Channel 4 loves to set up funny and quirky couples on First Dates, and the couples in episode 2 of season 12 were no different!

Natalie and Chris were seemingly made for each other, sharing similar hobbies and outlooks on life, but sadly they didn’t take the relationship further.

But who is Natalie? And is she really an ex-tennis star who played with Venus and Serena Williams?

Here’s everything you need to know…

Chris and Natalie.

Who is Natalie Neri?

Natalie is a 35-year-old tennis coach from London.

She currently works at Chandos Tennis Club, in Finchley, North London and has been coaching since 2003 when she retired from being a pro-player.

So if you’re looking for some tennis training, then look no further, as you can train with Natalie! All the details about her coaching and prices can be found here.

Natalie’s tennis history

In episode 2 of First Dates, Natalie explains her tennis career that began at the age of six.

She was naturally gifted and became number ten in the UK Juniors and later number 12 in UK Seniors.

But it was playing Doubles where Natalie really found her stride.

Natalie and her partner reached a world ranking of 120 as Juniors and 400 as adults.

So did she really train with Venus and Serena?

In the episode, Natalie speaks about an academy where she trained.

She said “[Maria] Sharapova was there, and then the Williams sisters who were up and coming.”

From this information, the academy she is referencing is the IMG Academy in Florida, a prestigious sporting boarding school founded by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.

Pretty impressive!

Natalie and Chris.

 

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