Tennis volunteers, coaches and officials in South Wales have been praised for their success in encouraging increasing numbers of people from a range of backgrounds to take up the game.
Peter Bretherton, the president of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), noted the increase in player numbers when he visited several places to play on a trip to South Wales. ‘’It was really interesting to come over to South Wales and see how plans are progressing to increase tennis participation via a number of different methods,’’ he said.
His visit included Swansea, where he met Basil Smith, thought to be Britain’s oldest tennis player at 92. The impressive Swansea tennis programme has grown to 350 players in the last 18 months, with an outreach programme stretching to the LC2 Leisure Centre and Bishopston Sports Centre.
Other stops on the tour included Radyr LTC, Rhiwbina LTC, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Penarth LTC, and Penarth Windsor LTC, which has new floodlights on its four outdoor courts, now allowing all year round activity.
He also visited Roath Pleasure Park, where free family drop in sessions have started.
The tour highlighted Tennis Wales’ focus on the wider community, as well as its attention to growing tennis participation across all ages. “The partnerships between Sports Wales, the LTA, Sport Cardiff, and Tennis Wales are very exciting,” said Mr Bretherton. “It’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for significant growth in the Cardiff area.”
Mr Bretherton heard about Tennis Wales’ 2020 Vision, and the aim to increase tennis participation by 3,400 in Cardiff during the next 18 months.
“It was fantastic to show Peter around South Wales and discuss the huge strides we’re making in terms of changing the perception of tennis,” said Simon Clarke, the Tennis Development Manager for South Wales.
“We’re bringing it to different markets and encouraging participation in parks, leisure centres and at traditional venues, and it was great to show where the funding from the LTA is going.
“Tennis membership in Wales is at an all-time high, our schools competitions are the envy of the rest of Britain, and we have some really promising youngsters rising through the ranks,” he added.
Information on all aspects of tennis in Wales is available from Tennis Wales at 029 20 463335 or www.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/Wales/ and for regular updates follow Tennis Wales on Twitter @tenniswales