The incredible impact Emma Raducanu's US Open win is having on The Avenue Club and across British tennis

Emma Raducanu's sensational US Open win will create an even bigger boom in participation across British tennis than either of Andy Murray's two career Wimbledon titles.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 1:54 pm
Emma Raducanu with her US Open title. Picture: Timothy A.Clary/Getty Images

That's the verdict of The Avenue Tennis head coach Ashley Neaves, who has seen interest sky rocket at the club on the back of Raducanu's heroic achievement in New York earlier this month.

The teenage sensation, 18, became an overnight superstar after coming through qualifying to win this year's US Open ladies' singles title.

Such was the interest across the nation, Raducanu's final victory over fellow teen, Canada's Leylah Fernandez, was aired on terrestrial TV across the UK.

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The Avenue Tennis head coach Ashley Neaves, right, offers some words of advice to a young player

And it appears in the weeks following that phenomenal Flushing Meadows run, it's sparked a surged in players of all ages taking up coaching sessions.

At least that's been the case at Warblington club The Avenue, where head coach Neaves says enquiries to become part of the coaching programme have been up ‘four-fold’.

Such has been the rise in interest after the various coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Wimbledon and now Raducanu's remarkable US Open win, The Avenue are at full coaching capacity with around 400 adult and junior players coming to the club on a weekly basis.

But Neaves reckons participation is only going to continue increasing across the nation as a result of the ‘Emma effect’ - and Raducanu's Grand Slam glory will prove to be one the biggest catalysts in driving up British tennis interest - particularly for girls.

He said: ‘No disrespect to Andy (Murray) in any way because he’s an incredible player and was up there with the top three or four players in the world for a long time, but this feels different.

‘If we look at our coaching programme, the kids who already play - nowadays kids haven’t been watching tennis as much as they did when I was young growing up - as soon as Emma came on the scene the kids were talking about her matches.

‘Everyone who is currently playing are watching tennis a lot more and it’s attracted a new audience who weren’t watching tennis - with her (Emma) being young and inspiring young players and especially girls as well.

‘It’s going to be great in the coming months and years for British tennis - junior tennis - but a little bit more specifically girls as well.’

With coaching programme participation rising at such a rapid rate, The Avenue are now at full capacity.

But Neaves revealed the club are coming up with ideas to ensure players across the area are not denied the chance to receive coaching and get into the sport.

He added: ‘We’re looking now to see how we can cater for all of this demand and we’re looking at doing more outreach, potentially, going into the community a little bit more.

‘We’ve got some plans to try to branch out a little bit more. It would be like a grassroots programme where kids can get involved in tennis and if they wanted to take tennis a bit more seriously they could join The Avenue and do that there.

‘We’re just trying to find ways to cater for everyone to play, we don’t want to stop people from playing, it’s a good problem to have.’