On this page we recognise and honour those grantees who have succeeded in breaking through the 250 world ranking target we set for all players when they join the Tennis First team. All of these players have, in our opinion, reached world class status, and we are proud of them all. But in true meritorious fashion, we’ve listed them in order of the world ranking they achieved.
16 Kyle Edmund (born 8th January 1995)
Kyle reached the semi-finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open boys singles and went on to reach a career high of 8 in the ITF junior world rankings. He began on the senior circuit in 2012, and by 2014 had learned enough to win a place in the Great Britain Davis Cup team for the tie against the USA on clay courts. In 2015 he narrowly failed to play in all 4 Grand Slams; he qualified for both the Australian and French Opens; received a wild card into Wimbledon; and lost in the qualfying round in the US Open. In November he made his debut in the Davis Cup, playing the opening match in the first rubber of the final against Belgium’s David Goffin and becoming a Davis Cup champion at the tender age of 20. There appears to be much more to be heard from Mr Edmund!
Anne was born in Hackney to Laotian parents. She was a semi finalist in the Wimbledon Juniors in 2001, losing to Dinara Safina, a future senior world No.1. She had played her first senior (ITF) event at only 14, but had to wait until she was 24 before she finally broke into the world’s top 100 in 2008. In 2009 she became the first British female to be ranked in the top 50 for 16 years. Anne was the youngest player to represent Great Britain in the Fed Cup at 17 and apart from Virginia Wade has played the most Fed Cup matches for GB. She reached seven WTA semi finals in a long career in which she absolutely fulfilled her potential before choosing to retire at 29 to take up a post with BT Sport’s tennis team, but perhaps her most notable achievement since retiring from the court is to have married Andrew Bretherton and produced little Ava in 2015. We are delighted that Anne agreed to become a Tennis First Ambassador.
76 Naomi Broady (born 28th February 1990)
Naomi started playing tennis at the age of 7 and by 2007, she had forged herself a successful junior career, culminating in taking the title of GB U18 Champion. She turned professional in 2005 and is continuing to climb the WTA ladder. In 2014 she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the second round at Wimbledon and in 2015, she and her brother Liam, became the first British mixed siblings to step on to the grass at Wimbledon in 37 years! Early in 2016 she qualified for Auckland and then beat former French champion Ana Ivanovic on her way to the semi finals. Evidently there is potential to improve that career high!
103 Katie Boulter (born 1st August 1996)
Katie hails from Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire. In March 2014 she was ranked the 10th best player in the ITF Junior world rankings, by which time she was also ranked within the top 800 in the seniors. Two months later she won her first $10k title and ended the year ranked 358. 2015 was a washout as she suffered a debilitating illness which precluded her playing, and had to start 2016 with a zero ranking. By April she was in title winning mode again in Egypt, and made good progress in $25k events late in the year. 2017 began with more good progress, including a tournament win in Turkey and the rest of the year included 3 significant highlights; breaking through Tennis First’s target ranking of 250; playing her first Wimbledon; and after strong autumn performances a career high ranking of 199.
108 Alex Bogdanovic (born 22nd May 1984)
Alex was born in Serbia and moved to the UK when he was eight. He took up the sport because a tennis mad friend encouraged him and it was conceded by lots of observers that he was a naturally gifted player. However, doubts about his commitment and mental fortitude followed him throughout his career.
He was the first Briton to reach the semi final of the US Open Junior in 2001 and concluded his junior career with an ITF ranking of 14. The following year he became national champion after beating Jamie Delgado in the final and was awarded his first (of eight) wild cards into Wimbledon. In 2006 he reached the quarter finals of the Hall of Fame event in Newport, Rhode Island, beating Jesse Levine and George Bastl before losing to Jurgen Melzer. The following year he entered Wimbledon with his career high ranking of 108, after reaching the last 16 at Queen’s where he lost narrowly to Andy Roddick. Sadly from this high there followed a slow decline until retirement in 2013.
158 Liam Broady (born 4th January 1994)
Liam is currently the British No. 5. Liam won the Boys’ Doubles at Wimbledon (2010) and the Australian Open (2012) and was runner-up in the Boys’ Singles at Wimbledon in 2011, narrowly losing out to Filip Peliwo in a very tightly fought battle. He broke into the world’s top 200 in 2014. Liam received a wildcard into the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, and went on to beat Australia’s Marinko Matosevic in the first round in a five-set thriller, and one which certainly put him centre stage in British tennis. He lost to the world no15 David Goffin in the second round, but the win helped him to his career high. He has since slipped back, but he has time to come again.
Naomi reached the quarter finals of Junior Wimbledon in 2006 and achieved an ITF junior ranking of 23. She will always be remembered as the young girl who took Venus Williams to a tie-break in the first round of Wimbledon in 2008. She retired in 2011, after falling out of love with the game, and she started to concentrate on coaching. It was under the watchful eyes of Alan Jones and Jo Durie that she began to fall back in love with the game again and in 2014, she returned to the game, resurrecting her career, regaining a world ranking and winning three ITF titles in a very short time.
