A QUARTET of Totally Tennis Performance Players, who were also part of the highly successful Queen Mary’s College (QMC) team over the last three years, are taking their tennis to the next level as they embark on their university education.

Joe Cox, Andrew Spencer, Matt Ennals and Jamie Thomas will have the opportunity to continue to play and compete as part of the University Tennis Programme.

This is supported by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) at a range of different levels to help increase and improve tennis provision across the higher education sector.

British Colleges National final silver medallists Cox and Spencer have gone to Exeter University and Bath University respectively.

Both players also reached the Senior Students Finals in Bolton for the third time this year (mixed and boys) so are experienced players offering their services to their university tennis clubs and may even find themselves competing against each other in the future.

Thomas, who also reached the Senior Students National Finals as part of the boys team, has gone to Brunel University in Uxbridge to also study sport, following in the footsteps of another former performance player Josh Murray.

Murray is an excellent example of a Totally Tennis player, who also played for QMC, that was retained in the game through his enjoyment and commitment to tennis. He went on to be a very large part of the Brunel University Tennis Club, representing the university as a player as well as taking on the position of fitness coach and then of chairman of the club.

He was very effective in helping them gain LTA Beacon status and has now graduated but is still involved with the club, helping to promote tennis in this year’s new intake of students.

Ennals, who was also part of the team that reached the Senior Students Finals, has stayed in the county and gone to Portsmouth University, where the tennis club is one of a number of Universities across the south being supported by the LTA.

Along with Southampton Solent and the University of Southampton, Portsmouth is receiving funding and support from the Hampshire LTA development team to support them in developing their existing opportunities to their members and the thousands of students who could get involved.

For the first time this year, the Tennis Foundation showcased tennis to more than 10,000 students at the Students Live exhibition, the UK’s biggest university students’ event, held at Olympia in London.

The event gave freshers who visited the British Tennis stand the opportunity of testing their speed of serve and signing up to allplay, the LTA’s national campaign to help people play tennis.

They were also given information about the higher education tennis programmes available at many British universities.

26 British universities now have a University Tennis Co- ordinator, who works with the university to get students involved with tennis as a player, coach or volunteer.

The Tennis Foundation and LTA support universities on three levels; Performance Programme Support, University Tennis Co-ordinators and Development Awards. Universities can currently apply for a Development Award to help them develop their tennis club.