Bede’s Pupils Aim High at Tennis Tournaments
Elliot Stevens (Lower Sixth) and Imogen McNaughton (First Year) have delivered impressive performances on the tennis court at a range of external tournaments over the Easter Holidays.
Elliot competed in the Men’s category of Tunbridge Wells Open, reaching the semi-finals in the Singles and winning the Doubles tournament. He also reached the Doubles semi-finals in a higher-level tournament in Sutton, including a victory against the number 20 and 30 players in the country.
Imogen came away with the winner’s trophy in the Weald Open U14 category, and reached the final at the Paddington Open and Weald Open U16 tournaments.
Elliot has played tennis competitively since the age of 9 years old, and currently plays for the Bede’s U18As. He has played in a Bede’s team since he joined in the School in the First Year. Elliot says, “I really love the competitive side of the sport; although playing is very individual, you get to meet a lot of likeminded people at tournaments and I have made a lot of friends through tennis.”
Imogen, who started playing tennis at 4 years old and plays for the Bede’s U16s and U18s, says, “I enjoy tennis for a variety of reasons, especially the positive impact is has on my mental wellbeing. I trained with Mr Hanger (Tennis Consultant) and Ms Scollo (Head of Tennis) before I started at the School, and really enjoy their coaching style.”
Edward adds, “There is a lot of additional support within the Sports Department, especially with Mr Morriss’ Strength and Conditioning sessions, which cover physical training in the gym and additional lessons on focus and resilience.
“The academic teachers are also very supportive and understanding of our tennis commitments, which makes it easier to balance playing a lot of sport and meeting academic goals and deadlines.”
Elliot and Imogen dedicate many hours to playing tennis throughout the week; in addition to sports lessons, they each commit three afternoon activity sessions and several evening and weekend sessions per week to training and competing. Their dedication to the sport has played dividends, with Elliot playing at an international level and Imogen currently a few points short of being the number one tennis player in the country in her group.
“One of the biggest challenges of the sport is the strategic side; you have to make lots of split-second decisions that could make or break the match,” Elliot says. “I am excited to continue working on improving my rankings by playing in more international tennis tournaments over the summer. I would love to attend a university in America on a tennis scholarship after I leave Bede’s next year, and am currently applying for places and preparing for my SAT exams in May and October.”
Imogen adds, “Over the next few weeks I have some Grade 2 national matches coming up, which I’m really looking forward to. I will be focusing on continuing to train hard and gaining more points to keep improving my ranking.”
Mr David Byrne, Director of Sport at Bede’s, says, “Elliot and Imogen are truly bright and hardworking young athletes who show immense dedication to tennis and are thoroughly deserving of all of their impressive accolades so far. We look forward to continuing to help them develop on and off the tennis court, and can’t wait to see what they achieve next.”