THE BENEFITS of having Spanish coaches over from Barcelona to help Solihull Tennis Club has already paid off after Ben Watkins winning the club’s singles championship for a record successive 11th year.
Watkins set a new club record, previously held by Tony Kinsey, after defeating Simon Slater in the final. He also won the men’s doubles title with David Foster Smith by defeating Tony Jordan and Ben Jongman.
But Ben’s hopes of completing a hat trick of victories after defeating Clare Wood and Simon Slater in the mixed doubles final with partner Fiona, failed, with his opponents celebrating a 9-7 victory.
Ladies captain Fiona Speak was the only player to win three trophies. After her success with Ben, Fiona defeated Sonia Gallucci to win the ladies singles trophy and then went on to clinch the ladies’ doubles title with tennis partner Carol Stott. They beat Charlotte Newell and Suzanna Cocks.
A club spokesman said: “Having tennis coaches from Barcelona has helped boost new energy and skills into our club and membership is on the increase as a result. They were delighted with the high standard of the finals and especially the victories by Ben and Fiona.”
The new coaching deal between the club and Barcelona Tennis Centre was recently exclusively revealed in the Observer.
Apart from coaching adults and juniors on the club’s six artificial grass courts at Marsh Lane, Solihull, there is now a native Spanish speaker teaching members how to speak Spanish.