Putney tennis hopeful welcomes the Queen to SW15

Tennis racket presented to mark visit to LTA National Tennis Centre in Roehampton

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Putney teenager Joe Salisbury helped the Queen remember her visit to the NTC (National Tennis Centre) with a gift of a tennis racket after she officially opened the Centre in the pouring rain.

The Queen and other guests were shown around the 9 acre site at Bank Lane. The NTC provides a one-site national focus for the sport in Great Britain and offers players the very best opportunity to realise their potential by providing world-class facilities and back-up. It supports the regional structure of Nationally Accredited Performance Programmes and National Junior Tennis Centres that is now in place.

On the six indoor courts the Queen met players of all ages and abilities from the very young to the silver haired, disabled GB players aged 11 - 13 years and members of the Davis Cup squad. The later included the British No 4 Richard Bloomfield, Jamie Murray (Andy's younger brother) and Greg Rusedski with their Davis Cup Captain John Lloyd and coaches.

The NCT offers 6 Acrylic Courts, 4 Clay, 2 "French", 4 Grass (Wimbledon) and 2 mini courts and a practice wall.

The indoors courts are individually heated allowing coaches to prepare their students for specific conditions found around the world - this even extends as far as the balls they are trained with!

Students can come for a day or stay in one off 22 rooms for a week or many months depending upon their requirements. The Centre is manned 24 hours a day offering fitness centres, Sports Science including a space age "Metro nap pod" which allows the player 20 minutes quality sleep between training sessions to enhance performance - this could prove popular with staff and visiting journalists but sadly there was no opportunity to test it!

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All photos credited to James Jordan

March 29, 2007