TENNIS coach Emma Silcock hopes the Fed Cup will inspire more youngsters to give the sport a try.

Great Britain are tackling Slovakia in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas this weekend in a bid to qualify for the next round in April.

The World Cup of women’s tennis offers female players from around the world the chance to represent their country.

Inspired by the tournament, High Legh Tennis Club have been encouraging young girls to pick up a racket.

Silcock, who has been nominated for an LTA Award this year, has been paving the way for youngsters in the region and hopes the Fed Cup will inspire more to try tennis.

“Fed Cup is an amazing tournament to showcase the phenomenal women in tennis and show young girls what they can achieve," she said.

"We have been working hard to increase the number of juniors in our club as that is the area that we want to focus on and have seen an increase in the number of junior teams.

"In 2018 there was only one here and that has grown to 18 junior teams now which is fantastic, and we want that to keep growing.

"Three years ago, we had 50 members and now we have over 170.

"We are a small club in High Legh but we definitely have the potential to grow the game here, especially with juniors as they are the heartbeat of the tennis club.”

Silcock, who has been playing tennis since she was seven, has started free sessions for any girls in school years 1 to 4 who would like to try the sport and they get four weeks of coaching sessions which take place on Wednesday afternoons.

“I’m really keen on promoting girls in tennis," she said.

"We are really trying to break down barriers at our club and make sure that all feel welcome to come along and have a go.

"Every term we’ll offer free sessions to a new group of girls. This has proved really popular which is great and hopefully we will have more girls in groups again for the county championships in the summer.

"It’s all about being proactive. That’s why the Fed Cup is so great, these girls get to watch some of the top players in the UK work as a team and be inspired.”

The Fed Cup action between Great Britain and Slovakia in Bratislava kicked off yesterday and concludes today from 3pm.

The winner will advance to be one of 12 nations playing in the all-new Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

BBC Sport will be showing the tie live online and on the red button.

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