A special day for Surrey award winners.
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
With our Surrey County Cup teams winning the 2018 County Cup Race, our celebrations this year needed to be something special. With this is mind, we held our Award Ceremony in the very special surroundings of the Courtside Room, in Centre Court of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Guests were invited to start the afternoon with a tour of the grounds led by the Wimbledon’s Blue Badge Tour Guides, before heading inside for an arrival drink. While friends from around the county caught up with each other, a small jazz ensemble provided live back ground music and a close up magician enthralled guests with his skills.
Called into the dining area, we began the Award Ceremony by celebrating the LTA British Tennis Award winners for Surrey. With 10 different awards recognizing clubs, programs and individuals around Surrey, nominations are welcome from anyone via the LTA website during September and October. With Michael Kurn, a Premier League TV Presenter acting as our compere, each winner was introduced with some background information before being called up to the stage to receive their trophy.
After the British Tennis Awards, we took time to remember Jean Sexton who sadly died in 2018 with a minutes silence. Jean is very fondly remembered by a number of past and present people in Surrey Tennis and beyond. Jean was instrumental in running both the Sheen Junior Open tournament and the Surrey County Championships for over 20 years, encouraging countless junior tennis players to play competitive tennis. Indeed she even encouraged at least two of our current Councillors to play. In 1982, Jean joined the Surrey LTA Council (as it was then) and in 2005 became Chair of the Performance Committee until her retirement in 2016. In 2001 Jean herself was presented with the Bernard Crouch Memorial Trophy for her outstanding contribution to tennis in Surrey. Justin Sherring, our County Performanc e Manager had this to say about Jean “her …enthusiasm for tennis was apparent in every meeting - I think she really epitomised Surrey Tennis and it was an absolute pleasure to work with her to advance Surrey County Tennis through the late 90's and early 2000's.”
To recognise Jean’s years of support of tennis in Surrey, a new award was named in her honour to recognise outstanding performance during the year. We were pleased to welcome Jean’s son and daughter on stage to present the award to our two very special 2018 award winners, Jack Draper and Joe Salisbury. Sadly both players were unable to come due to their commitments to play tennis overseas, but both were able to send a video message of thanks and Joe’s Dad attended to receive the award on Joe’s behalf.
Jack was unseeded in the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Boys' Singles Draw. While Kevin Anderson and John Isner played their marathon semi-final match on Centre Court, Jack was involved in his own nail-biting 4 hour and 23 minute semi-final against Nicolas Meji out on Court 3 which Jack won with a score of 7-6, 6-7, 19-17. Even though this was not the best preparation for the Final against the top seed Tseng Chun-hsin, two days later Jack put up a great fight, taking the second set in a tie-break before losing a closely fought third set 6-4.
Our second Jean Sexton Memorial Award winner was Joe Salisbury. In 2018, Joe climbed up the ATP doubles rankings, ending the year with an ATP Tours ranking of 30, having started the year at 107. Notable 2018 ATP Tour results include winning in Vienna with Neil Shupski and in Shenzhen with Ben McLachlan and runner-up in the Brisbane International with Rajeev Ram. With partner Yasutaka Uchiyama, Joe and Yasutaka won their quarter-finals match in Tokyo, beating Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Before breaking for afternoon tea, we recognised our own Surrey Tennis Award winners. Pre-dating the British Tennis Awards, the Surrey Tennis awards recognise coaches and players across the county with nominations for these awards coming from players, coaches and club main contacts. Trophies were present to each winner and for some special award winners, we had video messages of congratulations from around the globe, bringing tears to at least one of our award winners. To present the Surrey Tennis Junior Progress and Endeavour Awards, we welcomed Jacquie Beltrao to the stage. Jacquie joined Sky News in 1992, working as a publicist, sports reporter and presenter, having herself been an Olympic Rhythnic Gymnast. She was Sky News’ main anchor at the Olympic Park for the 2012 London Olympics and has been Wimbledon correspondent for Sky News and Sky Sports for over 10 years. Jacquie gave an insight into what it takes to be a TV correspondent, answering some questions. Jacquie is also mentor to Surrey player Emily Appleton and provided some advice for the junior players in the room.
After afternoon tea featuring pulled pork sliders, chicken skewers, bruschetta, mini smoked salmon bagels and other finger food, we kicked off the second half of our Awards Ceremony – this time recognizing over 100 Surrey junior tennis players who represented Surrey in the County Cup Race. Seven different County Cup events contribute to a county’s point score. The county with the highest number of points is the overall winner. There are over 100 players from across the age groups representing Surrey in the County Cup Race.
From our youngest 9 and under mixed team through to our U18 Men’s and Women’s teams, each team was represented by one or more players. Team by team, the players and coaches were invited up to receive their individual County Cup Trophy provided by the LTA. . Once all the teams received their trophies, Sandi Procter the LTA Councillor for Kent presented the Silver County Cup Race trophy to Surrey’s President Keith Glass. Sandi drew a few laughs around the room when she warned our own Surrey LTA Councillor Roy Staniland that she expects him to present the trophy to the Kent president when they next win the County Cup Race.
After all the awards were presented it was time for dessert and being Wimbledon, the guests were of course offered strawberries and clotted cream along with scones and chocolate eclairs. Final drinks and time for general socialising while the jazz ensemble player more background music completed a very successful afternoon and evening awards ceremony.
For more photos of the event, click HERE: