Former Wimbledon champ to join talented
Rhydypenau Primary School pupil on court.
One Cardiff tennis hopeful’s dream will come true this week when they get to
meet eight-time Grand Slam-winning star Andre Agassi.
Elina Pickerd-Barua, 9, sealed her audience with the 1992 Wimbledon champion
after battling through the national finals of David Lloyd Leisure’s Tennis All
Stars Championships last December – coming runner-up in the nine and under
It was the culmination of three months of competition, beginning with in-club
tournaments, before progressing to regional finals. More than 2,000 children
Elina, who attends Rhydypenau Primary School will visit David Lloyd Leisure’s
Chigwell club, in Essex, on Thursday February 26, where Agassi is launching his
new fitness equipment concept BILT by Agassi & Reyes.
Agassi will meet Elina before heading to the court with her to hit some balls.
Pranoy and Nicole said their daughter, who has been playing tennis since the
age of six and has won various tournaments, cannot wait to meet the American
legend – just eight days before Great Britain take on the US in the Davis Cup.
“Elina was chuffed to bits! She was first in disbelief, and then in tears of
joy when she heard about the invite to meet Agassi, and then…to actually hit
with him! What a reward for all the hard work she puts into her tennis!”
The Tennis All Stars finals saw 64 youngsters on court, with winners crowned in
three categories – Red, Orange and Green. The Tennis All Stars programme takes
players through a colour-coded system based on age and level.
Martin Fuller, David Lloyd Leisure’s tennis participation manager, said:
“Agassi is one of the all-time greats of tennis – it will be a wonderful thrill
for Elina to not only meet him, but to actually hit a few balls with him on
“We have over 12,500 children playing tennis every week on our Tennis All Stars
coaching programme – and more than 2,000 took part in the championships – so it
is a fantastic achievement for Elina to do so well in the finals. We thought it
only right that they should meet a real tennis hero like Andre.
“She showed great enthusiasm, skill and sportsmanship. Who knows, Elina could
even follow in the footsteps of the great man!”