Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) chief executive Roger Draper gave the thumbs up to tennis in Portsmouth after visiting a number of tennis redevelopments in the city last week.
Mr Draper attended the official re-opening of the Portsmouth Indoor Tennis Centre, Southsea Tennis Club’s refurbishment opening and moved on to see Milton Park’s brand new courts.
He said: “It was fantastic to see how the sport is growing in action and widening the opportunities for people to get involved.
“We want to keep getting people involved in playing tennis and I am sure these developments will aid that in Portsmouth. It has been a great effort.
“It was warming to see how everyone involved was very welcoming, friendly but just as importantly they were very passionate and enjoying their tennis.”
The LTA chief executive joined executive director of the Tennis Foundation Geoff Newton in the tour of Portsmouth as the head of the UK’s leading tennis charity visited a number of sites which had received funding.
The indoor tennis centre had completed a £600,000 overhaul thanks to a joint partnership between the Royal Navy and the Portsmouth Tennis Academy and was officially opened by head of Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.
The opening was particularly poignant for Mr Draper whose wife Nicky was the first Tennis Development Officer at the site when it originally opened 20 years ago.
The pair also attended Southsea Tennis Club’s official opening of their new café, the Pavilion Café, as the club has been supported by a £30,000 grant and a £20,000 loan from the LTA and Tennis Foundation to recruit a new coach and refurbish their clubhouse.
The investment was part of the Tennis Foundation’s Portsmouth Pilot Project to increase participation in the city.
The Tennis Foundation is leading on a series of community based pilots with the LTA across eight areas of England, Scotland and Wales to help identify what works best in growing the game, particularly in urban areas, and how to develop a sustainable model at a local level.
The newly refurbished Southsea site will act as a sporting hub for local people where they can now play tennis, socialise, eat and drink at the new café – somewhere for all the family to come and enjoy.
Finally both Mr Draper and Mr Newton visited Milton Park, where the LTA and Tennis Foundation have invested £70,000 to refurbish five public courts which are free to the public to use this summer.