At Portsmouth Tennis Academy (PTA) we have seen a desire to play tennis more than ever this year.
The so-called ‘Wimbledon effect’ has come early at Burnaby Road!
And that has been seen across the area, as there has been more of an interest in playing the sport in Portsmouth because the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have put a lot of money into the city as being one of it’s hotspots.
They have put a lot of investment into the new tennis facility at the Mountbatten Centre.
But then we have also got the private investment that has gone on down at the seafront with Canoe Lake, with four new courts open for use down there.
In fact, PTA are doing a coaching programme down there at the moment.
So we are really rather spoiled for choice in terms of clubs and facilities to play tennis in Portsmouth.
And alongside the youngsters who are picking up a racquet for the first time, there has been a noticeable increase in interest from adults and beginner adults as well in recent times, which is great news.
The investment in the city’s tennis facilites combined with the increased desire for participation in the sport has meant we have more people playing tennis in Portsmouth now than ever before, so the city is thriving in that respect.
And I have to say, personally, it really is great to see adults playing tennis who have never played the game before.
From our point of view, we are proud at PTA that there is a feeling people of all ages and abilities can come to play at a venue like ours.
It has been levelled in the past that some people who are new to the sport can find clubs to be very antiquated and cliquey.
But we are very open and accessible – it is very easy to come and play tennis here.
We have tried to make playing tennis more affordable across the board with the cost of court hire and things like that.
And as Wimbledon begins, we are preparing to be even busier.
As always, it will be a very interesting couple of weeks in terms of participation levels and excitement surrounding events at the All England Club.
And if there is anyone who is watching Wimbledon and feels inspired to play, then they would be welcomed with open arms on our courts.
n Kevin Baker is the head coach and managing director at Portsmouth Tennis Academy. For more information, visit ptatennis.co.uk