The A1 Pharmaceuticals Lawn Tennis Club was founded by Pharmacist Gary Stephen Lewis in Jan 2013 with the goal of breaking down barriers of elitism in british tennis whilst promoting compeitive team tennis at all levels. The club offers free membership to young people 21 years and under and students.
The Gary Lewis Foundation Normally funds at least 1 GB ATP world ranked player each year for a minimum of 12 months and up to 2 years on the condition that the recipient of funding supports our team ambitions. The foundation is committed to helping manage, mentor and develop performance players and coaches at all levels, facilitating competitive team tennis at local, regional, national and International level with an emphasis on support of young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Recent tennis sponsorship success stories:
The foundation is currently supporting 3 players 26 year old Freddie Arian, 20 year old Crystal and 12 year old Tarique all from financially disadvantaged inner city backgrounds who inspite of their talent were stuggling with funding.
Freddie Arian has been a regular and successful member of our men's/mixed teams for several years he is currently receiving funding to obtain his stage 3 LTA coaching badge. Freddie is a popular member of our men's and mixed teams and in 2014 had the honour of pairing with former GB Davis Cup specialist Jamie Delgado during our 2014 national Aegon campaign. Freddie played a key role in winning div 2 county Aegon and North Kent men's team titles during a succesful 2015 campaign when he played in 5 teams.
Crystal Sutar is a lady player with a 3.2 LTA rating who has WTA ambitions but has struggled with funding the A1 foundation is currently assisting with travel costs including return flights to a recent series of ITF futures in Spain during Feb 2016 where she played pre qualifiers and inspite of not achieving any WTA world ranking points gained valuable experience. Crystal regularly plays ladies and mixed in both the north Kent and Kent team doubles leagues where she is currently unbeaten in ladies competitions.
We are also part funding Tarique Tonge-Bobia a boy's 12U from Southwark with a 7.2 LTA rating who is coached by Barry Bartley a highly dedicated coach who gives up a lot of his free time to support young players from deprived inner city backgrounds in Southwark and Lambeth.
Although Tarique is only 12 years old in Gary's opinion he has the power and maturity of an older player his current national ranking of 220 belies his potential to become a GB top 20 player having already defeated several players in the GB boys U12 top 30. The A1 foundation are increasingly keen to support talented teenage players who also gain valuable team experiance. Tarique will be representing A1 Pharmaceuticals in the North Kent cup where he is drawn against a player from New Ash Green which must be played by Sunday 1st May 2016 this is a knockout competion with finals at Bromley cricket club on Sunday 31st May.
From left to right: Gary Lewis, Coach Barry Bartley, Tarique Tonge-Bobia and Tarique's Mum
Matthew illingworth was the first pro player to recieve funding in 2008/9 which in the first 12 months enabled him to climb over 500 places in the ATP singles rankings reaching a career high in the 600-700 range. Since his retirement matt has made a significant differance to our mens doubles team and played a key role in our mens and mixed teams reaching North Kent division 1 in both mens and mixed doubles.
Former Pro Jason Barnett is arguably Gary's biggest success story becoming the first British player to achieve a No1 world ranking in both mens singles and doubles 35& over. Jason was sponsored on the ITF senior tour 2010-12 after he became unemployed in 2010. Within 2 years of his sponsorship and management programe which included travel and accomodation and after 16 tournaments including Double Bronze at the 2011 world championships Jason became first player of any nationality to be ranked no1 world ITF senior 35's mens singles & doubles. In 2012 the talented Scot from Aberdeen was selected to play for Scotland, Scotland seniors, GB Seniors world cup team and was named Scotland senior tennis player of the year.
Marcus Willis inspite of acheiving his first mens ATP ranking points whilst only 17 only 5 years later he was financially struggling to stay on the ITF futures tour.
A1 stepped in with funds in late 2012 with free management/travel and accomodation. Incredibly Marcus climbed from an ATP mens world ranking of 1020 to 322 singles and 220 doubles in only 18 months. Marcus won his first ITF singles title within 3 months of his sponsorship which quickly proved successful with 6 singles titles and over 20 doubles titles gained during the 2 years sponsorship it is by far the most successful sponsorship to date.
Marcus Willis is the current A1 Pharmaceuticals LTC No1recieved funding and management from November 2012 to spring 2015 which included assistance for his doubles partner the then Kent No1 and world ranked ATP player Lewis Burton in return for supporting our Aegon national team.
Both Marcus Willis & Jason Barnett are naturally talented players but their greater on court success after receiving A1 sponsorship clearly demonstrates how much difference support that combines both funding & management can make to their climb in the world rankings.
2014 was a record year for our team success just 7 teams lifted 9 team titles including our first mens National Aegon team title and the National Aegon SE regional title. A1 became the first team this century to sucessfuly defend their National mens team title.
2016 has shown early promise with our mens and mixed teams gaining promotion to the highest divisions in North Kent. We have entered a record number of Aegon teams with mens 2 and our ladies competing for promotion to Kent County division 1. The mens national mens team has strengthend with a record 7 world ranked players in a squad of 12 nominated players. New additions include 2 new ATP world ranked players 18 year old Sam Bothwell from Nothern Ireland and US College player Farris Gosea. Sam joins his brother Peter Bothwell Irish Davis cup player who is unbeaten in singles for the club. Toby Martin returns for his 3rd consecutive season and is unbeaten in the last 2 national finals.
Our national and county Aegon team players recieve expenses to cover travel and lost income from coaching. The world ranked ATP and WTA players are paid generous match fee's which are designed to support their individual ITF futures campaigns.
List of National Aegon team players in order of ranking:
|Name||ATP Ranking||Career High ATP Ranking||Titles|
|1. Marcus Willis||510||322 (16/06/2014)||8S & 25D|
|2. Neil Pauffley||553||406 (12/08/2013)||4S|
|3. Toby Martin||737||641 (22/06/2015)||4D|
|4. Mathew Short||865||708 (01/10/2012)||5D|
|5. Peter Bothwell||1115||1108 (09/11/2015)||1D|
|6. Farris Gosea||1234||557 (13/07/2015)||1S & 1D|
|7. Samuel Bothwell||2090||2078 (10/02/2016)||N/A|
|8. Lamar Bartley||GB 90||Former GB U18 top 10||N/A|
|9. Mathew Illingworth||N/A||681 (02/02/2009)||1D|
|10. Samuel Taylor||N/A||US Radford College Player 2.2 rating||N/A|
|11. Piers Herfet-Jones||N/A||Performance Coaching 3.1 rating||N/A|
|12. Lucas Percy||N/A||Former Top 10 County Junior 3.2 rating||N/A|