Nottingham has clearly got the tennis bug as the city hosts the Aegon Open – with budding players of all ages getting the chance to play alongside Davis Cup winner Dan Evans and Australian star John Millman.
The enjoyable session took place on refurbished courts at Basford’s Vernon Park on Saturday with players getting involved in rallies and skills challenges as well as a Q & A session.
As England’s ‘Home of Sport’, Nottingham continues to strive to encourage more people in the city to get active, and to provide more opportunities for participation and excellence in disability sport. Improvement of facilities is key to achieving this target, as well as using major events like the Aegon Open to encourage people to get involved in the sport.
Vernon Park houses a refurbished pavilion, floodlit tennis courts, increased on-site parking and a children’s play area. The courts are also scheduled for further improvement. LTA funding has gone some way to deliver this and has also contributed over £50k to the upcoming works at nearby Valley Road where the hard surface tennis courts will be revamped with a completely new surface laid and fencing improved. An access system is to be introduced with a small annual charge so participation can be monitored and the courts can be maintained.
Sports development research proves it is often be alienating for those faced with having to join a tennis club or visit a leisure centre to play sport. By making city facilities more open and accessible for people to drop in and play when they want, the number of people playing tennis will increase. The courts are already popular and this is the reason these sites were chosen for improvement. They are also next to local clubs if players want to take their skills to the next level and beyond. The City Council works with the LTA to promote these opportunities and to support people to enjoy tennis.
Eddie Curry – Nottingham City Council Head of Parks and Open Spaces said: “The developments for both Vernon Park and the forthcoming work at Valley Road support some of the key ambitions for Nottingham City Council. Parks are a hub for community activity and have been made more accessible with a range of opportunities available for the public including chances to enjoy sport, nature, play and to increase social integration. Most importantly, as many activities as possible are available to enjoy at little or no cost.
“We hope local people may be inspired by the top-level play at Nottingham Tennis Centre this week and encouraged to take up or improve their tennis with such good access to improved facilities.”
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