Where Euro 2016 left off, albeit in less than happy circumstances, Wimbledon has continued, as a summer of sporting fever continues to grip the nation.
The staging of Wimbledon each year traditionally brings about an upturn in tennis participation, with fans eager to emulate their heroes on television while enjoying getting active at the same time.
A growing sport with big benefits
Andy Murray’s triumph at the tournament in 2013 resulted in thousands more Britons unzipping their rackets and taking to the courts, inspired by a first British winner in the men’s section at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
Over 445,000 people over the age of 16 play tennis at least once a week in the UK, and the figures continue to rise steadily year-on-year.
Established as a governing body in 1888 and an Olympic sport since 1896, Tennis offers participants an intense aerobic exercise in a competitive environment and challenges their hand-eye co-ordination, speed, fitness, strength and tactical nous.
Where to play
The action is served up on weeknights and weekends at local tennis clubs up and down the country to players young and old and a full range of skill levels, with many council authorities offering free lessons to local people.
TFF (Tennis For Free) is an organisation that aims to address the barriers for participation in Tennis by providing information about free lessons available around the country, and offer free weekly coach-led sessions for children, young people and adults.
The organisation has forged links with local schools, tennis clubs and local authorities throughout the UK, and provides a useful starting point for those considering taking up the sport for the first time.
Aimed specifically at younger players, the LTA’s (Lawn Tennis Association) Club Spark programme offers a free six-week coaching course for children aged five to eight, delivered by a qualified LTA coach, and including a free racket for participants.
The website features a postcode checker, so you can discover courses in your area.
Many local courts also offer promotions featuring free lessons for children and adults, so it’s worth checking in at your local facility to find out what’s available on your doorstep.
You can locate your closest court by punching your details into the LTA’s ‘Play’ Postcode Checker.
A sport for everyone
Tennis has taken great strides forward in recent years towards becoming one of the world’s most inclusive sports, which strives to cater to the needs of all, regardless of background and circumstances.
Wheelchair Tennis is one of the world’s fastest growing disability sports and is now competed in at Wimbledon. Though many professionals choose to compete in a modified chair, standard wheelchairs can be used.
And The International Tennis Federation website provides a useful starting point for anybody wishing to discover more about the sport, and where it is played.