Doncaster Tennis Club cater for post-Wimbledon boom

Head coach Liz Beaton
Head coach Liz Beaton

The annual Wimbledon Championships continues to provide tennis with its biggest boost in popularity in the UK.

That has been even more the case in recent years following the exploits of the likes of Tim Henman and the Murray brothers (Andy and Jamie) - both of whom played in the annual Doncaster Junior Open - at SW19.

Like many other clubs throughout the country, Doncaster hope to ‘net’ youngsters inspired by the legendary players in action during Wimbledon.

“Wimbledon always brings more children to the club and when Andy Murray does well, as he did again this year, then there is even more interest,” said joint head coach Liz Beaton.

Whereas tennis was once seen as a mainly summer sport in this country, modern facilities such as all-weather courts and floodlighting mean that clubs like Doncaster now operate 12 months of the year with only snow preventing courts being used.

That is particularly important when it comes to the club’s junior coaching programme – the numbers of which are up this year despite the poor weather at times.

“We currently deliver approximately 100 coaching hours a week to our players, the majority of whom are members, and we still offer our Friday junior night sessions where anyone can come and play,” said Liz.

“It’s £5 pay and play on a Friday with under-8s coming at 4.30pm, 9-11 years at 5.30pm and the older players at 6.30pm.

“We don’t worry about correct clothing and we have equipment to lend but we do believe in good sportsmanship and good behaviour during all sessions."

She added: “We also deliver before and after school clubs at Bessacarr Primary, St Michael’s, Rossington and Bawtry Mayflower and are involved with the Sports weeks at Bessacarr and Plover.

“We are very happy to set up links with schools and any school which would like to deliver tennis should contact the club.

“Hall Cross also use our facilities and we will be delivering tennis to Hungerhill pupils from next March.”

She added: “We have made a positive initiative to encourage girls to play and remain in the sport. We have a girls only under-8 group and under-15 group, with female tennis leaders and coaching staff acting as strong role models. This has made a big difference when it comes to retaining girls and giving them more confidence.

“In our club championships the winners of the under 8s, 9s, 10s and 12s were all girls.

“We also have a good number of our players, both girls and boys, playing adult tennis in the South Yorkshire, Sheffield and District and Yorkshire Leagues. This keeps their interest in the sport and club membership.”