Members of a long-established Welsh tennis club have been invited to play at Wimbledon.
Aberaeron Tennis Club will play in a celebratory event in August, at the invitation of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC).
Aberaeron’s tennis secretary Nigel Davies first contacted the AELTC ten years ago, after finding out that Aberaeron Tennis Club was one of the oldest in Britain. The AELTC previously invited clubs celebrating a centennial or similar to send a ladies and a men’s pair to Wimbledon. After an initial reply, Nigel received letters explaining that the AELTC were busy with various building works, and then the Olympics, every time he rewrote.
However, in November last year, Nigel received a letter inviting Aberaeron, along with several other long-established clubs, to play at Wimbledon later this year. The club members decided to run a secret ballot to pick who should play. The AELTC asked for a ladies and a men’s pair, as well as two reserves and officials. Those chosen include Nigel Davies, Gareth Evans-Jones, and Bob Lycett for the men’s, and Eiddwen Jones, Alison Reed, and Barbara Coleman for the women’s.
Due to the high interest from the club’s members and the small number of spaces on the team, the club decided to turn a day at Wimbledon into a three-day trip for all. Fifty supporters will be travelling with the team, but first they will be stopping in Richmond, Surrey, to play at Old Deer Park. They will also play in Cardiff on the way home.
While there is no definite date for the opening of the club, earliest reports mentioning Aberaeron Tennis Club show that it will be at least 131 years old this year. The club celebrated its centennial in 1982 with a Victorian day, as well as playing against other old clubs. Back in 1882 there was only a grass court and a croquet lawn, compared to the three hard courts, bowling green, and clubhouse that exist now.
“Tennis has a long and proud history in Wales,” said Tennis Wales chief executive Peter Drew. “It’s really gratifying to see Aberaeron’s history recognised in this way, and I’m sure the players and supporters will have a trip to remember.
“When we look back at the history of the sport, it’s also a reminder of the duty we have to future generations, which is why we are continuing to build tennis membership in Wales and involving more people in the game by offering new ways to play.”
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