Published: 10:00, 21 May 2020
| Updated: 10:43, 21 May 2020
A promising young wheelchair tennis player from Hersden has been selected for a place on a coveted LTA support programme.
Ruben Harris, 13, is one of 12 high potential players chosen for the LTA Wheelchair National Age Group Programme (NAGP), which provides a variety of coaching, competition and educational support.
Harris has been able to benefit from webinars during the lockdown and said: “I feel privileged to have been picked for this programme. I will be training with the best junior players in the country, so this will push me to be the best player I can possibly be through watching and learning from others.
“The LTA webinars have been really good in helping me to stay fit and strong at home and I know that the support system is there if I need it. My personal coach, Will, has regular check-ins with me, too and sets me homework to do as well.”
The programme is designed to educate and develop players as they transition through the LTA’s World Class Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway, allowing them to be best prepared to become elite international athletes.
As part of the NAGP, Harris will have access to training and tournament guidance from LTA coaches, training camps, home training visits from LTA coaches and support to maintain a sport/life balance.
Harris began playing wheelchair tennis at Canterbury Indoor Tennis Centre two years ago and has continued to train at the centre regularly, under the guidance of coach Will Carnegie, despite needing to take time out for surgery in both 2018 and 2019.
Wheelchair tennis has allowed Harris to meet and make some good friends and while he was first talent-spotted by the LTA in 2019, his current ambition is to represent Great Britain.
Players who continue to show high potential at the end of their NAGP support will advance to the next stage of the pathway, the World Class Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme, which currently supports multiple Grand Slam champions Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett, Jordanne Whiley and Andy Lapthorne.
Rob Cross, LTA wheelchair performance head coach, said: “I would like to congratulate Ruben on his selection for the NAGP this year.
“He has shown great potential and now has access to a fantastic package of support which will hopefully allow him to develop even further both as a player and a person.
“While we have a track record of producing high performing wheelchair tennis players in this country, the standards of the sport across the world continue to advance and this programme is designed to help us stay ahead of the pack and maximise the potential of our best players.
“The LTA World Class Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway provides a seamless route for our highest potential players to progress from junior competition to playing major tournaments. I wish Ruben and the other players selected for the NAGP every success as they continue their journey this year.”
For more information about the LTA Player Pathway and ten-year Performance Strategy, visit here.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell