Pupils at Telford's Meadows Primary School enjoy virtual visit from tennis stars

Pupils at a Shropshire primary school enjoyed a virtual visit from two tennis stars.

Children from Telford’s Meadows Primary School had the chance to put questions to Dutch ace Aniek van Koot - a former women’s wheelchair tennis world number one and Wimbledon champion - and rising British star Abbie Breakwell.

They also enjoyed taking part in a fun and interactive tennis session hosted by the LTA and local coach Nikki Hoy.

Amy Brentnall, a Year 3 teacher and PE co-ordinator, won the prize for the Ketley-based school.

As part of an LTA drive to get more children playing tennis, teachers were invited to take part in the LTA Youth Programme and sign up for a free online course to start teaching tennis lessons.

Amy was one of more than 80 teachers from across Shropshire to get involved.

She was then drawn as the winner of a competition to decide which county school would receive a virtual visit from a professional tennis player.  

Van Koot - a former singles champion in three Grand Slam women’s wheelchair tennis events, including Wimbledon in 2019, as well as the US Open and Australian Open - and Breakwell took time to make the virtual visit to Meadows Primary School during a break from competing in last week's Viking Classic Birmingham tournament.

Van Koot reached the final in both the singles and doubles at the Edgbaston Priory Club, while Breakwell was knocked out of the women’s wheelchair singles event by Jordanne Whiley in the quarter finals.

Amy said: “The virtual visit went really well. Six classes took part, nearly 200 children, from Years 3, 4 and 6.

“We were joined virtually by two professional players, with three children asking questions about what inspired the players to play tennis, how often they trained and when did they start playing tennis.

“It was nice to hear their stories. The children were really excited to want to learn more about tennis and to also want to play themselves.”

The interactive tennis session served up to pupils also proved popular.

Amy added: “A lot of the teachers said how much they liked the session and that it would be nice if we could use some of it in our PE lessons.

“It’s given the teachers some good ideas as well, which is always helpful.”

Amy said Meadows Primary School enjoys a good relationship with the nearby Telford Tennis Centre, with coaches having previously visited to run after school clubs.

Bob Kerr, the LTA councillor for Shropshire, added he was delighted that the virtual visit was such a hit with the pupils.

He said: “It’s good that a local school had the opportunity to take part in a really useful initiative and I’m very pleased that everyone enjoyed it.”   

Pictured: Amy Brentnall, a Year 3 teacher at Meadows Primary School, who won the prize for the school, with Year 3 pupils Jack, Caitlin and Anna, who asked tennis players Aniek van Koot and Abbie Breakwell questions.