Australian Open winner Joe Salisbury went back to his roots by visiting his old Putney school today to play tennis with pupils.
The 27-year-old tennis player lifted the men’s doubles title with partner Rajeev Ram in Melbourne on Sunday, his first Grand Slam title.
And today he returned to where it all started, at All Saints CoE Primary School, where he attended between 1996 and 2001.
Salisbury was first picked up by tennis coach Justin Sherring when he was aged six and attending All Saints CoE.
Since then he has travelled to the United States to play at the University of Memphis, before returning to the UK to join the LTA’s elite men’s programme at the National Tennis Centre, in Roehampton.
Salisbury said: “I feel really privileged to be in a position to come back and give back to the pupils.
“It’s really special to come here, my old school, and see the kids and play some tennis with them.
“It’s amazing and hopefully it will inspire them to take up tennis or find the thing that they love doing.”
Britain’s newest Grand Slam winner is riding a wave of success, reaching a new high of number four in the ATP World Doubles rankings having been outside the top 100 just two years ago.
He explained: “It’s been quite surreal how things have changed so quickly over the last couple of years.
“I don’t think it’s all quite sunk in yet, and the extra attention since I’ve been back has been quite overwhelming.
“But I’m so, so happy and to come back to Britain a Grand Slam winner feels amazing.”
Salisbury gave pupils a talk during assembly, where he talked about winning in Australia, and answered questions from the children.
He then took part in a special LTA run tennis session for 60 children across Years 3 and 5.
Cecily Berry, one of the pupils who took part in the session, said: “I love playing tennis, so it was really fun to play with Joe. I had to concentrate hard to make sure I kept on hitting it back to him but I really enjoyed it.”
Steve Russell, head of PE, All Saints CoE, school added: “To get the opportunity to have a hit with someone who is not only a Grand Slam winner but someone who played on the same playground as them was incredible for our children.
“What Joe has done is a great example to them of what you achieve if you work hard.”