Inclusive tennis festival proves a hit with youngsters across the capital
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Over 70 young people from across London were welcomed to an inclusive tennis festival at The Queen’s Club on Tuesday 6 August as we showcased the sport as one that can be played by anyone.
Open to disabled and non-disabled young people from the capital, the festival comprised fun drills and speed of serve tests, before participants were encouraged to show off their tennis skills in a series of games and matches. Acting as a platform to raise awareness of tennis for disabled people across London, the festival served to highlight how it is an inclusive and accessible sport.
Organised in partnership with the likes of British Blind Sport, Mencap and Charlton Athletic Football Club, the festival also saw British tennis player and 2018 Fed Cup team member Anna Smith make a surprise guest appearance on court. Smith got involved in the fun and games on court, before passing some of her top tennis tips on to the young players.
The festival concluded with Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, presenting each attendee with a medal and a new tennis racket to help inspire everyone involved to continue playing. Each attendee has also been linked to their local tennis club, encouraging participants to get involved with social tournaments and events in their area.
Olly Scadgell, LTA Participation Director, said:
“It’s been a hugely inspiring and enjoyable day and we’re pleased to have had so many amazing young people here to play tennis. Tennis is a sport with proven health and social benefits for disabled people, and events like this are designed to make sure young people in London have the chance to engage with tennis and get active. This festival, which forms part of our work to open the sport up to new audiences, has emphasised the increasing popularity of tennis among disabled people and illustrates how accessible the sport is.”
Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith said:
“It was a privilege to come along to this event and see the great work the LTA is doing to make tennis accessible. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the young people taking part and learning more about disability tennis, which is a fantastic way for people to get active playing sport.”
Nationally, there are currently a record number of disabled people playing tennis as part of our Open Court Programme. More specifically, across London & the South East, we have seen a 364% increase in participation since the above programme’s inception in 2014. Over 1,800 people with a disability across London & the South East are regularly playing tennis and today’s festival emphasised the ever-increasing popularity of the sport.
Inspired to pick up a racket?
Head to the Play section of the website to find a court near you.