Club News


Emma Raducanu Inspires All at Club Finals

Emma Raducanu Inspires Young (and Older) to Play More Tennis Better!


Together with most of the nation, junior members of Stowmarket Lawn Tennis Club stayed up with their families to watch Emma Raducanu’s triumphant performance in the Ladies Finals at the US Open on Saturday night. For Izzy and Joshua Legg, there was extra excitement because they were backing Emma in the Club’s Fantasy Tennis competition – scoring extra points for every round that she won!


The Club feels a special connection to Emma because Andrew Richardson, her childhood coach and the man who has supported her this summer in the USA, is a member at Stowmarket with his family. We added to the thousands of congratulatory messages to him as soon as the match finished. Stowmarket Lawn Tennis Club was buzzing with excitement with its members’ WhatsApp groups providing a point by point commentary on the match to each other on Saturday night.


The buzz continued on Sunday morning as 100+ members and their families turned up at its site in the heart of Stowmarket for the Club’s Annual Championship Tournament. Matches were played in all categories by children, adults and veterans from 9am until nearly 9pm, with trophies awarded by the town’s Mayor, Cllr Keith Scarff. One player, Mary Watson, and Club Ladies Singles Champion, was on court all that time – and she has more than 5 decades on Emma Raducanu!


A huge team of volunteers provided the BBQ, teas and ice creams; and Anna Astin from Cook of Woodbridge provided the cakes. This was the Club’s first chance to resume social events since the pandemic started, and really celebrate its illustrious 120th birthday.


In 2020, for the first time in living memory, the tournament could not be held because of the pandemic – and the regulations meant the club was closed for 23 weeks out of 52 last year. Membership fell from its usual 217 members to 166 in August 2020 but it is now at 315 and still growing. All over the country tennis membership is now booming. Locally, the main factors have been:

  • The effect of the pandemic on communities refocusing on health and well-being
  • The talent and commitment of our Head Coach and former professional tennis player, Ben Smith, who is supporting 80+ children playing tennis
  • It’s newly improved facilities that enable high quality all year round tennis, with fees for juniors only £25 per year
  • Reaching a critical mass of friendly members playing at all levels from beginners to elite young players, in a fast growing town
  • Increasing coverage of tennis in the media.


After Emma’s success and our tournament yesterday, a mother sent this message about her 5 year old daughter: “(She) really enjoyed herself and is keen to play more tennis now, so I have … paid for junior membership for her…(and will) speak to Ben about lessons”.

Head Coach, Ben Smith, said “Juniors were making posters of Emma after her run at Wimbledon… and are encouraged to watch tennis as part of their own personal journeys in the sport. Learn. Practise. Play. Win – and all with a smile as big as Emma’s”.


Joey (12) said: “I love tennis…I want to play more”. Her mother, Beth Hamilton, added: “Emma’s story illustrates that gender is not a barrier to becoming a sporting superstar or enjoying tennis at any level. I’m delighted my daughter has watched Emma be bold and enjoy competition”.


Ruby Melero (10) said: “Emma has inspired me to believe that, if you set our heart on something and work hard enough, you can achieve your goals”.


Charlie Barber-Lomax (16), with his partner Joe Warner (also 16), came close to beating Ben Smith (33) and Josh Scott (19) in the Men’s Doubles Final. Charlie said: “Watching Emma play and win on Saturday is an inspiration for young people like me. She showed the importance of strategically managing your play style and keeping level headed… both very important in the modern game”.


Rory Flanagan (9), the winner of his class in the Club’s Tournament, said “Watching Emma this summer…. knowing she played in the same competitions I am competing in now, makes me believe that I can one day lift those trophies”.