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World Deaf Tennis Team Cup

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reat Britain men’s team, Lewis Fletcher and Esah Hayat win silver medal at World Deaf Tennis Team Championships.

Great Britain have won the silver medal in the Dresse Cup, the men’s competition at the World Deaf Tennis Team Championships, after Esah Hayat (East Finchley, London) and Lewis Fletcher (Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire) narrowly lost out to second seeds Germany 2-1 in Saturday’s final in Antalya, Turkey.

With Great Britain contesting the Dresse Cup final for just the fourth time in the event’s 58-year history and seeking to win the event for just the second time, 16-year-old Hayat opened the final in the same way he began Great Britain’s campaign in Antalya a week earlier, defeating Germany’s Hans Toedter 6-0, 6-2 to end the competition undefeated in his six singles rubbers.

Victory over Germany in the first of four round-robin group ties had been the catalyst for a remarkable week for the Great Britain men’s team, who won all four of their group ties and Friday’s semi-final against Japan in a deciding doubles.

One last deciding doubles rubber would settle the Dresse Cup title after Germany’s Urs Breitenberger beat Fletcher 6-3, 6-0 in the second singles. With Fletcher and Hayat recovering from 3-1 down to level the first set at 4-4, Germany eventually snatched the set before play was suspended due to heavy rain. An hour later the players returned to court and Fletcher and Hayat turned a 3-4 deficit into a 5-4 second set lead, but it was not to be and Breitenberger and Toedter ultimately won the doubles 6-4, 7-5.

After wins in 11 of the 12 matches he’d played during his World Deaf Tennis Team Championships debut, 2015 World Junior Champion Hayat said:

“We are gutted to lose be final, but I’m still very proud of our performance this week to come second and to have won all my singles matches. We showed the world how strong we are and I look forward to having more success in future tournaments.”

For 33-year-old Fletcher it was a second Dresse Cup silver medal after he made his debut in the event in 2003, when Great Britain also reached the final against Germany. Fletcher said:

“So close yet so far! That’s the feeling I get today. Before today we were congratulating ourselves for getting to the final. We are very proud of that. But when you get so close, it hurts more. But we both had a great week so we can’t complain. Esah will have learned loads this week and I’m looking forward to more success with him in the doubles in future tournaments.

 “We also need to say a massive thanks to the support team here, too. Cathy (Fletcher – Team Manager and Captain), Alex Cockram (Team Captain) and Andy Graham (Sports Therapist)! Without them we would never have been fit and fresh for each match! Also a big thanks to the Tennis Foundation, as always, for their support behind the scenes and in enabling us to have this set up.”

 With the Great Britain women’s team of Phoebe Suthers and Valerie Copenhagen finishing sixth in the Maere Cup, the women’s world team competition, as both players also made their debuts in the event, Tennis Foundation National Deaf Tennis Coach Catherine Fletcher, said:

“This week has been unbelievable – the men did extremely well to make the final. They should be so proud of themselves for coming away with silver. The women were also one point away from making the semi-finals, so we must also congratulate their efforts too. And I’d like to say a big thank you to the Tennis Foundation for their support and also to my immediate support team, Alex and Andy – this week was a real team effort and I’m so proud to be British and deaf.”

Hitting all

the right shots…

Lucie Ahl
Former No. 1 British Player

Lewis and Catherine have a huge passion for tennis, this shows in the way they play and in the way they coach. They both take a lot of pride in trying to offer opportunities for all levels helping you not only improve your game but also to enjoy it. The level they have reached as players gives them a huge amount of expertise and experience. Above all they both really care about their players as individuals.

Julie Jones
LTA Tennis Development Manager

Lewis and Catherine have made a very positive impact on tennis in Wiltshire over the past 12 years and the LTA is delighted that their programme continues to grow and more people within the local community have the opportunity to experience the wonderful sport of tennis.

Roger Jones
Tennis Consultant and former GB Deaf Tennis Team Manager

Lewis and Catherine are fantastic tennis role models and wonderful Deaflympic athletes. I have no hesitation in recommending their coaching services to players of all ages and standards, from those wishing to participate occasionally to aspiring young champions.

