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Colour Holders

4 MINUTE READ
The best of Britain’s tennis stars – re-introducing Colour Holders

Representing your country in any sport is a special achievement, and tennis is no different. As well as being a highlight of a player’s career, Great Britain teams also connect with, enthuse and excite tennis fans in Britain like nothing else in our sport. That is why we have revived what was once a tennis tradition – the LTA Colour Holders programme.

Historically, in the same way a player might receive a ‘cap’ in football or rugby, when a player represented Great Britain in tennis, they received a Colour.  

The reintroduction of Colour Holders marked 125 years since the first players stepped onto court to represent Great Britain at tennis - at the 1896 Olympics. It has been developed to help acknowledge, recognise and celebrate players, past and present, who have represented Great Britain in the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup and Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup, as well as at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Colour Holder status was also achieved previously for players who competed for Great Britain in the Wightman Cup and Kings Cup, two competitions that have since ceased. Colour Holder status is achieved when a player steps onto court to play for Great Britain for the first time.

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Inclusive of tennis and wheelchair tennis

From the early days of the programme, Colours have been awarded to both females and males who have represented Britain. In addition, following the creation of wheelchair tennis and its subsequent growth to become a professional sport, World Team Cup representatives and Paralympians have been included as Colour Holders for the first time alongside Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup and Olympic players – all together on one list.

Unique numbers - a select group of elite players

A sequential list has been created depicting when a player gained their Colour Holder status in relation to their peers, meaning each player to represent Great Britain will have their own unique number.  

Since 1896, only 314 tennis players have become Colour Holders. John Boland became the first at the inaugural modern Olympic Games in Athens, while Joe Salisbury, Greg Slade and Abbie Breakwell are the most recent players to achieve this status having been selected to play in the Olympics and World Team Cup competitions respectively in 2021.

Key stats

Connecting the past with the present

There are currently 31 Colour Holders who are still playing competitive tennis. Once their playing careers come to an end, they will join the LTA’s Colour Holders programme, a select group of former players to ensure that those that have given so much to British tennis during their playing careers remain connected to our sport.

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Colour Holder list

Honorary Colour Holders

James Auckland and Frances MacLennan have been granted Honorary Colour Holder status by the LTA.