184 Josh Goodall (born 17th October 1985)
You don’t often hear Basingstoke and tennis mentioned in the same breath, but Josh Goodall changed all that! With a little help from Tennis First and a mammoth contribution from his parents, who re-mortgaged the family home several times to fund his tennis, Josh’s passion for the game drove him on. As a junior Josh had some serious wins (including Novak Djokovic!) helping him to a best ITF junior ranking of 28. He reached the last 16 of Junior Wimbledon and also played in the US Open Juniors. Turning pro at 19, in 2006 he qualified for both Wimbledon and the US Open (beating Michael Llodra in the qualifying round). He represented GB twice in Davis Cup, at the Commonwealth Games and in the European Cup, and was GB No.2 behind Andy Murray in 2012. Most of his career was spent at Challenger and Futures level, where he won 19 titles. Josh retired from Tour tennis in 2013 and is now a coach.
173 Gabriella Taylor (born 7th March 1998)
Gabi started playing tennis at the age of 5 at David Lloyd, Southampton, the town where she was born. She then trained for over two years at the West Hants Academy, in Bournemouth, where she was also schooled. She won the Bressuire (France) U11’s in 2010 and returned the following year for the U12’s, winning both the singles and doubles that year. She was British Junior Champion in U12’s, U14’s and was a finalist at the Orange Bowl in 2012 with her highest Tennis Europe ranking of 7 that year. She was also a junior Fed Cup player that year, helping GB win the U14’s European Championship and then again the U14 World Cup in the same year. After several injury and health setbacks in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Gabi has returned fully fit and is now concentrating on improving her game and ranking, with the help of her new team in Barcelona, headed by (top 10 coach) Xavier Budo, since Nov 2017. Since then, Gabi has won four WTA titles, one 25K doubles title and has seen her ranking rise quickly to 173.
Lincoln is not the most obvious of places from which to begin a tennis career but Dan Cox has become used to overcoming difficulties. Not the tallest player on tour, he has made up for his lack of height with his speed around the court and his tenacity is legendary. He first came to prominence as a semi finalist in Tennis Europe’s premier Under 14 event Les Petits As in Tarbes, France (Ferrero and Nadal are previous winners). Plying his trade principally on the Futures circuit (where he won several titles) and winning the right to graduate to the Challenger Tour, Dan earned places in Grand Slam qualifying draws as well as wild cards to the Wimbledon main draw in 2011 and 2014.
225 Jay Clarke (born 27th July 1998)
Jay followed his sister Yasmin and brother Curtis into tennis in Derby and ended his junior career with a high of 15 in the ITF Junior World rankings. But he had already started his senior career and by the end of 2016 stood at 535 in the ATP rankings – a very creditable level for an 18 year old. At the close of 2017, leaving his year’s best performance until last with a place in the final of the $100,000 Challenger in Bangalore, Jay had risen over 300 places to 220! But perhaps his abiding memory of 2017 will be winning 2 rounds of Wimbledon with Marcus Willis, including a win over Mahut and Herbert, the US Open champions of 2015.
167 Harriet Dart (born 28th July 1996)
Harriet began her tennis career at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club at the age of 6. Her potential was quickly noted and she began to take things more seriously and had a successful junior tennis career, winning Under 16 British Nationals and beating Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets at Junior Wimbledon. Harriet reached her first ITF women’s Pro final at the age of 16, one of the youngest to make a pro final. She went on to win 2 further ITF Pro Titles at the age of 18 and a steady climb up the rankings continued, albeit blighted by some serious injuries along the way. At the age of 19she made the final round of qualifying for the Wimbledon Championships losing a heart breakingly close match 13.11 in the third set. 2018 has already seen her claim her first $25 ITF Pro title as a qualifier and beating 3 former top 100 players on her way to victory. Harriet has also had much success in doubles winning 10 ITF Pro doubles titles, including three at $25,000 level, the most recent one on home soil in November 2017. She is now at a career high ranking of WTA 214 and looking forward to breaking into the top 200 very soon.
224 Katy Dunne (born 16th February 1995)
Katy played tennis from an early age as well as competing in swimming, gymnastics and running. She represented GB throughout her junior career, was part of a Maureen Connolly team which beat the US, and played in the Junior Fed Cup finals in Mexico. She achieved a top ten junior ITF ranking and played in all the junior grand slams. Katy won her first ITF women’s title in 2013 in Greece and has won 5 singles and 7 doubles titles since she started on the women’s tour. She made her WTA tour main draw debut at the 2014 Aegon Classic after being awarded a wildcard into qualifying. She defeated the tenth and second seeds in qualifying, Alizé Lim and Tímea Babos to qualify to meet 44th ranked Camila Giorgi in the first round. Sadly, she had to retire with a hip injury after only three games of the third set.