Doncaster’s rising tennis star nets once-in-a-lifetime prize

Matthew Clegg
Matthew Clegg

Christmas will come early for Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club prospect Matthew Clegg.

As a result of winning the prestigious boys’ Virgin Active Necker Cup 14 and Under singles title at Windsor recently, Matthew will be coached by three all-time greats.

Matthew, who celebrated his 15th birthday a couple of weeks ago, will spend a week on Necker, Sir Richard Branson’s private island, later this month where he will attend a Legends’ coaching course staffed by the likes of Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity for Matthew,” said dad Kevin, a very promising player in his younger days and still a first team regular with both Doncaster and the Yorkshire veterans.

“The Necker Cup win capped a fabulous year for Matthew. He finished the season ranked fifth in the country in his age group and number one in doubles.

“He also picked up his first world ranking points at under-18 level and won a national level tournament in Edinbugh.

“The $5,000 coaching grant he won at Windsor will also come in handy in view of the fact that his coaching and tournament commitments probably costs us between £15,000 and £20,000 a year.”

Matthew, whose family moved into Saxton Avenue from Armthorpe when he was younger so it would be easier for him to play more, is currently in his third year at the MyTennis Nottingham Academy where he plays around four hours a day.

Matthew first took up the sport as a seven-year-old.

“He used to come down to the Doncaster club with me,” recalled 42 year-old Kevin. whose wife Nicky acts as Matthew’s driver.

“He then started to attend the club’s junior coaching sessions run by Mick Hague.

“It was obvious, even though he was a late starter, that he had a natural talent.

“As he got older he had to travel to Goole because of the lack of indoor courts at Doncaster, but he has continued to play for the club - who do a great job with the juniors - in the various leagues and recently won the club’s closed men’s singles title – thought to be the youngest player ever to do so.”

Matthew, who has aspirations to become a professional tennis player, boasts a powerful serve and ‘soft hands’ when it comes to drop shots and volleys.

“He’s made rapid strides this year, as he has had to playing on the British Men’s Tour,” said Kevin.

“But there are still things he needs to work on - which he is doing at Nottingham - such as his speed and agility which don’t come naturally to him.”

Matthew, who stands 6’1”, is expected to spend most of 2016 playing in Europe.