top Players

Since the opening of Newquay's Heron Tennis Centre (Cornwall's only professionally run tennis venue and the home of Cornwall LTA), one of it's main aims has been to offer talented, aspiring and committed young players the opportunities to fulfill their potential. Heron's Ace Academy offers players these opportunities by providing a structure, which includes: small squad coaching sessions; fitness programmes; structured hitting sessions; practice matches; watching and learning from professional players by visiting the Wimbledon qualifying event; making annual plans and setting goals; clay court competitions in Germany; and tournament visits. Ace Academy works closely with local primary schools and also secondary schools. For example, both Truro School and Tretherras School provide flexibility and allowances in pupils' weekly schedules to those few players who are deserving in order to help them maintain their serious tennis programmes. Ace Academy provides the stepping stones for aspiring players: from playing once a week on Heron's Saturday and Sunday Fun Coaching sessions; to after school squad sessions; to the Ace Academy's small squads; to representing Heron's club team and the Cornwall teams; and competing in junior and senior individual competitions in Cornwall, the South-west, other venues around Britain, and overseas e.g. Germany. As players progress into their teenage years, some may aim to play university tennis in the US and UK by way of tennis scholarships, which has been a proven stepping stone to playing pro tennis during a degree and after graduation. Ace Academy is also thankful for its close links with other programmes, which provide our players with access to extra training sessions.

In addition to developing local young talent in the Newquay area, players from around Cornwall have also been attracted to our Ace Academy. One of those players is Claire Tresidder, from Falmouth, who has been a County Champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles on numerous occasions, in both junior and senior events. Claire is one of the most successful female players in Cornish history! In a recent interview, Claire explained why she joined Ace Academy and how it has helped her tennis development:

  "I joined Heron's Ace programme during my 4th year at Truro School. I was going through a stage of uncertainty with my tennis. I knew I wanted to become a successful tennis player, but I was unsure of the  path to take in order to achieve it.Through the relationship formed with Truro School and the Heron Tennis Centre, I was introduced to Steve Askey (Ace's Director of Coaching). He provided me with a training and competition programme, which enabled me to have a focused approach to my tennis while maintaining my studies at school.With the off court support of Terry Askey (Heron's Managing Director) and the on court support with Steve and Matt Trudgeon (Ace's Head Pro), my tennis improved considerably in a very short period of time. Steve travelled around the the UK to tournaments with me such as the British Junior Nationals and British Tour tournaments where I achieved some very notable results, improving the round I reached every time. Ever since joining the Heron Tennis Centre I have won the Ladies County Championships each year, and it has been clear to see there is a link between my move to Heron and my on court achievements.I am now going to study Business Studies with Accounting and Finance at The University of West of England. I will continue to compete nationally with my tennis and will train in Bristol and Bath University. The on and off court support provided at Heron and Ace is second to none and I can only thank Terry, Steve and Matt for all their hardwork. I will remain in close contact with them all and look forward to basing my tennis at Heron when I am home."