LIVERPOOL’s growing reputation as a leading city for tennis has been given a major boost.
The Tennis Foundation has entered into a five year agreement, with the City Council to raise the profile of the Liverpool Tennis Centre and help more people enjoy the health and social benefits of playing the sport. It will provide grant funding for a marketing campaign to encourage more people to participate in the sport.
The announcement coming as this year’s Wimbledon approaches and Liverpool prepares for the 2015 International Tennis Tournament, is further evidence that the City Council’s partnership work with the Tennis Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, and Northern Vision is paying off with greater participation in the sport.
Since the city appointed a new Tennis Manager, Dave Hillier, in October 2014, weekly participation in mini-tennis for three to ten year olds at the Tennis Centre has increased by over 300% from 78 weekly players to 248 weekly players.
Councillor Tim Moore Mayoral Lead for Sport said: “We are working very hard at Liverpool Tennis Centre to increase participation by providing more opportunities for adults and children from across the city to play tennis.
“Our partnership with both the Tennis Foundation and the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament is going a long way to help us get more people in Liverpool playing tennis. I am delighted with the 300% increase in users over the last six months.”
Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, Geoff Newton, added:”The Tennis Foundation has invested a lot of time and money into Liverpool to help kick start tennis in the area and we’re delighted by the results. Liverpool Tennis Centre is a fantastic facility and will play a central role in developing tennis across the city for many years to come and we hope that more and more people continue to take up the sport, whatever their age or ability.”
There have been a number of events in the city to promote participation in tennis in recent months.
The School Tennis Roadshow, which ran from January to March, provided a free tennis offer to primary schools in Liverpool. The youngsters from these roadshows who are now included in the main tennis programme have a retention rate of 91%.
There have been more than 800 entries for various competitions at the centre over the past six months.
The Centre is also the host venue for the former Liverpool Parks Tennis Tournament which will take place immediately after this year’s International Tournament.
The City Council and the Tennis Foundation continue to support the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament and this year has seen the Tennis Centre and Northern Vision (the event organiser) working in partnership at the recent Festival of Tennis at Liverpool One, in which coaches from the centre delivered a number of hugely popular activities with more than 2,000 school children attending the free sessions. The coaches also promoted the activities at the Tennis Centre. The primary aim of this partnership is to sign-up 100 additional players on courses at the Liverpool Tennis Centre.
The Tennis Centre has also organised the International Qualifying Tournament, which had over 20 entries to select one male and one female player to play in the main draw at Liverpool Cricket Club. Feedback from players was very positive and the Tennis Centre was also a venue to train ball kids who will be used for this year’s tournament.