Portsmouth’s Jenny Sayer named ‘Official of the Year’ at LTA Tennis Awards



A Portsmouth tennis official who gives up countless hours of her time has been rewarded for her efforts by scooping the ‘Official of the Year’ award at the 2020 LTA Tennis Awards.

One of 18 national winners, Jenny Sayer received the accolade from the governing body for tennis in Britain on account of her work refereeing and running at all levels, including disability competition.

Tennis competition wouldn’t happen without the dedication of nearly 1,000 officials who support the game from grassroots to elite tennis.

Jenny has legendary status at Portsmouth Tennis Centre where her passion for grassroots tennis shines through her work as the competition co-ordinator.

On top of this, she also finds time to be her county’s safeguarding officer.

In a virtual ceremony held on Thursday, Jenny was presented with her award by James Keothavong, chair umpire who has taken charge of major events across the world, including the men’s singles final at Wimbledon.

It is still sinking in but I feel very proud and honoured to receive this award. I want to say a big thank you to all the players, parents and colleagues that have supported me over the past 12 years.

Speaking about her award, Jenny commented: 

“This is such a wonderful surprise – a couple of my good friends and I tuned into the virtual award ceremony together, while sitting at a safe distance, which was exciting. To see that I had reached the top three was great but when James Keothavong read out my name as National winner, we leapt out of our seats!

It is still sinking in but I feel very proud and honoured to receive this award. I want to say a big thank you to all the players, parents and colleagues that have supported me over the past 12 years."

Currently in their fifth year, the LTA Tennis Awards celebrate the achievements made by outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players in Britain. To be in contention for the national award, Jenny had already claimed the County award for Hampshire and the LTA regional award for South West England.

Streamed live on LTA channels and presented by Leon Smith OBE, the national ceremony – which was digital for the first time in the awards’ history – saw Jenny pick up her award alongside 17 other national winners, including current British No.1s Dan Evans and Johanna Konta who were named the LTA Men’s and Women’s ‘Player of the Year’ respectively.

This year saw more than 2,000 nominations across grassroots categories including Young Person of the Year and Club of the Year.

Nominations were drawn from more than 25,000 volunteers, 4,400 coaches, 940 officials, 20,000 schools, 2,700 clubs and more than 9,700 LTA approved tournaments, demonstrating the extraordinary contributions of individuals and venues who help to open up the sport and bring new fans and players to the game.

“The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive,” said LTA president, David Rawlinson. “They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“To be named a national winner out of over 2,000 public nominations is a fantastic achievement so I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and extend my thanks to each and every one of them for all that they do to help tennis in Britain.”

National Runners Up

Alex Cleland

Alex last year attained his ITF White badge and officiated on the Show Courts at Wimbledon and the US Open for the first time. He chaired over 50 professional matches during 2019 and has been inspiring children by giving talks in schools.

David Paterson

David is an ABTO referee with over 35 years of experience. David refereed at nearly 60 events last year including a number of week-long tournaments. Having hugely grown Cheshire’s numbers, he now organises one of the largest Team Tennis leagues in the country.

LTA Official of the Year 2020 – National Shortlist

  • Alex Cleland from Shropshire
  • David Paterson from Cheshire
  • Jenny Sayer from Hampshire and Isle of Wight
  • Maureen McGuinness from Middlesex
  • Paul Pritchard from Wales
  • Richard Gardener from Scotland
  • Selena Coburn from Berkshire

To see a full list of winners from the LTA Tennis Awards 2020 click here.

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