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World-class Wheelchair Tennis star opens new academy

July 6th, 2015

World-class wheelchair tennis star Lucy Shuker inspired budding players with her remarkable story when she officially opened a Monmouth school’s new academy.

As Wimbledon got underway, the Paralympic bronze medalist took time from her busy schedule to cut the ribbon at the Haberdashers’ Monmouth Tennis Academy on Wednesday.

Opening Tennis Academy v8Lucy, who was left paralysed from the chest down following a motorbike accident in 2002,  made history at the London 2012 Paralympic Games alongside Jordanne Whiley when they won Great Britain’s first ever Women’s Wheelchair Tennis medal.

She said: “This academy is a great initiative and makes tennis more accessible.

“School is the best place to capture the hearts of kids with tennis and this will really help the sport to grow.

“To become a professional player, you need to have that love for the sport and be prepared to put everything into it. If you’re talented and work hard, you will gain so many rewards from tennis.

“It’s an honour to be linked to this great facility.”

Lucy, who is playing at Wimbledon’s Wheelchair Tennis event this weekend, trains five days a week and hopes to win another medal at Rio 2016.

The World #7 put pupils through their paces on HMSG’s courts, and was impressed with some of the talent emerging from the Schools.

Theo P, a 10-year-old player from The Grange who has just won a place in the annual World Tournament in Croatia, especially caught her eye.

“I never thought in a million years I’d be playing tennis at this level,” Lucy added.

“The fact I had my accident meant I had the chance to do that.”

The academy, based at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls, aims to inspire, encourage and nurture players to reach their full potential.

Academy members from the family of Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools will receive superior tennis coaching throughout the academic year, with access to excellent, newly-surfaced courts.

Children from other schools across the county will be able to make use of the courts during the holidays, and parents have already become part of the academy, playing every Tuesday.

Kerry Marshall, HMSG’s Director of Sport, said: “Meeting Lucy has been totally inspirational for the pupils, particularly when they saw her play.

“She’s at the top of her game and we’re so lucky to have her here.

“I’m so proud to see the academy open and we’re very lucky to have these amazing facilities – it’s been two years in the planning.

“Tennis is going to grow at the Schools now because of it, and performance will improve too.

“Every child will benefit, whether they are complete beginners or hoping to play professionally one day.”

HMSG girl Becky, 14, has been playing tennis at the School since she was seven-years-old.

“Tennis was really good here before, but now it’s going to be so much better,” she said.

“It’s so inspirational watching Lucy play. She has such a positive mental attitude towards the game.”

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