Austwick Tennis Club’s rising tennis star Tom Horsfall is facing a crucial few months that will go a long way to determine whether he can reach the sport’s higher levels.
Over the past year, Tom,17, has progressed rapidly up the tennis rankings with wins at tournaments throughout Yorkshire and the North West.
Last year he won the Men’s Singles West Yorkshire Adult Circuit at Ilkley three times and reached the later stages of a number of other competitions both at 18-and-under and men’s levels. This is in addition to the trophies he won at both under 16-and-under 18 level the previous year. He is also now training regularly with the Yorkshire County Squad.
Tom, who is a student at Settle College, owes his rapid advance both to his natural skill and a dedication that sees him travel to training sessions at Ilkley several times a week. He also owes a lot to his parents who regularly drive him across the North of England to take part in competitions and, importantly, to the financial support that he has received from local organisations.
And that is why the next few months matter so much, because, as well as looking to advance his tennis career, he is also taking his A level exams this summer. And if he is to compete at a higher level then he will need further backing not just from his parents but crucially more sponsorship from local businesses.
The key to Tom’s success has been the individual one to one coaching at Ilkley which his local sponsors have help fund. With support coming from Austwick Tennis Club where Tom first started tennis, the Rotary Club of Settle, British Hardwoods in Cross Hills, the NFU Mutual Skipton, The Fisherman Restaurant Settle and Webcrane in Austwick.
Pam Whitehead of Austwick Tennis Club, who coached Tom as an eight year old learning the game said: “It is great for a small club like Austwick that we have someone of Tom’s ability who has been able to progress in the game. We just hope that he is now able to go on and make a real mark at a higher level.”
Stephen Dew of NFU Mutual on behalf of all the sponsors said: “We are delighted to back this talented young man who is a great credit to the area and wish him well, but we also hope that others will join us in helping Tom make it to the top in his game.”