Swansea’s Francesca Lewis named Performance Coach of the Year
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Francesca Lewis has been crowned a national winner at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards.
The Swansea based tennis coach has scooped the LTA’s Performance Coach of the Year Award after being recognised for delivering a consistently successful coaching programme and thinking innovatively outside the box during lockdown.
Lewis, who operates at the Regional Performance Development Centres in Swansea as part of the LTA Performance Pathway, has adapted creatively to the demands of the pandemic, fostered a welcoming and inclusive environment and showed sustained leadership and teamwork in her wide-ranging role.
She was announced as the winner by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Paralympian and Chair of ukactive, in at a live-streamed awards ceremony presented by Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.
The LTA Tennis Awards are now in their sixth year and celebrate the achievements and contributions of outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players across the country.
And Lewis was hand-picked as one of 16 national winners recognised at the awards ceremony last Thursday, which honoured individuals involved in tennis at grassroots, county, regional and national level.Francesca Lewis has been crowned a national winner at the prestigious LTA Tennis Awards.
Nominations were drawn from over 25,000 volunteers, nearly 5,000 coaches and 1,000 officials, 22,000 schools, nearly 3,000 clubs and over 9,000 LTA approved tournaments, with Lewis recognised for her inspirational work in Wales.
Lewis is the first female Head Coach of an LTA Regional Player Development Centre, and in 2020, was coach to two junior players who were ranked No.1 in Great Britain. She was appointed captain of the GB under 16 girls’ team for the Winter Cup.
During the period of lockdown restrictions she has continued to inspire those she coached with online challenges, tasks, and virtual coaching sessions, and gone out of her way to gain knowledge and experience from some of the UK's leading coaches.
Lewis has also founded 'Fran's Foundation' which supports underprivileged families and young people to access tennis in Swansea and the surrounding area.
The quality and quantity of the nominations demonstrate outstanding work that has been done in tennis through the pandemic and David Rawlinson, LTA President, said: “The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive.
“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.
“The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the tremendous positive contributions the nominees have made to the sport and to their communities has been tremendously uplifting.”
National runners up
Helen Parish is Head of Performance at Billericay Tennis Club. As well as being instrumental in helping a record number of juniors achieve selection for county and regional pathways, three of her players were chosen for National Age Group Programmes. Helen was also recently asked to join the LTA Female Performance Coach Engagement Programme.
Craig Veal’s innovative approach to coaching has developed many top British junior players including Arthur Fery and Lily Miyazaki. Craig is also coach to 2020 Roland Garros women’s doubles finalist Alexa Gaurachi. He is a good team player, extremely professional and regularly goes above and beyond to ensure his players succeed.
LTA Performance Coach of the Year 2021 – National Shortlist
- Ryan Bougard from Devon
- Mark Hilton from Cheshire
- Mark Openshaw from Scotland
- Helen Parish from Essex
- Craig Veal from Surrey
- Claire Williamson from Warwickshire
- Richard Crabtree in Leeds
- Ali Filmer in London
- Francesca Lewis in Swansea
- Rob Morgan from Bolton
- Ben Collingwood from Norfolk