There may have been no play at Wimbledon (the middle Sunday being a day of rest in a busy tournament fortnight) but there was plenty of tennis action on Wellington Tennis Club’s courts last Sunday. Players of all ages and their fans turned out for the club’s Wimbledon Round Robin Tournament. No one retired hurt or complained about bad calls or slippery courts and the whole afternoon was good-humored and full of good quality – tennis action.
With two British players through to the second week of Wimbledon for the first time since 1998, tennis as a sport is caught in the glare of a particularly bright spotlight this week. Those who aspire to follow Andy Murray and Laura Robson into the most competitive tiers of the game need grass-roots clubs such as Wellington’s to provide early opportunities for young players. Club Chairman Sue Rackley said, “With so many juniors playing competitive tennis so well it feels like the club is entering a new era. They are the future of the club.”
Sue added “We had twenty club players out today – which is what we wanted. We’ve a number of really good juniors here which I’m very pleased about. The club is benefitting from the summer coaching programme run by DSC Tennis Coaching which offers eight-week sessions for youngsters from the age of four, as well as adults. Our Juniors all play in the U14 and U17 teams and some now play for the club’s league teams. Public bookings through C & C Carpets are also increasing, Cardio Tennis on Friday evenings is going well and our A team, who play in Division 3 of the West Somerset League, has not lost a match this season!”
But clubs have both sporting and social value for all their members and this tournament brought together players, in Sue Rackley’s words, “From 12 to late 70’s!”, for an afternoon of sport rounded off, not with Pimms and strawberries, but with a barbecue! “We all had a marvellous time,” said Sue Rackley. “When I left at 7.30 some players were still on court. Thanks to the committee for the planning and preparation and to Jane and Chris Hampden for organising the order of play and scoring.”
Anna Kennedy was Junior Winner and David Knowlman won the adult competition. They were both presented with Wimbledon-themed prizes.
Photos & report: Gill Paltridge