Our coaches - Lichfield Friary Lawn Tennis Club

Meet the coaches

We caught up with the club’s tennis coaches to find out what inspired their love of the game and why they enjoy teaching other players.

Paul Bayliss – Director of Tennis

Lichfield Tennis Coach Paul Bayliss

Qualifications

  • RPT European Professional
  • LTA Licensed Coach
  • LTA Tutor
  • RPT Tutor
  • DBS, First Aid qualified

When did you start playing?

I started playing tennis in my garden at the age of 8 (luckily just out of wooden rackets!). I used to practise to be like John McEnroe and would then go to the local park to play with all my mates. The good old days! I got the love of the game from my Mum screaming at the black and white TV watching Wimbledon. (She still does it! But not in black and white!)

How long have you been coaching?

I’ve been coaching for nearly 25 years and have had the pleasure of learning from some of the top coaches in the world – most of them Spanish (Emilio Sanchez and Rafael Nadal’s coaching team). They keep things very simple and make it all about the player and not themselves. This has shaped me into the coach I try to be now. If you teach people to love the game first, they will do for life – whatever level they play at.

Other than your prowess on the court, are there any other similarities between you and the top players?

I share my birthday with Roger Federer. Although I am a bit older and he’s a bit richer!

What do you love most about tennis?

When people I’ve coached as a child bring their children back for me to coach them – the circle of life!

Who is your favourite player?

I have two: Roger Federer and my son.

Michael Hampson – Head Coach

Lichfield Tennis Coach Michael Hampson

Qualifications

  • RPT Mark of a pro+ Instructor 1
  • DBS & Safeguarding
  • Competition organiser
  • Emergency First Aid at Work

Tell us about your tennis career so far

I have coached for 6 years, starting as a volunteer/hitting partner all the way through to head coach.

I reached the national junior tour finals at the age of 14 and have played in the top men’s county divisions: Warwickshire for 6 years and Staffordshire for 2 years, having just helped the club gain promotion to Premier A.

I now play in the regional men’s Aegon team tennis league after winning the county division in 2014. My current LTA rating is 5.1.

Who have you enjoyed working with before coming to Lichfield Friary?

I spent two years as a junior player working with Yves Lateraille, a coach who has worked with players on the professional tour.

What do you love most about tennis?

Knowing that I’m a big part of helping players of all ages improve and grow to love tennis.

Who is your favourite player?

Roger Federer.

James Graney – Club Coach

Lichfield Tennis Coach James Graney

Qualifications

  • RPT Junior Tennis Assistant
  • Emergency first aid at work Lv 2 and DBS
  • Competition organiser
  • Fitness Instruction QCF Lv 2

How long have you been at Lichfield Friary?

I have been a member at the club for over 10 years now, I started when Jamie France joined! I have been coaching for the last 4 years.

Have you won any awards for your sporting achievements?

In 2014 I was awarded the sports personality of the year award at Chase Terrace High School. I was very proud!

What do you love most about tennis?

Seeing the smile on children’s faces when they suddenly realise they can do something they didn’t know they could!

Who is your favourite player?

Roger Federer.

Andrew Smith – Club Coach

Lichfield Tennis Coach Andrew Smith

Qualifications

  • RPT Mark of a Pro+ National Professional
  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • Competition organiser

How long have you been playing tennis?

I have been playing tennis since I was 6 and have played competitively at regional and national level. I play for the 1st team in the Staffordshire League. While at University, I play for the 1st Team and captained the side to the Men’s National Trophy Cup last season.

Have you played against any famous tennis players?

While working at Wimbledon I played mini tennis with Jamie Murray, Andrew Castle and Bob & Mike Bryan.

What do you love most about tennis?

The unpredictable nature of the sport, from what shot will be played next to who is going to win the Grand Slams.

Who is your favourite player?

There are three contenders: Roger Federer, Mansour Bahrami and Nick Kyrgios.

Yasmin Palejwala – Assistant Coach and hitting partner

Lichfield Tennis Coach Yasmin Palejwala

How long have you been playing tennis?

I have been having lessons at the club since I was 6 years old. I will hopefully be joining the Academy later on this year. I have previously played for the girls 17&U Aegon team, and have won the girls club championships 3 times. I also now play for the women’s B team. I’m always excited to further my experience with my coaching, and see everyone improve and have fun!

What do you love most about tennis?

The smell of new tennis balls when you open a can for the first time. And the feeling of achievement when you win a really good point.

Have you had any memorable days on court?

My longest day on court, playing and coaching, was 13 hours, and yet I still came back the next day to play some more!

Dan John – Assistant Coach and hitting partner

Lichfield Tennis Coach Dan John

How long have you been playing at Lichfield Friary?

I have been at the club since the age of 9 and now play in the club’s tennis academy. I am ranked 14 in the county for my age group and play for the first men’s team in both Staffordshire and Burton, as well as that I’m in the first team for the junior Aegon team.

What do you love most about tennis?

Playing for fun and using tennis to socialise with my friends.

Any words of wisdom for future tennis champions?

You must have perfect practice for perfect results!

Hussain Palejwala – Assistant Coach and hitting partner

Hussain Palejwala Lichfield Tennis Coach

When did you first start playing tennis?

I have attended junior coaching lessons since I was 6 and now participate in the academy taking place at the club. Next year, I hope to play in the first men’s Staffordshire league again and continue to play in the Junior Aegon leagues also. Around two years ago, I completed a Nike junior tennis assistant course and a tennis leaders coaching course and I have been working and volunteering as a tennis coach ever since.

What do you love most about tennis?

The thing I like most about tennis is overcoming challenges in order to win.

Who is your favourite player?

Jo Wilfried Tsonga.

Thomas Slater – Assistant Coach and hitting partner

Lichfield Tennis Coach Tom Slater

How long have you been playing tennis?

I have been playing tennis since the age of seven. I now play for the men’s B team and in the junior Aegon league. I also use tennis to socialise by playing in the club’s men’s winter league, and to keep my fitness in club fitness sessions.

Have you had any particularly memorable matches?

The longest tennis match I’ve ever watched was at Wimbledon, it lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes!

What do you love most about tennis?

Consistently beating my brother.

Who is your favourite player?

Andy Murray.

Dan Slater – Assistant Coach and hitting partner

Lichfield Tennis Coach Dan Slater

How long have you been playing tennis?

I have been playing tennis since the age of seven. I now play for the men’s B team and in the junior Aegon league. I also use tennis to socialise by playing in the club’s men’s winter league, and to keep my fitness in club fitness sessions.

Can you give us any interesting tennis facts?

I once squashed a scorpion with a tennis racquet in Tanzania!

What do you love most about tennis?

The sound of opening a new tube of tennis balls!

Who is your favourite player?

Rafa Nadal.