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TENNIS: Club targets new recruits all-year around
WIMBLEDON may provide a momentary boost for tennis clubs – but those in charge say long-term goals are more important than Murray mania.
Knutsford Tennis Club, off Mereheath Lane, says it welcomes any small increase in interest during the Grand Slam tournament this month.
But head coach Mark Airey believes targeting youngsters all-year round is more important.
“Wimbledon and the whole Andy Murray thing that happened last year does bring on an influx of people, but for a short period of time,” he said.
“It’s not just about Wimbledon and what Andy Murray’s done.
“This tennis club has a philosophy that tennis is a game for life.”
Airey believes targeting potential players before they turn 10 is the key to increasing and maintaining membership numbers.
He said visits to primary schools to speak to pupils were among the vital projects which ensured the club continued its success on court.
“Children, through their parents, try many different sports,” he said.
“Usually, at about nine or 10-years-old they then start picking and choosing which they want to do.
“We’ll continue to take tennis to the masses in Knutsford primary schools.
“We have more than 600 children who come through our club every year who participate in one way or another – with some of them starting to show some real Andy Murray signs for the future.”
The club, which has about 350 members, is currently looking to replace three of its seven courts at a cost of £120,000, and is running a series of events to raise funds.
That will include a 24-hour tennis-a-thon on this weekend, with juniors and seniors playing continuously from 4.30pm on Friday.