February 5 - Britain's Geraint Richards (pictured) has been named Coach of the Year for 2009 by the International Wheelchair Tennis Association.

It is the latest in a series of coaching accolades in recent years for Cardiff-based Richards, who first got involved with disability tennis towards the end of the 1990s while he was tennis manager at the Welsh National Tennis Centre.

Richards’ enthusiasm and commitment to wheelchair tennis development has helped encourage the participation of numerous wheelchair tennis players around the world, and his on court expertise helped ensure the continued success of British players throughout 2009. 

He guided British players to a clean sweep of all four titles on offer at the Cruyff Foundation Wheelchair Tennis Junior Masters in Tarbes, France, and to second place in the Women’s event at the 2009 Invacare World Team Cup in Nottingham. 

It is the first time a British team have reached the final of the women's competition in the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis and Federation Cups.

Richards also helped guide two-time Paralympic champion Peter Norfolk to success at the 2009 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York.

Throughout last year Richards also sacrificed numerous weeks to travel on behalf of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to act as the head coach for numerous Silver Fund projects.

Richards visited Romania, Moldova, Albania, Serbia and Turkey, where he led training camps for Turkish, Iranian and Iraqi athletes as a vital part of the ITF Silver Fund, which was set up to deliver sustainable wheelchair tennis projects in developing countries. 
"It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this award and when I look at the previous recipients I am very proud that my name sits among them," said Richards, who was told of his award after arriving in Tarbes for the 2009 Junior Masters with young British players Philip Cochrane and Dermot Bailey.
"Personally, 2009 was a great year for me and I hope to continue to help our GB players to more success in 2010 and beyond to the Paralympics in London 2012, as well as continuing with more development work internationally with the ITF.
"I want to thank the Tennis Foundation and the ITF for the opportunities they have given me to make a contribution to this great sport and I would like to thank my daughter Teresa for being the continual support and inspiration she is to me and to our many friends around the world."
Richards remains an integral part of the Tennis Foundation's disability tennis coaching team, having become GB National Junior Coach in 2006. 

The following year he guided Britain to victory in the Junior event at the 2007 Invacare World Team Cup - the first and only time a team from this country have won the junior event. 

He was subsequently named Tennis Wales Coach of the Year and Disability Sport Performance Coach of the Year by the Sports Council for Wales in 2007.  

Two of the players that made up the 2007 GB team at the Invacare World Team Cup ended 2009 as world number one ranked junior players.