Sabin ready to tackle LTA role

The Bolton News: Cathie Sabin is the first female president of the LTA Cathie Sabin is the first female president of the LTA

The Lawn Tennis Association's first female president believes guiding Michael Owen and Sol Campbell through their GCSEs can help her support Britain's top tennis stars.

Cathie Sabin was confirmed as the first woman president in the LTA's 125-year history at Wednesday's AGM at London's National Tennis Centre.

The 66-year-old former deputy head and PE teacher taught a host of future England international footballers during her time at Idsall School in Shropshire.

The FA's Lilleshall School of Excellence pupils attended Idsall School for their academic rigour, falling under the wing of Sabin and her history teacher husband John.

Sabin believes helping those young footballing hopefuls thrive off as well as on the field can now colour her LTA stewardship.

She said: "It took some adjustment for some of the boys, it was quite different from what they were used to for some of them.

"We certainly didn't coach them at football of course, but in terms of any other sports they picked up the skills extremely quickly.

"They were all extremely interesting young men and many were very astute and polite.

"Certainly Michael Owen was lovely, Jermaine Defoe was great fun and Sol Campbell always had stature, but he was a very caring person.

"I would like to think those experiences helped give me an eye for what elite athletes need in terms of pastoral care as much as anything else."

Sabin hopes her groundbreaking appointment can pave the way for a new generation of female administrators within the sport.

Paying tribute to LTA Fed Cup captain Judy Murray, Sabin said it is vital young women have visible role models at tennis' top level.

She said: "Judy's just inspirational and charismatic, in her hands-on work, on the court with her experience, and also how she is off the court too.

"I suppose I've got the experience of teaching young people, helping them reach their potential and overcome obstacles and problems, and I hope I can harness that.

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