AELTC and LTA to celebrate ‘Thank You Day’ with ‘Middle Sunday Opened Up’ – a free community tennis event
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The LTA, the governing body for tennis in Britain, and The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which hosts The Championships, Wimbledon, have come together to celebrate national ‘Thank You Day’ on Sunday 4 July by staging ‘Middle Sunday Opened Up’ - a free tennis activity on the public tennis courts in Wimbledon Park.
The event, which will take place on the Middle Sunday of The Championships (4 July), aims to use tennis to bring the local community in Merton and Wandsworth together. As with many things at Wimbledon this year, the event is returning following a year off in 2020, having been first staged by the LTA and AELTC in 2019. It aims to support the LTA’s vision to open up the sport and its benefits to many more people, and forms part of a shared ambition to celebrate the enthusiasm for tennis generated by the first week of Wimbledon.
'Free sessions for all levels and for both children and adults'
The free event will run from 9am – 5pm, and will provide fun, informal and inclusive opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and have fun playing tennis. The day’s activities will include sessions for all levels and for both children and adults, provided by a combination of coaches from the LTA, the local community, and the AELTC’s Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, which introduces tennis to children in schools across Merton and Wandsworth throughout the year. There will also be a special guest appearance from LTA Head of Men’s Tennis and Great Britain’s Davis Cup Captain, Leon Smith.
Among the free activities on offer will be a chance to get a taste of LTA Youth, the LTA’s new and innovative junior programme created to help more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, whatever their age, gender, background, ability or disability. In addition, other coach-led sessions for adults and children including cardio tennis and fun competitions are on offer, with all activity organised to be compliant with Covid-19 Secure guidelines so that anyone attending can enjoy participating safely.
Book a free tennis session!
Anyone from the local Merton and Wandsworth community wanting to book a free place on one of the activity sessions at the Middle Sunday Opened Up event can do so now via middlesunday.org.
The Wimbledon Park courts that will host the event are operated on behalf of Merton Council by Idverde, with the event providing a showcase of the courts for the local community. The LTA has been working in partnership with Idverde over the past few years to help improve the facilities and increase use of them as part of a national programme of support the LTA is delivering to drive more tennis play in parks across the country.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “After the challenging period that everyone has experienced, with restrictions on activities and initiatives such as this one, we’re delighted to be able to work together with the AELTC to put on the Middle Sunday Opened Up event once again this year. Tennis is a sport for everyone, this being a real showcase of that, and we hope it plays a small part in helping the nation to say thank you.
“Park tennis courts across the country are vital to keeping communities healthy and active, and so fantastic facilities like Wimbledon Park are integral to our work to open up tennis to more people. I am really looking forward to once again being part of the day and joining local residents on court.”
Sally Bolton OBE, AELTC Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating National Thank You Day through the return of Middle Sunday Opened Up, a great collaboration between us and the LTA to leverage the inspiration of Wimbledon, and turn it into an opportunity for anyone to try out tennis on our local courts. Just as the LTA wants to open up tennis to anyone, we want Wimbledon to be for everyone, and so, following last year’s cancellation, are very glad to be bringing this great event back this year, and saying thank you at the same time.”
Join the nation on Sunday in saying 'thank you'
As part of Thank You Day, grass roots sports clubs and tennis fans across the country are also being encouraged to get involved and make it a day when sport helps bring communities together, and provide an opportunity to celebrate and thank all those who make it possible to provide services that have supported the community over the last 18 months.
Over 16 million Brits are planning to take part in what is the country’s first ever national thank you day by joining events in their local communities by doing anything from picnics to BBQ’s, or street parties to tennis festivals and parkruns.
From the idea being launched just a month ago the campaign has won huge support from hundreds of organisations ranging from the NHS to the Scouts and from high profile individuals including Gary Lineker, Michael Sheen, Dame Judi Dench, Raheem Sterling and many more.
To find out more about Thank You Day visit thankyouday.org.uk.