Eastbourne is set to become a free tennis town this month as a new scheme serves up free to use, bookable tennis courts across a range of public parks.
Following a major refurbishment last year, the public courts at Old Town Recreation Ground, Hampden Park and Fisherman’s Green, will all offer free court use with a new online booking system starting April 11.
With added security to prevent damage from unauthorised use, tennis players will now receive a door entry code when booking, allowing uninterrupted access to the new improved facilities.
The new system is the next phase in a £100,000 refurbishment programme by Sport Eastbourne and the Lawn Tennis Association in a bid to increase tennis participation and nurture upcoming new talent.
The scheme will be run under contract by Wave Leisure and Tennis in the Park.
It will also see coaching programmes and community memberships and free introductory coaching sessions for all.
Eastbourne Borough Council lead cabinet member for culture, tourism and enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister, said, “Bringing tennis into the heart of our community has been a key objective for us.
“Following our refurbishment programme, this scheme will provide much better access for tennis fans and budding players of the future, while also preventing unnecessary damage to the courts, protecting the town’s investment for further generations.
“It would be fantastic, if after Johanna Konta’s recent success, we saw even more stars of the future inspired through grass roots sport in Eastbourne.”
It is anticipated that the new booking system will spread demand for courts, ensuring fair use and preventing unauthorised access for activities such as football, cycling and skating which can damage facilities.
The new security will also counteract current issues around persistent dog fouling which often poses a health threat, particularly to children playing tennis.
There is often a surge in people taking up tennis in the run up to the Eastbourne tournament and Wimbeldon.
On Thursday (April 7), the Herald revealed the men’s tennis is to return to the Eastbourne Aegon tennis tournament from next year.
The likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic could be gracing the town’s courts.
The Eastbourne championships are also being pushed back from mid-June until the end of the month, right before Wimbledon.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has today (Thursday) in conjunction with The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, announced changes to what it says will further enhance the British grass court season in the lead up to The Championships.
The improvements see men’s and women’s professional tennis together at both Eastbourne and Nottingham.
The Eastbourne tournament is sure to inspire many local to take up the sport for free. Book a court online at www.eastbourneboroughtennis.com.
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