LTA SERVES provided close to 400 grass court tickets for local community groups
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LTA SERVES – our industry-leading sport for development programme – went the extra mile in bringing tennis to the heart of local communities this year as community groups were gifted close to 400 tickets to attend various UK grass court events across the months of June and July, including the Rothesay Open, Rothesay Classic, Rothesay International, cinch Championships, and Wimbledon.
It’s been somewhat of a blockbuster summer with grass court tennis returning to screens, enabling tennis fans and beyond to play spectator to a wealth of jaw-dropping moments.
The world witnessed the match of the season following the world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz’s masterly victory over 23-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic. There were also heroic performances from the Brits on home soil, including Katie Boulter’s crowning moment at the Rothesay Open, and the prolific duo, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, earning their fifth Wimbledon doubles title together to bump them up to second on the overall Slam success list across disability and non-disability tennis.
LTA SERVES, for which supports people from underserved communities across Great Britain to get active and experience the physical, social, and mental benefits of tennis, extended close to double the number of major event tickets to community groups compared to last year. As a result, many people and young people, LTA SERVES activators, and volunteers who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to attend topflight sporting events and witness these historic moments were able to sit courtside as they watched the juggernauts of the game in real time.
Sarah Ruusuvuori, the project lead from Active Hastings, said: “Just seeing the look on the faces of the volunteers was worth the trip to Eastbourne itself. None of our volunteers have ever been to a major tennis event before but they love watching it on TV every year, and without LTA SERVES they probably would never have had the opportunity to go to the Rothesay International.”
Invitations for all five events were distributed to community centres, youth clubs, faith venues, and charities that deliver the LTA SERVES programme, including the award-winning Valleys Gymnastics Academy from Caerphilly, Wales who made the journey to the South of England to pay a visit to the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
“It was hugely inspirational for the young people involved to see something so special that they would never typically experience – from the tennis to the food and the flowers,” said project leader Aled Jones. “Even travelling to London is huge for young people from the Valleys.
“The girls were amazed by the strength of the female tennis players and were in awe - this was very important I feel; the girls need a range of strong - in every sense of the word - female role models.”
Sports Coach, Benjamin Gibson, and the young people from IN2HEALTH & WELLBEING CIC, even witnessed a young role model in the making after The Championships recorded their first unseeded women’s Wimbledon champion.
“For me, the best part was the atmosphere and seeing the tennis up close. More specifically, everyone enjoyed watching Marketa Vondrousova, and it made it even better that they can now say they’ve watched a Wimbledon champion.”
“It’s been a fantastic summer of tennis,” said Kiran Matharu, the LTA’s Community Tennis Manager. “Many of the children, young people, and Tennis activators involved in LTA SERVES had the chance to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Experiences like this are important to open up our sport, to create a sense of belonging, and to inspire people to pick up a racket.”
Find out more about LTA SERVES & our 'Breaking Down Barriers' strategy
Learn more about our award-winning sport for development programme – taking tennis into the heart of local communities and helping kids aged 4-18 get active through our sport.