At David Lloyd Clubs, we’re really proud of our training sessions for kids and young people. Our Tennis Stars programme, in particular, is second to none (tennis being where it all started for us)!

As part of our Tennis Stars blog series, we sat down with alumnus and now UC Berkley tennis player, Derrick Chen, and his mother, Jenny, to talk about how the programme has helped with his success.

When did Derrick start tennis at David Lloyd Clubs and what inspired him to take up the sport?

“Derrick started tennis about two months before turning 4. He always sat with me on the side of the court when his older brother, Vincent had his tennis lessons. One day, we were just about to take Vincent to David Lloyd Cambridge for his lesson, and Derrick said to me that he wanted to play as well. I knew they had a young children group for 4-6 year olds, but I wasn’t sure if Derrick could join as he was not 4 yet. I approached Oli Daniells (David Lloyd Cambridge Tennis Coach) and was so pleased that Oli was happy to take him” – Jenny

What was your first impression of the Tennis Stars programme?

“Tennis group lessons for young children lays the foundation for their overall development and enjoyment of the sport. It provides opportunities for the children to interact with other children their age, honing their communication, cooperation as well as competitiveness in a supportive enjoyment. The group dynamic adds an element of excitement and fun to the learning process, whilst also teaching the children the importance of discipline, concentration, and focus.” – Jenny

Derrick playing tennis at Les Petits as Tarbes

What do you remember about the Tennis Stars Programme?

“I remember joining the groups and immediately enjoying running around with other kids. It was great to have an environment where I could begin learning how to play tennis whilst having lots of fun. Oli was my first coach when I joined the groups at David Lloyd Cambridge. He was great with helping develop the basic techniques and always had a positive presence on the court.” – Derrick

Who had the greatest impact in your tennis development?

“Nick Brown (former David Lloyd Clubs Racquets Manager and ex-professional tennis player) who has immense experience in playing, coaching, and mentoring was for sure an important figure in my development since I was 4. He’s always positive and supportive, and encouraged me to participate in group competitions with opportunities to apply the skills. I learned through practice. I learnt to handle pressure, manage my emotions, and maintain focus even when faced with challenging situations” – Derrick

Derrick Chen with Nick Brown at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

After you completed the Tennis Stars Programme, how did you develop your tennis skills further and how did David Lloyd Clubs continue to support you in developing your tennis career?

“From the age of 11, I studied and trained at Culford School during the week, and then on the weekends and holidays, if I didn’t have a competition, I’d train at David Lloyd Cambridge. In 2018, I moved across the pond and continued my tennis career in America. I am currently a student athlete at University of California Berkeley Men’s Tennis Team, where I participate in the NCAA Division 1 / PAC 12. Don’t worry, I still visit David Lloyd Cambridge when I am in the UK and had the privilege of representing and winning the NPL National Final with David Lloyd Cambridge in June 2022.” – Derrick

Series of photos of Derrick at University of California Berkeley

Achievements:

  • National U10 Single and Doubles Champion (2013)
  • National U12 Single and Doubles Champion
  • National U18 Double Champion
  • Ranked UK Number 1 for U10, U12 and U14.
  • Ranked Number 5 in Tennis Europe U14
  • Played Junior Wimbledon in 2019 and 2021
  • Represent Team GB in several events since the age of 10, including Summer Cups, Winter Cups and Junior Davis Cup

If you are feeling inspired by Derrick’s story and think your child would love to be a part of our Tennis Stars programme, find your nearest club, and get them signed up today!