Published: 30 November 2021

Pro-Am tennis tournament a big hit as Shropshire club players enjoy playing alongside professionals

Pictured: Pro-Am winners Dave Williams and Freya Christie receive their trophies from Andrew Huxley, the managing director of event sponsors Besblock. Picture: Alastair Campbell.

Tennis players from Shropshire clubs enjoyed the opportunity to play alongside and against professionals during UK Pro League Finals Week at The Shrewsbury Club. A Pro-Am event, sponsored by Besblock, was held on the indoor courts at the Club and proved to be a big success. Sixteen Shropshire players from Market Drayton Tennis Club, Shrewsbury Lawn Tennis Club, Whitchurch’s Hollies Tennis Club and hosts The Shrewsbury Club were paired with players taking part in the UK Pro League Finals.

They played a series of doubles matches, with the winners the first to reach 10 points, just like the third-set match tie-breaks played throughout Finals Week. The eventual winners of the Pro-Am competition were Dave Williams, a member at Market Drayton Tennis Club, and Freya Christie, who reached the UK Pro League women’s final later in the week. They beat Giles Foden, from The Shrewsbury Club, and Eliz Maloney in the final.

Tennis Shropshire chair Simon Jones, who organised the Pro-Am, said: “It was a brilliant night. We are grateful to the pros for giving their time during a busy week to come and join in with the members of tennis clubs across Shropshire.

“A number of the pros came up to me at the end of the night to say what a great time they had. They loved it as much as the members, so that was nice. 

“At the start of the night the pros and the amateurs didn’t know who was going to play with who, but the names were then drawn to decide the doubles pairings. 

“Matches were played on four courts, including the main show court, with everybody having the chance to play on there at least once.”  

Freya Christie, who enjoyed taking part in the Pro-Am, said: “It was good fun. It was a really good atmosphere.

“I’ve not actually done something like that in the UK before. You tend to get that in a lot of the American tournaments, but it was a really good atmosphere and it was a lot of fun.”

Freya, who has a career-high world ranking of 286, smiled: “It was good to win it as well. We got a little trophy at the end, so, yes, pleased with that. 

"We had great support from the Market Drayton Tennis Club members and they also gave me fantastic support during the UK Pro League final a few days later. They have invited me to visit the club at some stage.    

“It was great to play alongside Dave. We competed well and it was a lot of fun."   

Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, added: "It was brilliant to have an event like this held for the first time during one of the professional tournaments we enjoy hosting.

"Every tennis club in the county was invited to enter players by Tennis Shropshire, who did such a great job organising the Pro-Am, and it was fantastic that the professional players also had such a good time.

"It was a really fun night with some great tennis played. 

"Congratulations to Dave Williams and Freya Christie on their victory, while if there had been a shot of the week, for the Pro-Am and UK Pro League Finals Week, a brilliant shot from Mike Shrimplin from Hollies Tennis Club, who was partnering Sonay Kartal, would definitely have been a contender.” 

Published: 30 November 2021