Hundreds have fun at Middle Sunday Opened Up Tennis Festival
• 4 MINUTE READ
Wimbledon Park tennis courts were buzzing with hundreds of people enjoying tennis as the LTA and All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) staged the first ‘Middle Sunday Opened Up’ free tennis festival.
The day provided an opportunity for the local Merton and Wandsworth community to demonstrate their enthusiasm for tennis, and successfully captured the interest generated in the sport during The Championships.
A range of fun tennis activities were put on throughout the day, as people of all ages and abilities picked up a racket and got on court. The festival showcased a whole range of ways people can get involved in tennis, including cardio tennis, beginners coaching, fun competitions and disability tennis activity.
Among the sessions were special Fed Cup and Davis Cup inspired coaching sessions run by the LTA’s Fed Cup Captain, Anne Keothavong and Davis Cup Captain, Leon Smith. Also supporting the LTA and AELTC efforts to inspire more people to pick up a racket was Judy Murray, who delivered fun sessions specifically aimed at young girls and teenagers.
Special appearances didn’t end there, with leading British players Harriet Dart, Jay Clarke, Dom Inglot and Jonny O’Mara among those getting involved in the activities and creating special memories for those taking part, while there was also a guest appearance from two-time Wimbledon wheelchair tennis champion Stefan Olsson.
LTA Participation Director, Oliver Scadgell, said: “It was great to see so many people of all ages come along today to play tennis, have fun with friends and meet new ones. Park courts are crucial to our work to grow tennis and encourage more people to pick up a racket and play. Like many local parks across the country, Wimbledon Park is a fantastic facility for the community.
“We’ve used all of our major grass court events this summer to deliver tennis activity for the local communities around them, and the Middle Sunday Opened Up festival has been a really successful addition to that. Events like today not only help to get more people playing but also help us to keep them coming back too. Activity such as Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekends take place throughout the summer, including next week, and our all year round Tennis for Kids programme provide opportunities for thousands of more people to get involved at tennis venues right across Britain.”
Ava, 7 from Wimbledon Park, was one of hundreds of people from the local area to take part in the event. She said: “I had a really fun time. The coaches were really friendly and I learnt a lot. I can’t wait to play tennis again – I am going to play with my Daddy next weekend.”
Alongside the on court activity at Wimbledon Park today, festival attendees also had the opportunity to visit the Wimbledon Museum inside the AELTC Grounds.
This year was the first year of the festival, an evolution of the AELTC’s long-standing ‘Tennis in the Park’ event which has traditionally taken place on the Middle Saturday with the support of Merton Council. The move to the Sunday, the day when The Championships’ grass courts receive critical rest and watering, and the opportunity to collaborate with the LTA will help to elevate the event and maximise a shared ambition to celebrate the enthusiasm for tennis generated by the first week of Wimbledon.
The festival was delivered in partnership with Idverde, who operate the Wimbledon Park courts on behalf of Merton Council. The day showcased the park’s tennis courts to the local community with the aim of encouraging more people to play tennis throughout the year and beyond the Wimbledon fortnight. The LTA has been working in partnership with Idverde and Merton Council to help improve the borough’s park tennis facilities and drive increase use of them. It is part of a national programme of support the LTA is delivering to drive more play in parks and which saw over 50% growth in court hours booked across 234 supported parks last year.
Get on court for free
There are Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekends running throughout 2019, with the next big weekend scheduled for 20 & 21 July. Find your nearest participating venue and book your spot today for the whole family to get involved.