Canterbury tennis trailblazer Stephen Woodley has been recognised for his immense services to the sport and the community as the LTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

The annual LTA Tennis Awards, presented by Lexus, highlight and celebrate the incredible achievements and contributions of people in tennis across Britain.

Held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, Woodley, 86, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight after 50 years of tireless contribution to grassroots tennis in Canterbury and East Kent.

Helping turn the region into one of the most prolific tennis hotspots in the country, Woodley says he could not be prouder to have passed on his love of the sport for generations to come.

“I’m enormously proud,” he said. “Fifty years ago, Canterbury was a dead area for tennis.

“People played cricket very seriously, but the tennis, we didn't even have teams in the Kent League.

“We now have 16 teams playing in the Kent League from Canterbury Club, and we had zero in 1969 when I moved here.

“The growth is wonderful - 400 children for instance from about three or four upwards play and seven coaches who are earning their living with us.”

First launched in 2015 with the help of former LTA president Cathie Sabin OBE, the LTA Awards recognise the vital work of volunteers, coaches, officials, and players dedicating their precious time and energy to the continual development and growth of the sport.

Over the past nine years, the awards have illustrated the depth of service and talent within the tennis community and serve as an inspiration to others to get involved in the game.

Woodley was one of a batch of elated winners at the LTA Awards who had been selected from more than 2,200 nominations across 15 different categories, and were all acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to tennis in 2023.

LTA President Sandi Procter, speaking after the event at the National Tennis Centre, said: “The ceremony has been a tremendous celebration of the people that make our sport so special.

“The incredible stories behind the finalists are so heart-warming to hear. The hard work and dedication of all the winners and runners-up too is unbelievable, and I am always so impressed by the selfless sacrifice of all the volunteers, officials, and coaches.

“I have always been passionate about the grassroots and the awards are our way of highlighting the extraordinary contribution of the individuals and venues that help us open tennis up bringing new players and fans to the game.”

The annual LTA Tennis Awards, presented by Lexus.