Catching up with the FC**tennis academy – player focus: Daniela Deighton

Daniela Deighton and her family have shown a massive commitment to enhancing Daniela’s tennis skills at Dukes Meadows.

Last summer Daniela’s parents made a decision that in the best interests of her tennis, she would come and train in London once a week. You may think that is pretty normal for a young tennis player but Daniela and her family live nearly 200 miles away in Hull! Every Thursday this equates to an 8 hour round journey – that is quite a commitment.

Her Father David explains why they had to make this decision:

 “Daniela has been playing since the age of 6 and is now 10 years old. She has obvious natural tennis ability, commitment and willingness to learn how to play tennis. However we felt for the money it was costing and time she was spending on court when practising up in Yorkshire, we weren’t really seeing that justified when she played amongst children her age group on club level and in tournaments.’

David travelled up and down the country so Daniela could play in competitions and subsequently it was at a tournament that he first heard about Dukes Meadows.

Daniela was playing an event down in Harpenden and I spoke to one of the Fathers about where his daughter trained and he told me Dukes Meadows – the name just stuck with me.

As soon as David got home he searched the internet for Dukes Meadows. He said he was impressed by the facilities and the qualifications of the tennis coaches and it was worth travelling to Dukes Meadows to ensure Daniela got the right tennis tuition.

“A couple of days later we phoned and asked to speak to Marten Renstrom. I don’t think he quite believed what I was saying to him but I was completely serious. I wanted Daniela to come down to Dukes Meadows once a week and train.”

Despite finding the situation slightly surreal Marten agreed to meet with the Deighton’s and give Daniela a trial.

Marten, FC**tennis Head Coach said: “When Daniela came she was obviously a very talented player but she had some technical deficiencies that were holding her back so we had to start from scratch. Footwork, setting up, swing parts, preparation. – everything had to be setup new. She has done a fantastic job and picks everything up so quickly.

I was surprised when I got the call from Hull but even more surprised that they have stuck with it, which shows just how committed they are with the cause. Daniela has really developed technically and tactically – she continues to impress me every week!

For her the next step is to have more consistent quality training. She needs more than just once a week to really develop into the player we all know she can be.”

Daniela trains for two hours with Marten and two hours with the squad. She then practices at her local club occasionally on the weekends often with her Father.

Both Daniela’s parents understand that she will need more training but at the moment they are only able to facilitate the current set up:

“Ideally she will train more often but we have to fit her tennis training in our busy lives and facilitate private school lessons. The private school lesson during the week is to make up for the day she misses off school. This is because we agreed with the school that it is important that Daniela also gets a good education.

We are just so thrilled with how she has progressed since being at Dukes Meadows. It’s certainly shown in her matches and confidence. The other day she was facing a player that the Yorkshire county Cup Coach warned us to expect to be a tough match and she may not win. Six months ago Daniela would have shied away from a match like that but she said to me before the game that I’m going to beat her and she did!”

Perhaps evidence of this new confident Daniela was in her performance for her county Yorkshire last weekend. She won all 3 matches in straight sets and was praised by her County Coach for her “outstanding display”.

This prompted strong praise from her other coach at Dukes Meadows Anna Britton: “‘The recent results Daniela had at county cup are a tribute to the hard work and effort she has put into her tennis over the last few months. Daniela is a pleasure to work with on court and really commits to her tennis training, she listens and tries to execute everything you are teaching her.”

Daniela is a great athlete who’s very quick and good at maintaining what she’s learnt. She could benefit from being more confident in approaching the net and this will develop through playing in more competitive matches.

She is extremely hard working and has a natural ability for tennis. The commitment shown by dad David to travel 8 hours every week is exceptional and we look forward to seeing more of Daniela and tracking her progress throughout the season.

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