Chunyuan & Tony Luo
Parents – Ramsbury Tennis Club

Tennis Xperience has helped us to recognise the potential of our 8 year-old son and facilitated us with their invaluable insights to help him in growing his skills, confidence and court manners.  Our son is passionate about becoming the best tennis player and absolutely loves the training opportunities with Catherine and Lewis who show their great patience to children and understand each child’s different learning styles and needs.  They make our tennis learning full of fun, challenging and rewarding.  We are very lucky have the best tennis coaches just right next to our door steps in our village.

Sue Mappin
ex Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation

Lewis and Catherine have been very stalwart ambassadors for deaf tennis representing GB on many occasions very successfully. They are young and enthusiastic coaches who will inspire many more people to get involved in tennis and allow them to meet new people and have fun. I wish them well in their coaching careers and hope they can continue to mix that with further representations at international level.

Ethel Hutchings
President of Ramsbury Tennis Club

I have been involved with the Ramsbury Tennis Club since its formation over thirty years ago and now it is a very successful club.  Lewis and Catherine, our coaches, are of the highest standard – one only has to look at the faces of both children and adults they are coaching to see how much pleasure they are getting from their lessons.  The improvement in the players is a joy to see.

Roger Henry
Junior Co-ordinator, Ramsbury Tennis Club

Employing Catherine and Lewis, as Head Coaches to Ramsbury Tennis Club, was an inspired move. Since the appointment the junior membership has not only increased but the overall standard of play has increased and many more players are keen to get involved. Their knowledge of the game and standard of instruction is as good as it gets.

Hilda Moore
Chair & Coaching Co-ordinator, Marlborough Tennis Club

Their energy and enthusiasm is boundless. Combined with their keen sense of loyalty and professionalism is a love of the game of tennis which they freely pass onto the people they coach.  It is rare to meet people who are at the top of their own game and have the ability to switch instantly from top level personal training to working with 5 year old beginners – always smiling and never downhearted.

Junior Co-ordinator
Great Bedwyn Tennis Club

Since Catherine and Lewis took over the junior coaching at Bedwyn the juniors have gone from strength to strength.  We have over 70 children now attending coaching sessions and Catherine and Lewis organise everything from ensuring they have the best equipment to arranging junior matches for some of the players. The children really enjoy the coaching sessions and Lewis and Catherine keep them motivated and enthusiastic. I do not know what Bedwyn Tennis Club would do without them both.

Fiona Clague
Parent

Lewis and Catherine have coached Sam from toddler through to a competent junior player in group sessions at Ramsbury Tennis Club, at Primary School and in individual sessions. Their talents as Coaches are exceptional – technically, tactically and mentally. They observe and tweak and coach the smallest of details and make the biggest of differences. They’re always professional, passionate about their tennis and their coaching always has the individual player’s best interests at the centre.

Lewis supported Sam as he entered the competitive tennis environment, providing structure and focus to his development, setting clear objectives, providing practical advice in the lead up to tournaments and guiding and advising us as parents. Both Lewis and Catherine’s roles in Team GB tennis have enriched Sam’s playing experience and provided active role models in the game as well as bringing up-to-the-minute sports science insight. We feel so fortunate to have found Lewis and Catherine.

Sam Clague
Wiltshire LTA County squad player

I like my lessons with Lewis. He teaches me lots of things and explains things really well. Sometimes I have to think a lot when he teaches me new stuff and asks me questions. He always makes me work hard and my lessons are always fun and Lewis is a bit cheeky.  Sometimes I even make Lewis work hard now too because he’s taught me to play better and better.  That’s his job.  To make me the best I can be.

Ewan Allman
Player

Catherine and Lewis’s coaching style and ability is truly extraordinary. Both of them have been crucial in my development as a player and also a coach.  Their knowledge is second to none and I wouldn’t be the player I am today without them.  They have taken me from being a orange ball mini tennis player all the way up to competing at the National Tennis Centre in London.  I cannot recommend their commitment and passion enough within the tennis industry.

