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Tennis Wales

LTA Regional Player Development Centre in Swansea celebrates National Academy selection


A LTA Regional Player Development Centre (RPDC) in Swansea is celebrating success after one of its most promising young players was selected for the National Tennis Academy in Loughborough.

  • Mimi Xu, who trains at LTA RPDC at Swansea Tennis Centre, selected for National Tennis Academy in Loughborough
  • 12-year-old to benefit from world class coaching, science, medicine, and welfare support, as well as mainstream education up to GCSE level from September

Mimi Xu is one of four players chosen by the LTA, the national governing body for tennis in Britain, to join its full-time residential training centres and both will begin training from September.

The 12-year-old is part of the second new intake for the centres, based in Stirling and Loughborough, which opened in September 2019 and provide world class coaching, science, medicine, and welfare support for high potential players aged 13 to 18, alongside an excellent mainstream education up to at least GCSE-level.

Mimi, from Swansea, has trained at Swansea Tennis Centre since 2015, working closely with a number of coaches at the RPDC. The academy was chosen to become one of 12 LTA Regional Player Development Centres in 2018 as part of the governing body’s new Player Pathway and performance strategy.

The RPDCs provide high-quality training environments to support high potential junior players aged 10-14, and the right coaching and athletic development for those aiming to progress to the National Academies. The LTA has also announced the opening of two new RPDCs at Edgbaston Priory and West Hants tennis centres, as it doubles investment into RPDCs to significantly reduce costs to players and families.

Mimi and the other three players selected for National Academies were all previously based at RPDCs, and their selection represents their progression onto the next stage of the LTA Player Pathway. The Pathway provides a clear route for high potential players to develop from playing local junior tournaments right through to major professional competition.

Mimi started playing tennis aged five and has represented Great Britain multiple times at Tennis Europe Winter and Summer Cups. In her career to date she was won both U11 & U12 singles and doubles titles at the prestigious Top 10-12 in Bressuire, France. Earlier this year, she also won the Tennis Europe Teen Tennis title at the 14U CAT1 Bolton International.

Wendy Chen, Mimi’s mother, said: “We are extremely proud of Mimi for being selected for the National Academy. We know how much hard work she has put into her tennis training. At the same time, we sincerely appreciate the unfailing support from all her coaches, Swansea Tennis Academy, the LTA and Tennis Wales – who all played crucial roles in providing Mimi with the necessary skills, technique, knowledge and opportunities in the past years.”

Ian Yates, LTA Head of National Performance Pathway, said: “I would like to congratulate Mimi on her selection, as well as the team at Swansea Tennis Centre who have been pivotal in her development. The fact that all four players joining our academies this year have come from our Regional Player Development is very encouraging, and an early indication that the Player Pathway is working. The pathway is designed to provide a seamless route for high potential players to progress from junior tournaments to the professional game, and it is very pleasing to see a successful link between two stages on that journey.”

For more information about the LTA Player Pathway and ten-year Performance Strategy, visit www.lta.org.uk/player-pathway-overview.

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