St Albans tennis coach wins major national award

Jon Meredith, of Batchwood High Performance Centre, was awarded performance coach of the year. He is

Jon Meredith, of Batchwood High Performance Centre, was awarded performance coach of the year. He is pictured with Judy Murray (right) and Julie Preston of Aegon - Credit: James Jordan

Tennis history has been made in St Albans after a third local coach received an award for UK performance coach of the year from the mum of tennis star Andy Murray.

Jon Meredith of Batchwood High Performance Centre (HPC) said it was a “great honour” to win the accolade on Saturday at the Aegon Coach of the Year ceremony.

Judy Murray presented his award at the event, held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

Jon, 38, said: “I’m very lucky to be able to work in a job I love and to be recognised in this way is just amazing.”

Since becoming head coach at Batchwood in 2007, Jon has produced nearly 40 national matrix players, one junior Grand Slam player, four GB representatives and eight nationally trained juniors.

Judy told Jon his award was “much deserved for all your hard work”.

She added: “It’s important to support and recognise our workforce because it is they who will deliver our future.”

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He was one of 29 coaches shortlisted for seven awards.

Mandy Franks and Liz Jones, directors of tennis at Batchwood and its outreach scheme, won the same award in 2001.

They were the first-ever female coaches to coach a St Albans schoolboy who became a back-to-back British under-18 and under-16 champion.

Mandy said that the award was particularly poignant as Jon, a former Verulam School pupil, was “one of the first players through our programme when we opened at Batchwood 26 years ago”.

What makes the accolade more significant is the fact that Batchwood has been without a home, as its base burned down three years ago.

A new state-of-the-art centre will open shortly.

Mandy said: “Jon was made head performance coach at Batchwood seven years ago, and this accolade and his achievement are unbelievable.”

Over 5,000 school children throughout the district have received free coaching from Batchwood, backed by funding provided by St Albans district council and the Lawn Tennis Association.