Thanks to British success in recent years, notably Andy Murray’s two Wimbledon victories and Great British women gaining promotion to World Group level this year, tennis is the second most followed sport in the UK with around 15 million followers.
But in order to increase participation across the country and attract new players – particularly young families – snack bar brand, Nature Valley is partnering with the LTA to run ‘Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekends’ across the country, giving people the chance to take to their local courts for free.
Running throughout the summer, the events will offer free open days, with rackets and balls provided, at more than 1,200 tennis venues up and down the UK to encourage the local community – families, friends and individuals – to come along and give tennis a try.
Thousands of free events will be taking place; there are Mini Tennis games (a soft-ball version of the game for younger members of the family), open court sessions, free play, Cardio Tennis (for those keen on tackling the footwork and physical skills of the game in a fitness session) and numerous other kinds of activities to get involved in.
Last year attracted over 1000 clubs taking part, with more than 43,000 people trying tennis as a result; almost half of whom went on to join their local tennis club.
And this year, ambitions are bigger. Kat Jones from Nature Valley says,“ We are on a mission to open up the sport and get people outdoors playing tennis whether they’ve never picked up a racket before or are a seasoned regular. We want tennis to be open to as many people as possible across the whole of Britain – wherever they are and whatever their skill level.”
“Tennis has so many health and social benefits,” says Leon Smith, captain of the Great Britain Davis Cup team. “It gets you outdoors, is sociable by getting you together with other people, and gets you fit, providing physical, social and mental rewards both on and off the court.”
“Through these Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekends, we really want to show people that tennis is an accessible sport that can be played by anyone, anywhere,” he concludes.
Tennis venues will be running Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekends throughout the year. Visit the LTA website: clubspark.lta.org.uk/OpenDays to find your nearest venue and book your spot to take part for free.