It feels as if I have not written a blog for a while, so it is tough to know where to start! We have had a great summer – I say WE as we very much are a team now with three new additions over the summer. Dominic Mahboubi and Nathan Rooney have joined STA as Senior Coaches and under Nick Morgan our Head of Sports Science, we now have Paul Coneyworth, who will lead the Strength and Conditioning at base camp. We have been around Europe this summer with players at various events with notable successes including Luke Hammond winning Under 12 British junior Nationals, Ella Taylor going from unranked to 680 in the junior ITF rankings, as well as two great showings at Under 18 and 16 Nationals (quarters and semis respectively). Great credit goes to Nathan Rooney for his hard work with Ella.
Josh Ward Hibbert has had a fun summer. After his successes on the grass he moved to Morocco with Dominic and had a great week along with access player Sam Hutt- again big credit to Dominic for this.. Josh went on to represent and lead GB Under 18s into the finals of the European Team Championships where they finished a credible 5th place- a proud moment for STA.
Andrew Fitzpatrick has continued his rise up the ATP rankings and currently sits at 850 – in a great position for a strong end to the year, and he continues to be a great example of ‘finding a way to do it’.
We have reached the end of year one at STA, and I feel very excited moving into Year 2 – we are ready to create the environment for our players to continue to excel. New players such as Valeria Svinkyth (138 WTA) and Alistair Barnes as well as our ‘French connection’ with coach Didier Lanne bodes well for the future.
I can’t move on without mentioning our development/pre-academy groups aged 9-17.. They have progressed incredibly well and we are all really excited to help with their development over the coming years- watch out tennis in Andalucia- the boys and girls are coming! Vamanoos! (That’s what you shout right kids!?)
I want to dedicate this blog to give a little background on our new coaches, as I can`t stress how important it is to have this strong team unit around, as an Academy and as a player.
Firstly, Dominic Mahboubi comes to STA with years of playing/coaching experience. Firstly, he played to a high level back in the UK as a junior. He then moved to Spain at a young age to learn his trade under some highly influential coaches in Barcelona including Rafael Nadal`s coach Francis Roig. After a successful 8 years building up Barcelona Total tennis and working with many top 100 players in the world , he moved to Switzerland to work for Swiss Tennis Academy – the lesser of the 2 STA`s!!! He saw sense and wanted to move back to sun, sea and tapas and we were fortunate enough to get him on board. He brings a great wealth of knowledge and incredible energy and drive- welcome on board!!
Over to Nathan Rooney- I have been lucky enough to work with Nathan in the past and I can guarantee spend 10 minutes with him and you will feel his love of the game of tennis. Nathan was a very good player himself making it to the top 1000 ATP and with it, many playing experiences.. As a coach he has worked with top Juniors in Europe as well as top 100 WTA players before helping British number 4 Dan Evans immensely last year. This is another great catch for SotoTennis and along with Dominic they will both make a massive difference to STA and its players…Welcome RD!
Last, but not least Paul Coneyworth- Paul is coming on board to work alongside Nick and the coaching staff in ensuring that the players are in the best possible shape. He brings a modern day approach to fitness and has a wealth of knowledge from his 5 years at a performance centre in Highgate, as well as a strong Rugby League background. Paul fits into our philosophy and like the whole team, is young and enthusiastic and is ready to make a difference.. Welcome Paul!
I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have these guys on board and now, time for the hard work. We are starting back up this week with an `audit ` week from Medical screenings to performance analysis- we want to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of excellence. We strongly believe as a team we need to be accountable for our players and their development, and we intend to do everything we can to help them with this- watch this space.
On a sadder note, I want to give a shout out to Amanda Wenban who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes over the last year, and has been a massive part of getting this project off the ground. Amanda is moving on to bigger and better things and she will be greatly missed by the team- Thank you Amanda!
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain