France could be key in tennis development

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That’s the view of Andrew Evans, the new Channel Islands talent identification and performance coach.

Evans, who was a successful coach at Caesarean Tennis Club, is clear about his aims for this new role which he took up in January.

Now based at Les Ormes, Evans said: ‘We always look to the UK for tournaments but I’d really like to take advantage of France being so close and I’m planning a couple of trips over there this year – but also the children themselves can arrange to go to tournaments there.

‘France has a big competitive system and it’s on clay which is the best surface to learn on.

Playing in France you also wouldn’t have the pressure of the rating system and could go out and perform.

‘Going out there gives us a good chance to progress and you can always go back to the UK if you want to.’

Evans, who won a bronze medal in last year’s tennis singles at the Rhodes Island Games, will work with the LTA on talent identification and performance but will also be responsible for liaising with other clubs and carrying out squad training in both Jersey and Guernsey.

‘The challenge I’ve set myself is to see if we can get one step up the ladder.

We are, compared to the UK, bottom of the pack with all the County Cup teams in the lower groups.

‘I know the ladies’ team managed to gain promotion but lets see if we can get a few more as that would show we’re moving in the right direction.

‘I’m also trying to change people’s attitudes and the way they look at tennis in the Channel Islands.

‘People play a lot of sports over here and are committed to school sports but I’d like to see that commitment to tennis as well.

‘We have a lot of talented juniors but maybe they are divided between sports and end up, because of school pressure, playing the school sport.

‘Tennis gives a lot in life – it’s not just a question of now it’s a game you can play for a long time whereas others can only be played for a short space of time.

‘Take myself for example, I played a lot when I was younger I was committed to it and tried to do my best but didn’t quite manage it – I’m still enjoying it now.’

Finding himself busier than ever Evans will have to split his attentions between the two islands in his search for the future of CI tennis but, he explained, commitment has to be a two-way thing.

‘Tennis has moved on in the last five to ten years and people realise you need to train more seriously and do more to make things happen.

You’ve got to work at it and create your own chances.

‘There are more opportunities now and every club is trying to do something by taking groups away to compete.

We all realise getting out of this environment, playing matches against different people in different places, can only be good.

‘I’m really optimistic things will continue to improve but it’s not just down to coaches it’s down to the children and their hunger and desire to also improve.’

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