Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup team visit Spencer Park tennis courts
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Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team today paid a visit to Spencer Park in Coventry, where four local park tennis courts are currently under renovation as part of the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation’s Park Tennis Project.
The players met with members of the Friends of Spencer Park group and local residents who use the courts, helped with painting the court lines and presented the local children in attendance with tickets for this weekend’s Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier tie against France.
The project is part of a nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts across Great Britain, and open up the sport to many more people.
This investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country through renovation works, and improved court accessibility with new gate-access technology and booking systems.
Park tennis courts are vital in providing opportunities for children and adults to get active, delivering significant physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits to participants. Accessible facilities in parks are particularly critical to opening up the sport to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and women and girls.
In addition to investment of £78,545 from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, just under £15,000 has also be invested by Coventry City Council.
Alongside the investment, Coventry City Council and Friends of Spencer Park, will also work with the LTA to deliver a range of activity across the park sites. This will include weekly organised free park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience where equipment is provided, meaning that people will not need someone to play with or their own racket. Local Tennis Leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition.
Work on sites is anticipated to be completed by May 2023.
Anne Keothavong, Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain said: “It’s great to be here at Spencer Park, it brings back a lot of memories of my own playing experiences as a young kid growing up playing on my local park courts in Hackney. Seeing tennis courts in local parks is really important to me knowing the opportunities it gave me as a youngster and how I got into the sport.”
Heather Watson, Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup players, said: “It’s really great to be here in Coventry for the Billie Jean King Cup, and today here at Spencer Park, to see that they’re putting in new tennis courts here – summer’s just around the corner so get yourself down to your local park courts!”
Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said: “We are delighted to be working with Coventry City Council to improve their park tennis facilities and provide more opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and get active. This investment is part of the UK Government and LTA’s Parks Tennis Project, and will mean that courts will be available for people to use for years to come. We will also be working closely with Coventry City Council to ensure that the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court, and open up our sport to many more people.”
Andy Williams, Director of Business, Investment and Culture at Coventry City Council, said: “Here in Coventry we are always striving to improve our outdoor sports facilities for the public. We are delighted to work with the Lawn Tennis Association and Friends of Spencer Park group on the renovation of the courts at Spencer Park. The timing is perfect as we host the Billie Jean King Cup in the city this week.
"It will be great to see more people use the improved facilities and hopefully this encourages more people from the community get outside and get active through sport."