Former British number one goes back to school to teach tennis

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Tim Henman, one of Britain’s most successful tennis players, has visited Culford School’s tennis centre — and was given a run for his money by the pupils.

The school has more than 50 children involved in the academy, all of whom were keen to show Henman what they could do on the court.

The 43-year-old, who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon on four occasions, spent several hours on the court with pupils, before taking part in a Q&A session for parents and students.

He said: “It’s a great set up here, similar to the school I went to. Having the facilities on site is fantastic, as the kids can combine their education with sport.

“The reality is, there aren’t enough facilities for youngsters to play and the more courts, the more chance the country has of producing great players.

“And there are plenty of players with a lot of potential at Culford, they’ve really been showing me what they can do — if they give everything they have, then they can be the next great player.

“I’ve been focusing on getting them to engage mentally, not just hitting the ball but learning about which shot to use and when.”

He added that he felt it was important, as a former player of his calibre, to advise and try to help the next generation — as he was one of the few British players with his level of experience.

Pupil Theo Perkas, 12, said: “He was telling us about stepping out on Centre Court and what it’s like.

“And he’s so good too, he never makes any errors, and the ball always seems to hit the lines. It’s just really inspiring.”

Gregor Webster, 13, agreed as he said it was ‘really exciting’ to play, but also learn a little about the tactical side of the game at the top level.

And Kristina Paskauskas, 13, said she enjoyed watching her fellow pupils do what they could to hit a winner.