Ben Gudzelak has been forced to pull out of the Sellers International tournament at Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash club because of a back injury.
But the new head of racket sports at Edgerton will be still be at the heart of the annual eight-day event, which starts on Saturday after being put back a week from its usual time slot because of the Tour de France.
Gudzelak, who won the Sellers men’s singles in 2005 and would have been top seed this year, sees the tournament as a top opportunity to showcase the club.
A county player originally from Halifax who was full-time for two years and had a tennis scholarship in Texas, he is an engineering graduate of Brunel University in London and worked in construction for four years before becoming a full-time tennis coach in 2009.
Stints at Cumberland (in West Hampstead), Gosling (Welwyn Garden City) and the famous Queens club, in London, have set him up for a challenging new role in Huddersfield.
In charge of tennis, squash, racketball and padel, his remit is to increase participation in all four.
“The plan is to develop the coaching programmes we run, promote new events and activities at the club, and go into the local community (Greenhead Park, the University, colleges, schools and nurseries,” he explained.
“I am very excited about the potential of this role and making an impact on sport in the area.”
Of his Sellers setback, Gudezelak, once 850th in the world and in the top 30 in Britain, admitted: “It’s a big disappointment.
“I would like to have had the chance to show the members what I am about ion the tennis court.
“The injury is clearing up nicely, but because the Sellers is an LTA event, there are deadlines for entry, and at that time, I wasn’t sure about my chances.
“I will still be round and about, and I would urge members of the public to come and have a look.
“It’s a grade three tournament, which means county standard tennis, so there should be plenty of entertainment.
“We have around 320 entrants from under eight through to open age, so it’s going to be busy.
“Good weather will be a big bonus, but we have indoor facilities, so we aren’t dependent on sunshine.”
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