AELTC's centre in Raynes Park will help develop local talent
The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s new Community Sports Ground in Raynes Park has been officially opened, with Andy Murray among the champions at the launch event.
He was joined by brother and fellow Grand Slam Champion Jamie Murray, multiple Grand Slam wheelchair doubles’ champion Jordanne Whiley, former British Number one and AELTC Committee Member Tim Henman, and Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club.
The Grand Drive centre features six hard courts, three outdoor and three indoor, and it will be the base for the 400 young tennis stars on the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative (WJTI) programme while improvement work is carried out to their usual home of Wimbledon’s Number One Court. The Community Sports Ground will also host Ball Boy and Ball Girl training and will be open for community use.
Andy Murray said: “Local facilities like this are so important in allowing kids to get their first experience of tennis. We had a few tennis courts nearby where I grew up and we were always encouraged to get out there and be active, it was a really important part of me and my brother’s development.”
Mayor of Merton Councillor Brenda Fraser said: “It’s great to see this fantastic initiative happening in our borough.
“I am proud of being the first citizen of Merton, the borough that hosts the world famous tennis championships.
“It’s great to see such internationally renowned tennis stars taking time out to visit the new facilities.”
Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: “I am delighted to have been part of the launch of the Community Sports Ground.
“We are always looking for opportunities to get young people into sport, and this is a great example of people coming together to encourage the sports stars of the future.”
With the Wimbledon Championships being held from Monday June 27 to Sunday July 10, the players took time out of their busy preparation schedule to attend.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, cut the ribbon with Andy Murray before youngsters took part in a series of tennis skills workshops.
June 16, 2016