BOOST FOR WELSH TENNIS AS LTA SPEARHEADS £250M TRANSFORMATION OF BRITAIN’S TENNIS COURTS

  • Wales set to benefit as Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) launches the biggest UK investment programme the sport has ever seen to transform grassroots tennis
  • Initiative will focus on making courts easier to book and ensuring rain and darkness no longer stop play
  • Communities encouraged to come together and register their interest to receive funding to transform their local tennis courts

With the sun having set on another summer at Wimbledon, it was revealed today how more people in Wales could play tennis whatever the weather thanks to the biggest ever grassroots investment in the sport by The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).  The Transforming British Tennis Together initiative aims to make courts across the country more useable and accessible to everyone over the next ten years. 

LTA Launch

The £250m transformation of Britain's tennis courts comes at a time of huge momentum in elite British tennis and unprecedented levels of interest and pride in the sport, which together have inspired many more people to pick up a racket.

The LTA has committed to investing £125 million to improve community tennis facilities across the UK, and plans to unlock a further £125 million through match funding from community networks with a shared vision for growing the game. Local communities and clubs across Wales can register their interest in the funding from today.

The funding will ensure that some of the key barriers to playing tennis are overcome. Currently, around a third of possible playing hours are lost due to rain and darkness. Despite being one of the wettest parts of the country only 3.9% of courts in Wales are covered, whilst only a quarter of courts across the Principality are floodlit. Furthermore, booking and gaining access to a court too often relies on old, analogue systems, making it difficult to organise a game.

There is unmet demand for tennis in Wales particularly amongst young people. The latest Sport Wales School Sports survey of 116,000 school children found that over a third (34.57%) wanted to play more tennis. Overall, only 3.6% of people in Wales play tennis every month so improving facilities and making them more accessible and useable is seen as key to meeting demand and increasing participation.

Transforming British Tennis Together will see the LTA work in partnership with local communities in Cardiff and across Wales to:

  • Double the number of covered and floodlit courts to increase available playing hours when it's raining and when the sun has gone down;
  • Install online booking and entry systems so everyone can book a tennis court easily from their mobile phone, computer or tablet;
  • Refurbish courts, clubhouses and other social spaces to ensure players have a great experience every time they visit;
  • Support other innovative and creative ideas that meet local demand.

By working with communities across Britain with a real passion for tennis, the LTA aims to deliver 1,500 newly covered indoor courts, over 8,000 newly floodlit courts and nearly 3,000 court entry systems across the country over the next decade.  At present, only a handful of courts have online booking and access systems.

Details of the initiative were revealed today (Monday) at Heath Park in Cardiff, which has benefited from recent improvements delivered and funded through a partnership between The LTA, Tennis Wales, Sport Wales and Cardiff Council.  The newly refurbished courts, opened in April are the only community courts in Wales to feature an online booking and access system which has seen a huge surge in bookings since being introduced.  

Local players and schoolchildren were joined at the event by current Wales men's number one, Evan Hoyt, local Assembly Member Julie Morgan and representatives from the LTA, Tennis Wales, Sport Wales and Cardiff Council.

Peter Drew,CEO, Tennis Wales said, "This is an exciting and transformational opportunity for grassroots tennis in Wales. We know that more and more people are enjoying the sport and there is a real appetite for the improvement and regeneration of local courts to make tennis more accessible to everyone. There's never been a better time for more people to play the game but this investment from the LTA together with further support from partner organisations is the key transforming our local tennis facilities and making this happen."

Kathryn Thomas, Senior Officer, Sport Wales, added, "Understanding and overcoming the barriers to people taking part in sport is vital to increasing participation and all the benefits that come with it. Providing creative local solutions and working in partnership with local organisations and communities is key to this. This is what Transforming British Tennis Together is all about and we look forward to continuing our work with Tennis Wales, The LTA, local authorities and other local organisations to strengthen community opportunities in the future

Current Wales men's number one,Evan Hoytsaid, "It was great to see so many people here today enjoying a game of tennis on some fantastic courts and facilities. It just goes to show the impact that investment in grassroots and community tennis facilities can have on getting people playing more, particularly young people who are the future of our sport in Wales."

The LTA is now calling on tennis clubs, parks, local government, volunteers, coaches and businesses from across Wales to come together and register their interest in bidding for the funds to transform their local tennis courts.  For more information visit www.lta.org.uk/TBTT