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Is the next British Wimbledon champion on our doorstep?

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 June 2017

Centre left to right: John Golding (Lawn Tennis Association) and Councillor Naheed Asghar (Cabinet Member for Health and Voluntary Sector Partnerships, Waltham Forest Council) with local tennis players

Centre left to right: John Golding (Lawn Tennis Association) and Councillor Naheed Asghar (Cabinet Member for Health and Voluntary Sector Partnerships, Waltham Forest Council) with local tennis players

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Lawn Tennis Association launch new big-money initiative to transform the game locally

The Lawn Tennis Association's new initiative to attract more people to take up the sportThe Lawn Tennis Association's new initiative to attract more people to take up the sport

Will the next Andy Murray or Johanna Konta come from our area? Well there may well be a greater chance of just that happening with the launch of a new Lawn Tennis Association scheme to transform the grassroots game.

It is an ambitious plan and attracting people to play tennis outside the Wimbledon fortnight has always been tough, but the LTA are committed to investing £125million to improve community facilities across the country.

The finding will ensure that some of the key barriers to playing tennis are overcome. Currently around a third of possible playing hours are lost to rain or darkness.

Only around 10 per cent of London’s courts are covered, only 36 per cent have floodlights, while organising a game is hardly ever available to book online.

The Lawn Tennis Association's new initiativeThe Lawn Tennis Association's new initiative

And so the LTA have a four-point action plan to try and address these problems and get people serving and volleying with greater frequency.

They are looking to:

1. Double the number of covered and floodlit courts.

2. Install online booking and entry systems so everyone can book a court easily.

James Mott (Greenwich Leisure Limited) coaches local tennis playerJames Mott (Greenwich Leisure Limited) coaches local tennis player

3. Refurbish courts, clubhouses and other social spaces.

4. Support other innovative and creative ideas that meet local demand.

John Golding, the LTA head of Region for London and the South East said: “This is an amazing opportunity for tennis in the area.

“More and more people are enjoying the sport and there is a real appetite for the improvement and regeneration of local courts.

“There has never been a better time for tennis to increase the number of its participants and this investment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get more people playing.”

The LTA is now calling on local tennis clubs, parks, local government, volunteers and businesses to come together and register their interest in bidding for the funds to transform local tennis courts.

For more information, visit www.lta.org.uk/TBTT

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