Oxfordshire’s promising juniors have taken centre stage in our annual awards evening for the county’s most impressive and brightest youngsters.
The awards are into their third year and recognise players excelling at national and county level but also those who are stalwarts of their local club and schools.
Top individual performances for 2019 were given to Xavier Mohindra, one of the county’s ‘most hardworking players at county training squads’ and Matilda Mutavdziv, currently preparing for her first pro-tournament and who made it through to the last 16 of this year’s Junior Wimbledon.
For this year, Tennis Oxfordshire introduced a new award – ‘Outstanding Contribution to Oxfordshire Junior Tennis’. It was unanimously given to Max Hilleard who, said Andrew Broadhurst of Tennis Oxfordshire ‘always made sure juniors had a great experience of tennis.’
Max died earlier this year, aged 25, and, said Andrew, everyone who came into contact with him loved him.
“Tennis was Max’s dream job,” he said. “He coached many juniors but was particularly drawn to helping players less abled. He soon got involved with wheelchair tennis and then started working with children with down’s syndrome and at a special needs school. He delivered outstanding coaching sessions, always patient, totally self-deprecating and added a great deal to so many others.”
Max’s parents, Gil and Kate were at Abingdon College to collect the award. The award, in Max’s name, will be now given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to junior tennis in the county.