A TENNIS coach still teaching at 80 years young has had his efforts recognised by scooping the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at this year’s LTA Tennis Awards, writes Thomas Williams.

One of 18 national winners, Bash Kara received the accolade from the governing body for tennis in Britain for his epic efforts with Andover and Swanmore Tennis Clubs in Hampshire.

The Lifetime Achievement award is a special prize that recognises some inspirational role models who have dedicated a staggering number of years to tennis.

Kara's passion for inclusion began when he brought tennis to the council estates in Southampton, a programme he took to Downing Street where he ran sessions with John McEnroe in front of Tony Blair.

Kara, a true leader at his two tennis clubs and far beyond, was presented with his award at a virtual ceremony by Annabel Croft, former British number one.

“Finding out I had won during the virtual presentation was a big surprise for me and I am very proud to have been recognised and given the award,” said Kara.

“But I won’t stop yet, I will continue coaching the junior players.

“I have been coaching for more than 25 years and I enjoy every moment of it, working with young players, meeting other coaches and attending coach training sessions organised by the LTA.

“I was introduced to tennis by a friend – I really enjoyed it, took up the game and then went through the LTA to qualify, and I haven’t stopped since!

"It’s a social game that can be played by anyone at any age and I really enjoy that about tennis.”

Currently in their fifth year, the LTA Tennis Awards celebrate the achievements made by outstanding tennis volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players in Britain.

Streamed live on LTA channels and presented by Leon Smith OBE, the national ceremony – which was digital for the first time in the awards’ history – saw the likes of current British number ones Dan Evans and Johanna Konta pick up the LTA’s Men’s and Women’s ‘Player of the Year’ awards respectively, alongside 16 other deserving national winners.

This year saw more than 2,000 nominations across grassroots categories.

They included Young Person of the Year and Club of the Year. Nominations were drawn from more than 25,000 volunteers, 4,400 coaches, 940 officials, 20,000 schools, 2,700 clubs and more than 9,700 LTA approved tournaments.

“The LTA Tennis Awards are a real celebration of the people that make our sport thrive,” said LTA president, David Rawlinson.

“They celebrate the achievements made by outstanding volunteers, coaches, officials, venues and players, who are all vital in helping us to grow the game.

“To be named a national winner out of over 2,000 public nominations is a fantastic achievement so I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and extend my thanks to each and every one of them for all that they do to help tennis in Britain.”

Inspired by Bash’s story? To find out more information about the LTA Tennis Awards or for information on how to play, coach, volunteer or officiate in tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk