Meet the tennis influencer promoting the game to a whole new audience

Ashley-Neaves

It is a rapidly expanding tennis world that is taking the sport to a whole new audience and now one of the leading tennis influencers in the UK has given us an insight into his world.

Ashley Neaves was British Coach of the Year in 2017, with the respect he commands in the tennis community boosted by his impressive YouTube and Instagram channels promoting the game to a huge follower base.

Head coach at The Avenue Lawn Tennis Club on England’s south coast, Neaves used the unwanted spare time he was presented with during the Covid-19 lockdown to boost the flow of content on his social media channels, with his one-minute tennis lessons proving to be a big hit.

With 26.5k followers on Instagram and a growing audience on his YouTube platform, the Tennis Mentor told Tennis365 that he is keen to spread the message of the game around the world rather than become a ‘tennis influencer’.

“Influencer is a funny word,” begins Ashley. “Although my influence on different platforms has grown, I wouldn’t class myself as an influencer.

“In the tennis world, those of us putting out coaching tips on our social platforms are doing it to help players to improve their skills, helping parents to get a better understanding of the tennis landscape or even helping other coaches for ideas on drills.

As tennis coaches, we have an influence over people in being role models and there is a really positive thing happening online with coaches putting lots of positive content out there. I’m not sure how I feel about being a tennis influencer, but maybe it will grow on me.”

With tennis lacking media exposure outside the main events on the ATP and WTA Tours, a huge has gravitated towards social media platforms promoting the game.

Functional Tennis and Tennis Legend are some of the Instagram accounts that have attracted huge follower numbers in recent years, with footage of top players and club players in training proving to be a huge hit with audiences.

“Tennis is tricky to find on television now, so kids growing up these days will see most of their tennis online on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube as opposed to seeing full-on matches,” added Ashley.

“While that is sad, if it means more kids are seeing tennis on social media, that could be a good thing for our sport.”

Tennis needs to open its doors to new audiences and new avenues are now opening up that could be crucial to the future of the game.

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