I have been playing tennis since the age of 4. My older brother and sister were members of theNorthumberland County Performance squads which were in place before the NTA’s inception in 2004 and due to this I was exposed to tennis from a very young age. I was coached by Chris Sanderson from the age of 5 and we continued to work together for 13 years during which time I competed regularly at national and international levels.

The NTA provided me with an elite-level training base that gave me access to regular squad sessions, individual coaching sessions, tennis specific strength and conditioning sessions and access to a Sports Psychologist. The NTA also provided me with the opportunity to travel to a wide variety of tournaments ranging from Grade 1-3, Tennis Europe and ITF events.

In 2012 I moved to the USA on a tennis scholarship at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, where I achieved a National Division 1 collegiate ranking of 30 in singles and 38 in doubles. During my time at Drake the team achieved its highest ever ranking of 15. In 2013 I achieved an ATP singles ranking.

After my graduation from Drake in 2016 I moved to the University of Tulsa as a volunteer assistant coach and completed a Masters degree in Business Administration in 2019. I subsequently returned to Des Moines as Assistant Head Coach to Drake’s men’s team and in 2022 took up my current position as Head Tennis Professional at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

In my new role I find myself constantly drawing on the experience and knowledge that I gained from my time at the NTA. I can categorically state that without the NTA I would not have been able to compete at the highest levels and subsequently develop my career in tennis.


I was coached by Chris Sanderson from the age of 10 and began training with the Northumberland Tennis Academy at the age of 12, when it was first established. I trained with the NTA for 6 years until I was 18, and can honestly say that I couldn't have asked for a better environment in which to develop my game and realise my love for the sport.

Chris and the team at NTA always went above and beyond for myself and the other players in the programme. They were all extremely knowledgeable and professional, and passionate about helping myself and the other players to develop across all areas of the game. The programme I received covered all aspects of the sport, from on-court sessions to strength & conditioning and sports psychology, and every session provided the perfect balance of fun and professionalism.

When I began training with NTA I was a low-level county player who had previously trained a couple of times a week, and by the time I was 18 I had progressed to playing on the professional circuit.

I am certain that without the support and attention to detail that Chris and the team provided me with, I would never have been able to achieve all I have in the sport. As a junior I reached the top-200 of the ITF junior world rankings, winning 6 international titles and reaching the second round of Junior Wimbledon. As a senior, I achieved a career-high singles world ranking of 930 and doubles ranking of 650 and was also a silver-medallist in the mixed doubles event at the 2015 World University Games.

The passion for tennis I developed whilst with the NTA has now transferred into my professional career, working as Tennis Development Officer at the University of Bath and more recently taking the position of Tennis Director at Millfield School.

Matthew Nice

I have really enjoyed my time at the Northumberland tennis academy over the 10 years I spent training there. It has allowed me to develop my tennis to a national level, gaining a place at an American College in August 2022 but it also helped me develop as a person.

It is a great environment to train and improve in, with coaches who are constantly trying to improve you as a player. Chris Sanderson has been great to work with, he has helped me find my game style and vastly improved my technique. He has constantly encouraged me to improve.

NTA also supported me at tournaments where results haven’t gone my way and helped me dust myself down and keep going. Without his and the other coaches help I wouldn’t be near the level I am today.

I look forward to visiting NTA whenever I’m back from the States and helping with the next group of aspiring young players.


My name is Harry Cookson, I’m from Durham and Cleveland and I started playing at the Northumberland Tennis Academy when I was 9 years old. I trained there around 4 or 5 times a week until I turned 18, which consisted of squads, individual lessons and fitness training.

I have a lot of good memories with NTA, but if I had to pick a favourite I would say the trip to Portugal for a U14 Tennis Europe tournament, where I got to experience competing against players from around the world, have coaches there to support me and also running on the beach!!

Training all those years taught me how to be dedicated and passionate towards something, and also gave me the chance to make some great friends and have a lot of fun taking my tennis to a national level. Since leaving the academy, I now play for the 1st team at Cambridge university, where we’ve had some cool opportunities like playing a fixture at Wimbledon, so tennis continues to be a big part of my life.