By Ros Satar
- Australian Open Men’s Doubles champion Joe Salisbury returned to his former primary school for a surprise tennis session
- A group of 60 children got to play with the new Slam champion
PUTNEY, LONDON – Australian Open 2020 Men’s Doubles Champion Joe Salisbury returned to his former primary school to help coach 60 children.
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Youngsters from Joe Salisbury’s former primary school got a surprise visit from the newly crowned Australian Open winner on Friday.
Tennis star, Salisbury who claimed his first Grand Slam title by winning the men’s doubles with Rajeev Ram in Melbourne, was back in Putney for a visit to All Saints’ CoE Primary School organised by the LTA and took part in a tennis session for a group of 60 lucky children.
The 27-year-old was pupil at the school between 1996 and 2001 where he showed initial promise in the sport before going on to University of Memphis in the United States and now one of the players on the LTA’s elite men’s programme at the National Tennis Centre, in Roehampton. He has risen rapidly up the ATP World Doubles rankings over the last two years, moving from outside the top 100 to a career-high of No.4 following his Australian Open victory where he joined Jamie Murray as only the second Brit since 1934 to win the title.
The Grand Slam champion was cheered into the school’s Friday morning assembly by pupils where he took to the stage to talk about his success down under and answer questions from children eager to find about his life as a tennis player.
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Britain’s latest Grand Slam winner was then put through his paces on his old playground by a group of Year 3 and 5 pupils who took part in a special tennis session led by LTA coaches from the National Tennis Centre before signing autographs and posing for photos with them.
Salisbury said: “It was amazing to be back at my first school after such an incredible few weeks in Australia. To see all the kids, get a chance to chat and play a bit of tennis with them was really special and it is just great to give something back. Hopefully it will inspire them start playing, keep playing or just find their passion in whatever they love doing.”
Steve Russell, Head of PE, All Saints CoE, school added: “To get the opportunity to have a hit with someone who is not only a Grand Slam winner but someone who played on the same playground as them was incredible for our children. What Joe has done is a great example to them of what you achieve if you work hard.”
Cecily Berry, one of the pupils who took part in the session, said: “I love playing tennis so it was really fun to play with Joe. I had to concentrate hard to make sure I kept on hitting it back to him but I really enjoyed it.”
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