My tennis journey so far

My tennis journey started at Wimbledon when I was four

Most aspiring tennis players can only dream of playing at Wimbledon but that's exactly where I began! I was scouted at school by the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative (WJTI). I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be learning to play tennis at the All England Club with the WJTI team, led by Dan Bloxham, Wimbledon Head Coach. It ignited a spark, which fuelled my passion for tennis. 

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I learned to compete when I was really young 

I love playing all sports but as soon as I started playing tennis tournaments I realised what fun they were. I enjoy being in battle out on the court, playing my best and fighting for every point. When I was five, I started playing regularly at David Lloyd Raynes Park. They organised lots of fun sponge ball tournaments where we were taught how to serve, rally and score. It wasn’t long before I was taking part in LTA tournaments at other tennis clubs around London.

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Despite the fact that tennis is an individual sport, I never feel lonely 

You are always part of a squad, and have your coaches around. I have made so many friends through tennis, on and off the court. AEGON team tennis is a great opportunity every year to get that Davis Cup feeling of playing for your club. I have also played for Surrey in the County Cup several times. Representing your county is really fun. My best Surrey experience was winning the U10 National County Cup last year with my teammates Kai, Jamie & Alex. Becoming National Champions was awesome! 

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A supportive family helps

I am really lucky. My mum and dad are very involved in my tennis, making sure I have the right training schedule and helping me to prepare for tournaments. My mum is my taxi driver, kit washer and at competitions helps me with practising, coaching, nutrition, physio, and psychology. She also cheers me up after my defeats! My dad works in sport and my big brother plays tennis too. HEAD Tennis has supported me for the last three years.

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Watching live tennis inspires me

I love to see my tennis idols and pick up tips from watching them. My favourite players are Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Jo Konta. Also Mansour Bahrami does incredible tennis tricks on the Champions Tour. In 2015 we went on an amazing trip to see the Great Britain Davis Cup Team beat Team USA in Glasgow. By coincidence, we flew home on the same plane as Team GB! 

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I have a consistent coach relationship

I have been training at Sutton Tennis Academy for the last four years. Each week I follow a performance programme of S&C, squads and individuals with my coach Shaun Malcolm and his team. We get on really well and have found a great balance of working hard on technical and tactical goals whilst having fun. I have recently increased my training to ten hours a week, including some Surrey and Regional LTA training squads. Playing a range of sports when you are young is really important for physical and mental development, so over the last few years I have also played a lot of football and cricket. I play different sports at school too.

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Tennis miles

Big tennis tournaments don’t always happen on your doorstep, so my tournament schedule sometimes involves travelling and hotel stays. In the last three years, I have played regional and national events in Sunderland, Nottingham, Bristol, Eastbourne, Southampton, Bournemouth, Birmingham and Swindon. I also entered my first European tournaments this year; the Ten Pro Dutch Bowl in Holland and Tennis Europe Halton. More Tennis Europe events next year will help me gain international experience. 

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This year’s highlight

In August, I was back at Wimbledon again, this time as a competitor, after qualifying to play in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Finals. This tournament has players from every county in the UK. I was representing Surrey. It was so thrilling to play on the same grass courts as the professional players. We even had a food allowance to spend in the player’s restaurant, just like the pros! 

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Could I be the next John Isner?

I’m very tall for my age, and already tower over all my friends. As my dad is 6ft 7in, I might be extremely tall when I grow up! My dad’s cousin, Will Jefferson, at 6ft 10in, was the tallest ever first class English cricketer. I wonder if I will grow to be 6ft 10in like John Isner? I could have an epic serve!

 John Isner is 2.08m

John Isner is 2.08m

I have just attended my first U12 LTA National Camp 

Training with the national junior coaches was very exciting and great for my development.  The camp’s themes focused on head, heart and legs and it felt like a huge landmark on my tennis journey. I’m seven years into that journey now, and I hope that over the next seven years, I will continue to develop as a strong junior player. 

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Henry Jefferson