Historic agreement between A1 Pharmaceuticals PLC and Westcombe Park Sports Club16th January 2013
Gary Lewis, the managing director of A1 Pharmaceuticals PLC, and the founder of A1 Pharmaceuticals Tennis Academy, completed the signing of the contract for the long term lease of the tennis courts at Westcombe Park Sports Club.
Gary (right, in the academy tracksuit) is pictured with Paul Woodhouse (left), the chairman of Westcombe Park Rugby Club, as they concluded the agreement. The seed for the academy was planted many years ago, when Gary first picked up a racquet as a 12 year old boy at an inner city secondary school. The students were invited to hit two shots, and anyone who managed to get both shots over the net was invited to regular tennis training. Gary made the first shot, but the second hit the net. Only two players were successful, and after this negative first experience Gary didn’t set foot on a tennis court again until aged 41.
This experience was major factor behind the ethos of the new academy, which is to break down the barriers of elitism in British tennis. To this end, Gary is already funding three scholarships for performance tennis players. A ground breaking initiative of the club is to give free membership to financially disadvantaged young people as well as full-time students. There will also be the provision of some free coaching for kids, as well as scholarships for players from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a good will gesture, A1 will invest £51 for each new member into developing the club and a coaching programme.
A1 has already been active in funding tennis players, with Jason Barnett, Marcus Willis and Lucas Percy already on the books. Jason was this year recognised as the Scottish Veteran tennis player of the year, after becoming the first British player at senior 35 and over level to be ranked no.1 in the world for singles. He was also the first player of any nationality to hold the no.1 ranking in singles and doubles simultaneously. Out of 16 tournaments Jason contested in 2012, he reached 10 finals, winning 6 ITF senior titles. Jason has been working closely with Gary and his wife, and co-founder of A1 PLC, Carmen, helping both to achieve world rankings at senior level. Gary reached 250 in doubles in the Men’s 50 and over, and 40 in the mixed doubles rankings. Carmen reached no.9 in the Mixed doubles 45 and over, despite only having played tennis for 5 years.
A1 are also very excited about working with new signings Marcus Willis and Lucas Percy. Marcus reached a high of 561 in the world in 2010, but comes from a disadvantaged background, and has struggled with funding. Currently ranked at no.968, and managed by Gary in 2013, Marcus will be playing 30 futures/ challengers tournaments across 6 countries, including Turkey and USA. Marcus’s target for this year is to reach 600-700 in the singles world rankings. Gary is optimistic that by 2015 Marcus will break into the top 200 for singles, and the top 100 for doubles. Lucas is a promising young performance player, who, with the sponsorship of A1, will be playing his first ITF junior tournaments in 2013. Lucas’ target for 2013 is to break into the top 40 in Britain in the 16& under age group, and in 2014 to gain an ITF junior world ranking.
A1 has already achieved local success, under the guise of Orpington tennis club, winning men’s and mixed divisional titles in summer 2012 and winter 2012-3. Both teams are unbeaten since Gary took over in the summer of 2011. This summer, A1 will be entering a team in the men’s national club league, in the county tier, as well as in local doubles leagues. A1 is actively looking for players to play in the existing teams, as well as expanding the teams based on the demand of new players.
If interested in joining, please contact Gary at Gary.Lewis@a1plc.co.uk Adult memberships run at £99, kids go free. A1 will donate £51 for each new member into developing the club.« Back to News