In our new podcast series, we will share with you some intriguing stories behind disability tennis. Our opening episode is hosted by Elaine Paige OBE who is the Trust’s President, and not only explains a bit more about what the Trust does, but also remembers the great Dan Maskell and his role in developing disability tennis. Throughout the series we hope to give you an insight into the different versions of tennis available to disabled people and also chat to those who are most involved – players, coaches and organisers.
In this episode, Sam Smith hears from expert coach Martyn Whait about coaching in disability tennis. Martyn has 30 years experience as a tennis coach and travels to the Paralympics with Team GB in one of his many roles.
Elaine Paige may be best known for her fabulous performances on stage and her BBC Radio2 Sunday afternoon show, but in our opening episode, she shares with us her passion for tennis, for the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust, and her memories of the man himself, Dan Maskell. Elaine is joined by John Barrett who was the Trust’s first President and two of the Trust’s Vice-Presidents, both former British No. 1 tennis players and one a Wimbledon Champion, Virginia Wade, and Sam Smith. Elaine’s three guests give her an insight not only into what it was like to work with Dan, and their memories of him, but also what it is like to be a successful commentator.
Our host Sam Smith is joined by three teenagers who have a few things in common – they all play wheelchair tennis, and they all have the courage to pursue their passion even when faced with adversity. Abbie Breakwell, Alice Dyer and Dan Pennington-Bridges share their story of wheelchair tennis, and how the sport has changed their life. These three determined teenagers encourage others to never take no for an answer.
Sam Smith learns more about how Blind and Visually Impaired people are playing tennis, in this rapidly growing adaption of the sport. Rosie Pybus and Wendy Glasper tell their story of how they started to play tennis and how they both went on to represent Great Britain in International Blind Tennis Tournaments.
Sam Smith joins us again to interview two enthusiastic tennis coaches, Louise Assioun and Sue Morrison who created LUSU Sports; detailing their focus on ensuring everyone can access activity and tennis, no matter how complex their disability is. The energy that these two coaches use to inspire people to play tennis can be felt throughout the podcast, and it is no surprise to learn that they also had a side business as party entertainers in their early career.
Sam Smith is joined by two employees of the Lawn Tennis Association – Dave Hardman and Matt Elkington, to learn more about how tennis is constantly being adapted to be more accessible for everyone. Sam not only learns how Matt and Dave have stayed connected with their disability audience during the Covid Pandemic, but also about how this adapted version of tennis has been adapted even further to keep people engaged during lock-down. Matt and Dave discuss the culture of tennis and the perception around disabled people taking part in the sport.
If you feel you can donate to the Trust’s work – please click HERE