Take part in ‘Middle Saturday Opened Up’ – a free community tennis event in Wimbledon Park
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This weekend, we are coming together with The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) once again to celebrate the excitement for tennis generated around The Championships, Wimbledon by staging ‘Middle Saturday Opened Up’ – a free community tennis event at the public tennis courts in Wimbledon Park.
The event, which will take place on the middle Saturday of The Championships (2 July), returns for a third year since the first edition in 2019, having previously taken place on the middle Sunday. The event uses tennis to bring the local community in Merton and Wandsworth together. It was created to support our vision of ‘tennis opened up’, and demonstrates the vital role park courts play as community assets in providing accessible opportunities to play and widening the impact of the physical and mental health benefits that being active through tennis can bring.
The free event will run from 10am – 4pm, 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 and the AELTC’s Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, which introduces tennis to children in schools across Merton and Wandsworth throughout the year.
Throughout the day, there will be opportunities for children to get a taste of LTA Youth, our new and innovative junior programme created to help more children across Britain enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, whatever their age, gender, background, ability or disability.
In addition to the LTA Youth activity, there will be a free cardio tennis session for adults, and a disability tennis session as part of our Open Court programme that has seen a record number of disabled people and those with long-term health conditions pick up a racket and play tennis.
The day will culminate with an LTA Youth Team Challenge event for all the family, giving children and adults of all abilities the chance to take part in a fun team tennis competition.
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. As is the case across Merton and Wandsworth as well as with other operators and Local Authorities around the country, we have been working in partnership with Idverde over the past few years to help improve the facilities and increase use of them. It forms part of a national programme of support the we are delivering to drive more tennis play in parks across the country.
Central to this is work we are doing to lead the delivery of a multi-million pound investment programme into public park tennis facilities across Britain as part of a project that is transformational for the sport. It will see the UK Government commit a total of £22m together with an investment from the LTA of £8.5m via the LTA Tennis Foundation, and will result in thousands of public park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of their local community.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “We’re pleased to once again combine with the AELTC to stage this event. The LTA wants tennis to be a sport for anyone and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of local residents get involved. Park tennis courts such as those in Wimbledon Park are the place where many people who play tennis recreationally pick up a racket and get on court, and so they are vital in helping us open up the sport to more people. Middle Saturday Opened Up will once again be a great demonstration of that, and in particular an opportunity for children and families to give our brilliant new LTA Youth programme a try.”
Sally Bolton OBE, AELTC Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating Middle Saturday Opened Up, working in partnership with the LTA. I want Wimbledon to be for everyone and using the inspiration of the Wimbledon Fortnight I really hope that children and adults from across Merton and Wandsworth will come along to give tennis a try.”
Anyone from the local Merton and Wandsworth community wanting to book a free place on one of the activity sessions at the Middle Saturday Opened Up event can do so now via www.middlesaturday.org.