Talented duo win world university tennis title

Pippa Horn
Pippa Horn in action (Credit: Master’U BNP Paribas)

Great Britain’s University Tennis Team clinched gold at the prestigious Master’U BNP Paribas Tournament in France earlier this month with two current TASS athletes playing a key role in the historic win.

Captained by Universities Manager at the Tennis Foundation, Alistair Higham, TASS pair Emma Hurst and Pippa Horn were part of the Team GB squad who won the world’s biggest annual university tennis team event.

Already guaranteed their best-ever finish in the tournament following an incredible 7-0 semi-final win over China, Britain began the week with a 6-1 win over Ireland, before going on to defeat long-standing champions the United States 4-2 in a thrilling final.

“The experience of competing in France at the BNP Paribas tournament was the most memorable tennis experience of my life,” admits 22-year-old Horn

“The atmosphere was incredible, we had a phenomenal team spirit and we all came together to play some fantastic tennis at crucial moments. To go down in GB uni history is incredible and I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that it was a week that I’ll never forget.”

Hurst and Horn were joined by four students from three different universities – University of Stirling, University of Bath and University of North Florida – with a mix of both experienced and debuting athletes in the team.

The talented duo both study at the University of Bath, which also doubles as their TASS Delivery Site, regularly accessing specialist support services including physiotherapy, lifestyle support and strength and conditioning.

“TASS has been a huge help to me so far and I know that it will continue to benefit me massively as I develop my tennis,” said Horn, who cites Serena Williams as her sporting role model.

“I’ve really benefitted from the physio treatments as my body tends to break down so I get injured fairly frequently. Being able to see a physio has really helped me keep my body on the right track.

“Additionally, the lifestyle sessions have been a massive help to me because it can be very challenging to manage my academic and tennis work load and keep a good balance between the two.”

Studying for a Masters in Management, Horn is now preparing to enter a period of exams in January, before before turning her focus back to tennis in time to complete individually next summer.

“I think that it’s extremely important to gain a degree alongside your sport because you simply never know whats going to happen. I’m a huge advocate for education because I think that gaining a deeper understanding for things makes your life so much richer.

“My parents have always supported my tennis but they’ve encouraged me to always stay in education and I’m very glad that I have done so. If I was to get injured tomorrow, I still have my education to fall back on so it definitely takes a lot of the pressure off.”

Great Britain’s University Tennis Team (Credit: Master’U BNP Paribas)

Rachel Smith, Athlete Support Officer at the University of Bath, said: “Both Emma and Pippa have been utilising the TASS support at the University of Bath to its full effect.

“They’ve been proactive in accessing all of the support services that TASS offers, regularly working with our strength and conditioning coaches to support their athletic development, with the physios for pre-hab.

“Most importantly, they’re dedicated to utilising the lifestyle advisors to ensure that once they both graduate, they’re prepared for the next stages of their lives.

“Pippa and Emma are fully committed to succeeding in their sport and education, and are role models for the rest of our TASS athletes here at Bath.”

Universities Manager, Alistair Higham, is positive about the ongoing partnership between TASS, talented athletes and the Tennis Foundation, explaining:

“TASS has been great for tennis; it has really professionalised the support we give our top players and helped them be in the best shape possible for big international events such as this.

“Our relationship with the Scheme also extends to the TASS Pro Player Coach Programme which helps our best players to develop a dual career approach, in both playing and coaching.

“Many transferable skills can be learnt from coaching and competing, such as recovering from disappointment, striving towards excellence, teamwork, communication, learning to stand up for yourself on the court and working with others.

“This pathway approach gives our university tennis programme a progressive feel and we look forward to building upon this next year”

Emma Hurst
Emma Hurst in action (Credit: Master’U BNP Paribas)