The trip to Glasgow for an ITF event for tennis star Lisa Phillips turned out to be more fruitful than she could have anticipated.
Initially disappointed, Phillips was one of several English players who did not get into the singles event because priority was unexpectedly given to some of the weaker-rated and ranked Scottish players.
Phillips did gain entry into the doubles event with partner Frankie Wilkes. The duo were outclassed by Beth Askew and Olivia Nicholls, ranked GB 13 and 19 respectively, but tried to put up a fight before losing 6-2, 6-2.
While the singles event was being held, Phillips trained with some of the other players. It was here that Phillips was scouted by Terry Oakes, manager of Wilton Tennis Club in Wimbledon.
Impressed by her standard of play, Oakes offered the Felpham teenager a place in the club’s ladies’ first team, who play in the National League of the Aegon Team Tennis and are current national champions.
More than 4,500 teams who are involved in Aegon Team Tennis compete in the county tier, 54 teams in the regional tier and 31 teams in the national tier.
All teams in the county tier compete in leagues within their county boundary with the aim of becoming league champions. Teams are part of a promotion/relegation structure where successful teams can earn promotion between county, regional and national tiers.
The national/regional open tier of Aegon Team Tennis features many aspiring, current and former professional players.
Phillips is delighted to join Wilton, a strong and successful team. Her team-mates include four players ranked inside the top 21 for GB. Position on the team is based on a player’s rating. Phillips’ 2.2 rating will see her sixth or seventh in the squad of 12.
The Wilton team have players from nine different counties and have both strength and depth – incredibly important for a team aiming to hold on to their national title.
It is unlikely all the team will be available for all of the matches as some players train abroad and most of the squad compete in international events.
It is likely that the home matches will be against Connaught, Cumberland and Virgin Surrey with the away matches at David Lloyd Raynes Park, Gosling, Queens and Woodford Wells. The finals will be played at West Hants Club in Bournemouth at the end of the season.
Phillips, who is sponsored by Chichester-based Game, Set and Match, will be adding more national and international events into her schedule as well as taking some tennis coaching. For more information see www.lisaphillips.co.uk
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