Meet Alice our newest member of the 'Tennis in Birmingham' team

I’m Alice, 19 year old second year English at the University of Birmingham, trying to balance my work with the constant temptation to spend all my time watching and playing tennis.

My first experience of tennis (of sorts) was swingball in the back garden (which I can proudly say was also one of the ways Andy Murray first started!) and then on to short tennis at Centreparcs. I started going to coaching sessions twice a week at my local club (Burton Tennis and Squash Club) with my friend when I was around ten and have been a keen player and watcher since.

I particularly love watching tennis; this became more important and exciting to me since going to Wimbledon for the first time. I first got the chance to go after playing some matches for my school, and a group of us were taken on a school trip. Being a member of my tennis club brought the added bonus of being able to opt in to the club ballot through which I’ve been lucky enough to get tickets for Wimbledon several times. The excitement of amazing games, tense tiebreaks, the atmosphere of Henman’s Hill (Murray’s Mound?) while eating strawberries and cream alongside casually walking past Djokovic on a practice court games means it’s now become my favourite day of the year.

When I was 16, the head coach at Burton encouraged a few of us to take part in the Tennis futures programme, which meant most of my time during A-levels was taken up with spending time at the club volunteering as an assistant coach. I really enjoyed the feeling of giving something back to my club after they’d supported me for so long. My coaches (Alison Smith and Duncan Coates) are extremely supportive in having us get the most out of our experience, so since being at uni I’ve returned both for coaching and for helping out over summer fun days for the younger players. While I’m not the most competitive person this has all lead to a huge confidence boost over my tennis ability.

My experience of tennis in Birmingham since starting university has been less active. Although I’ve been part of the uni coaching, have played at Cannon Hill Park and have even managed to see the Davis Cup draw that was hosted here, I still feel that I haven’t yet explored the full opportunities that Birmingham can bring. Hopefully through this link with Tennis in Birmingham I can also learn more about what’s available.

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