Meet Gloucestershire's future Wimbledon stars and Olympic athletes

With aspirations to play at Wimbledon, the British Junior Open and compete for Team GB in the Olympics, SoGlos meets the ambitious performance juniors at East Glos Club to hear all about their journey into racket sports — from their typical training schedules to most memorable tournaments in tennis, squash and padel.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
In partnership with East Glos Club  |
East Glos Club

East Glos Club is a fun and sociable sports club in Cheltenham, with first-class racket sport facilities, expert coaching and annual membership options that give members the chance to enjoy tennis, squash, racketball and padel. Players of all ages and abilities are welcome, with opportunities for competitive and social play, too.

As well as welcoming players of all ages and abilities, Cheltenham racket sports club East Glos is also coaching some promising young athletes with dreams of playing Wimbledon and representing Team GB in the Olympics. 

SoGlos speaks to the club's elite performance juniors in tennis, squash and padel — Eva, 13, Matthew, 14, and Charlie, 13 — who are excelling in their sports regionally, nationally and even overseas.

How did you get into racket sports?

Eva: Mum put me in tennis lessons at two-years-old, although you had to be two-and-a-half, so I found it hard to stand on the line! We gave it another six months until I started regular fun sessions.

My tennis journey is supported by an amazing local charity, CASS & Friends, which was set up in 2015 to financially assist young athletes in the Cotswolds with their training and participation in top-level sports.

Matthew: My family and I joined a fun session when I was four years old and discovered squash. We continued to go to the session every weekend for around two years! I joined a summer camp when I was five and got invited to play for the regional potential team at six-years-old — then, I started my East Glos squash academy training.

CharlieI only started playing padel in August 2023, after hiring a court with my family on holiday in Gran Canaria. I found it really fun, so after enquiring, I was asked to train with similar aged boys between 12 and 15 at East Glos in September.

What made you realise you wanted to compete seriously?

EvaIt would have to be watching the pros play at Wimbledon in person. I also remember watching Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and thinking he was amazing!

Matthew: At eight-years-old, I was invited to represent the region for the first time at an international tournament in Japan. In this tournament, I was shocked by how I saw squash just like fireworks — it's so beautiful and fast — and I came third! This made me want to continue playing and thrive in squash.

Charlie: I have played county tennis for several years so know what it’s like to play a racket sport competitively. Since realising that my skillset is particularly suited to padel, I have taken every available opportunity to compete.

What does your typical training schedule look like?

EvaI train four days a week and would usually have tournaments on the weekends. Monday is my busiest day when I do a private session in the morning before school; then I assist my East Glos coaches by hitting with others having private lessons; followed by a squad and strength and conditioning session in the evening, all together doing four-and-a-half hours of tennis!

On Tuesdays and Fridays, I do group sessions in the evening and on a Thursday, I do a private session followed by a group session and strength and conditioning in the evening. Wednesday is my rest day. 

Matthew: I have regular training sessions for an hour-and-a-half, twice a week — sometimes three times a week if I have the time available. My sessions involve length hitting tactics, ghosting (replicating movements produced in matches in a controlled and conscious manner), general fitness and focusing on the technical side of squash.

Charlie: At the moment, I train for an hour in a group session and sometimes have an individual lesson with the East Glos padel coach. I have also played in the social session on a Saturday evening with the advanced adult group.

How have your East Glos coaches influenced your development as a player?

EvaMy coaches are Pete and Melissa Russell. They have massively helped me develop my tennis skills to where I am now. It helps having both of them on court, with Melissa hitting and feeding and Pete coaching from my end. They are amazing and so supportive in every way!

Matthew: Rather than coaches, I would say they are my partners. Every coach has a different style and their own advantages. I felt inspired when I played with Mark Toseland; Fiona Geaves has particularly good technical skills that I should learn; Tom Ford is very skilful and has lots of experience in different tournaments. It's fun to play with them all — the East Glos Club coaching covers all the requirements for a junior player to develop their squash skills.

Charlie: Simon Corbishley is an extremely knowledgeable and nationally well-respected padel coach. His positivity and enthusiasm are incredible. He sets high expectations in his sessions in an engaging and supportive manner. They are always fast-paced and fun.

What have been some of your most memorable tournaments so far?

Eva: Winning the doubles national tournament in Sunderland in February 2024 and getting through to the last 16 in the Road to Wimbledon competition.

Matthew: In December 2023, I came third in a gold tournament in England. It was my most memorable because I played a five-set game that lasted an hour in the quarter final — my first long game! I was under high pressure, and I needed to push myself to keep control.

Also, my first international tournament in Japan when I was eight. Not only did I get my first international medal and was really happy with my performance, it was also especially memorable as all the players got kakigōri for free after the match, which is a delicious, shaved ice dessert!

Charlie: I played my first tournament in Bristol with my partner Ethan, also an East Glos member, in October 2024 — having only been playing for six weeks. We were runners-up, narrowly losing to the number one seeds in the final. This gave me the confidence and realisation that I could compete at a high level. Since then, Ethan and I have won two more competitions, one under-14s and one under-16s.  

Are there any specific tournaments or rankings you're aiming for?

Eva: My main aim is to be at the top of the under-14s age group by the end of the year and qualify again for the Road to Wimbledon tournament. I'm also looking for sponsorship to allow me to make the next step.

Matthew: In the following season, I aim to be in the final for most of the big tournaments in England, if not winning them. The British Junior Open is a tournament that I really want to excel in because it’s one of the world's most prestigious tournament for junior players that compete in squash.

Charlie: I am currently the number 10 under-14s player in Great Britain, but I would love to be in the top three. After having recently taken part in two trials, I have been selected for the GB training squad so hopefully I can represent GB in the European or World Championships — and maybe even the Olympics. 

In partnership with East Glos Club  |

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