A Nottingham tennis player who is heading to the prestigious Wimbledon championships in a fortnight is part of a push to encourage more people to pick up a racket this summer.
With Wimbledon just around the corner and another successful Nature Valley Open grass court tournament just taken place in the city, Nottingham City Council is hoping to inspire people to play more tennis with several chances to get involved in the sport this summer.
Nottingham Tennis Centre is also doing its bit to support possible stars in the making – present and future. This week, the centre is hosting the ITF Junior Tournament which is a Grade 1 competition. This runs until 29 June and will showcase the world’s top junior players. Alongside this, local player Freya Christie who trains at the centre has chosen to prepare for Wimbledon on the tennis centre’s grass courts in the lead up to Wimbledon where she has accepted a wildcard for the doubles competition with Bristol’s Katie Swann.
Whether inspired to play tennis, or just to get fitter and enjoy the outdoors with the family; there are lots of courses and drop in sessions in the upcoming months. Many of these events are taking place at Nottingham Tennis Centre, but there are also chances to play in two of Nottingham’s Green Flag parks.
This weekend, Nottingham Tennis Centre will be running one of its very popular Big Tennis Weekends (29 and 30 June). Aimed at ages 3-10, there are sessions at 10am and 1pm each day with fun games and activities as well as inflatables to play on. The sessions are completely free and parents are encouraged to get involved in the fun. There will also be some great joining offers for children wanting to carry on playing tennis after the weekend.
Alongside this, Nottingham Tennis Centre is organising a programme of tennis in local parks. There are free coach led tennis sessions every Saturday at Valley Road (NG5 3BG) until 21 September. They run from 2.30 – 4pm and all ages are welcome. Booking is not required.
For those wanting more formal coaching, the parks tennis programme is running Tennis 4 Kids coaching at Valley Road which is suitable for 6 – 11 year olds. The sessions last for six weeks with courses starting on 6 July and 17 August running between 1.30 and 2.30pm. The course costs £29.95 and also includes and racket and T-shirt.
There are also 6-week adult coaching sessions, aimed at beginners running on 6 July and 17 August between 4.30 and 5.30pm.
During the summer holidays, there will be tennis and multi-sport holiday camps for ages 8-14 at Vernon Park Tennis Courts (NG6 0AP). These sessions cost £15 a day or £30 for three days and will on run Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (9am-3pm) each week. The first week is Tuesday 30 Jul – Thu 1 Aug. The days consist of tennis in the mornings followed by multi-sports in the afternoons such as quick cricket, rounders, basketball and football.
Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham Tennis Centre, Mike Wisner said: “We are very proud to have a huge talent like Freya playing at the centre. Training alongside her on her way to Wimbledon is a real motivation for the kids who come here. It is also a testament to our facilities and the work that goes into keeping the courts in top condition.
“Running more events like Big Tennis Weekend and the schools programme linked to the Nature Valley Open have seen over 350 pupils join our coaching programme this year. There are lots of opportunities to play tennis in Nottingham all year round but even more this summer with our own coaching programmes combined with the added Parks Tennis offer.”
Cllr Dave Trimble – Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council said: “1150 people now take part in weekly coaching using the world-class facilities at Nottingham Tennis Centre. All this activity has increased the community feel at the centre with lots of families regularly coming along.
Who knows, someone who comes along this summer may be inspired by seeing Freya training and one day may be on the way to Wimbledon themselves.”
Freya Christie – Professional Tennis Player said: “It’s great to be able to train at the tennis centre and make the most of it fantastic facilities. I love seeing all the young children playing and practising and it reminds me of my time on the same courts years ago. I’m really looking forward to preparing well and playing at my best level at Wimbledon and thank the city council for their support on my journey.