There are only a few days left to book your free coaching session at Portsmouth's brand new tennis centre. The centre will officially be opened by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lynne Stagg, at 10.15am this Saturday, 11 January.
Between 11am and 2pm, children and adults can get a taste of what's on offer at the new facility, with free 30 minute coaching sessions. Tennis equipment will be provided and there will even be an opportunity to meet former British No.1 Greg Rusedski between 11am and 1pm, plus a chance to sign up to special offers on the day.
The modern facility hosts four indoor courts, six outdoor courts and eight indoor mini tennis courts for the budding enthusiast or the more experienced player. The centre which cost almost £1.2m to build, was completed in November, and has been a resounding success so far, with 1,100 tennis enthusiasts already through the door.
Portsmouth City Council secured £834,387 from The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) towards the cost of the centre, with the additional £332,824 sourced from council funds.
Since 2011 Portsmouth has been supported as one of eight Tennis Foundation and LTA Community Tennis Pilots designed to test what works best to grow tennis at a local level. The new centre will be a key part of this continuing community project to make the sport more inclusive and people all over the city will have even more opportunities to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis.
Simon Johnson, LTA South West Tennis Operations Manager, said: “The LTA and Tennis Foundation are excited to be officially opening this fantastic new tennis facility for the city of Portsmouth. We’d love to see as many people on court, making the most of the indoor and outdoor courts on Saturday 11 January and hope you’ll join us for a great day of activities”
Parkwood Leisure, which manages the centre for Portsmouth City Council, has put together a comprehensive activities programme for all ages and abilities. Junior sessions will develop children's enjoyment of tennis through fun activities based on balance, co-ordination, agility, movement and racket and ball skills. Teen tennis will focus on developing skills for young people aged between 11 and 16.
Adult activities include fun cardio sessions set to music, plus Tennis Xpress coaching sessions for beginners and intermediates, covering key techniques and tactics. Alternatively you can simply pay and play.
Rob Ellis, Parkwood Leisure’s Director of Tennis, said: “We’re proud to be associated with this flagship facility and based on the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve had to date, there’s no doubt it will be a real asset to the local community.
“As well as a varied programme, we’ve brought in a great coaching team headed up by Ashley Neaves and we’re looking forward to welcoming many more residents over the coming months.”
Councillor Lee Hunt, Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "Just like Greg Rusedski, tennis in Portsmouth is a big hitter, with more and more people getting involved. After the Olympic gold medal success and Wimbledon victory for Andy Murray, plus silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson, and American Open Grand Slam win, alongside many worldwide junior winners, this a really exciting time for British and Portsmouth tennis.
"By working with British Tennis and city partners our city council is helping to create facilities which rank amongst some of the best for 'grassroots' players in the UK. We're hoping to encourage people who may not have tried tennis before to come along and have a go.
"Portsmouth sport is on the up with increasing tennis investment, new 'Portsmouth Wiggle Triathlon', Great South Run, excellent Mountbatten Centre facilities, growing boxing success and more besides, so Portsmouth's Olympic legacy is secure. There are plenty of opportunities at our new centre for all abilities and ages to get involved."
To book onto a free session just visit http://tennisinportsmouth.com/