Coach Luke set to nurture town’s top tennis talent

Former British tennis star Luke Milligan hopes to nurture the talent of Eastbourne’s young tennis stars after being appointed head of performance at Eastbourne Sports Park Tennis Centre.

The ex-professional, who coached teenager Laura Robson in his time at the Lawn Tennis Assosciation, has expressed his delight in moving to Eastbourne to coach up and coming youngsters.

Eastbourne Tennis head of performance Luke Milligan

Eastbourne Tennis head of performance Luke Milligan

Milligan will team up with director of Eastbourne Tennis, Matt Edwards to deliver experienced coaching sessions and further develop junior tennis players’ progression into the senior game.

Following the 37-year-old’s career as a player which saw him reach the third round of Wimbledon in 1996, the tennis enthusiast began a career as a coach which has seen him at Roehampton for the past seven years.

Milligan said, “These last few years I’ve been focussing a lot more on the performance side of things so I’m going to be helping Matt out with some of the kids who are looking to play some high level tennis and together I think we’ll do a pretty good job down here.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to spend time working with top coaches including the likes of Nick Bollettieri, Sven Groeneveld, Nick Saviano, Nigel Sears and that’s given me a good grounding. I’ve learnt a lot from them.”

Milligan helped British starlet Robson climb 100 places in the rankings and qualify for the US Open and he’ll be hoping he can emulate that success with Eastbourne’s young tennis players.

Some of the players have already had an immediate impact on Milligan after him being there just weeks.

He added, “It’s been interesting coaching some of the Mini-tennis Red and Mini-tennis Orange sessions and there’s a few really talented kids so hopefully we’ll see them pushing on and doing well.”

Milligan emphasised that for children starting out in tennis at an early age the most important thing is to enjoy it.

“They need to learn the really simple things first and enjoy doing it. It can be tough and arduous at the age of 11 or 12 and that’s not a good sign. Don’t be scared to enjoy it. Keep the fundamental things right and you can progress from there.”