Marshall Thomas
Tennis Writer

It’s been my great pleasure to follow Catherine and Lewis for 15+ years through their development as players, to competing with great distinction on an international stage for Great Britain, gaining their coaching qualifications and going on to develop their own coaching business.  They approach their coaching with the same dedication and attention to detail they need to perform as international players and I can think of no better role models for deaf or hearing players of all ages.

Bryan Whalley
Author of The History of British Deaf Tennis

Catherine and Lewis are an inspiration to deaf tennis and good role models for other deaf tennis players who may be seriously considering following their paths in becoming coaches.

Lorna Smith
Player & Parent

Tennis with Lewis…it’s fun, it’s hard work, it’s frustrating when I can’t “connect” but I just LOVE it!  Lewis has taught me for a few years now and has (most of the time!) managed to change my whole approach, as well as learning a lot about strategy and techniques we have had many a chat about how to process the frustration when it doesn’t go well and just get back to it and try to make the next shot as good as it can be.

Lewis also teaches our children aged 10 and 12, they started with group lessons when they were little and loved their weekly hour of fun with their friends without really realising how much technique they were also learning. Now they both really enjoy it as a game and play well within their pier groups and in their teams at school. More importantly, over the years their tennis coaching has taught them to be resilient, to deal with disappointment and to realise that it can take years of hard work to develop skills.  One day they will understand that Lewis has been teaching them a myriad of  “life lessons” over the years and how truly lucky they have been to have him as their coach.

George Wardley
Club Performance & Wiltshire County Player

Lewis and Catherine have been my tennis coaches for many years now and the lessons are always enjoyable, humorous and fun. They are both very inspiring to be around, teaching me not only tennis skills but life and mind set skills too. They have helped me become a much more confident player and my love for tennis started because of them.

Chris & Emma Wardley
Parents

Our son George developed a passion for tennis solely because of Lewis and Catherine. He started very young in their group fun lessons and then he pestered us for private lessons which he has loved ever since. Lewis mainly coaches George now and has been an amazing mentor for him over these last few years. We would highly recommend Lewis and Catherine to anyone as tennis and their lessons have been a wonderful part of Georges childhood.

Stuart Wilkinson
Former lead programme coach Tennis Foundation and UK sport elite programme graduate

As a coaching team Cathy and Lewis cover all the bases.  They bring a unique approach to tennis based on extensive coaching and playing experience at all levels of tennis.  I have personally worked with the Fletchers as players and coaches at both development and international level.  Passion and commitment combined with their personal journeys as coaches and players means that anyone who chooses to step on a court with them cannot fail to be inspired, educated and enthused

Fiona Waters
Parent

My daughter loves attending junior classes at Ramsbury tennis courts run by Tennis Xperience UK.  She looks forward to attending every week, no matter what the weather.  In a few short months the tennis classes have really helped to build up her confidence and she already feels comfortable alongside the other children in the class. The classes are tailored for your child alongside the more formal tennis tuition. Each week Lewis and Catherine try to vary the class to ensure the children remain keen and focused and they clearly love working with children and in return they get the respect of the children they are coaching.

Bryony and Dan Beck
Parents

The team at Ramsbury have been coaching our two sons for a couple of years now. Our eldest, who is nine, has come on leaps and bounds since the initial beginner sessions to a point where is is now competing regularly in tournaments. Aside from the structured lessons and excellent technical coaching from Lewis and Catherine, it is probably his mindset where we have seen the biggest improvements, from gaining in confidence to taking responsibility for both his preparation and post game analysis.

Our younger son, who is six, attends the group classes, but also particularly enjoys the one-two-one sessions with Neil. Again, highly structured, Neil gets to know the children he coaches and adapts the class and his approach accordingly. Neil shows an incredible amount of patience and really helps focus our son for the full hour.

Both of our sons enjoy an array of sports, but I would say that it is tennis, with the excellent coaching of Lewis, Neil and Catherine, where we have seen most improvement – not only in terms of technical ability but more importantly in terms of their all round approach and behaviour. They have both developed a real love for the game.

We could not recommend the team at Ramsbury highly enough.