14 September 2015

Revamped tennis courts have been officially opened at High Hazels Park in the north of Sheffield, as part of the city’s new tennis programme.

The new courts were launched by Clive Betts MP, ward councillors and representatives from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Premier Tennis and Places for People at an event and exhibition match on Saturday, 12 September.

The ‘old guard’ of Jeff Hunter (former professional player and MD of Premier Tennis) and Sam Salt (head coach at Graves Tennis Centre) took on the ‘young guns’ of Conor Tordoff and Joseph Newman-Billington, both rising Sheffield tennis stars.

When asked about the result, Mr Hunter diplomatically replied: “Tennis was the winner!”

For the last three months, Sheffield City Council and the LTA have been working in partnership with Premier Tennis and Places for People Leisure to bring low-cost tennis and coaching for all ages and abilities to Sheffield’s public parks.

Sessions are taking place at six parks across Sheffield – High Hazels, Hillsborough, Concord, Graves, Weston and Millhouses – spanning communities across the city from north to south, east and west.

The scheme involves coaching sessions and the chance to book courts in advance, so players can be guaranteed of a slot when they want to have a game.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “It’s great to see more newly-refurbished courts opening up in the city, giving people the chance to play tennis themselves, at a low cost, on great facilities in their local park.

“Already, we’ve seen families and groups of friends enjoying the new-look courts at Hillsborough Park, and I hope people will take to the new courts at High Hazels just as enthusiastically.

“Thanks to Premier Tennis’ court booking system, available 24 hours a day, for the first time people can reserve a court online to play with friends and family at a time that suits them, take part in low cost coaching – just £3 for juniors and £4 for adults – or join a social tennis session along with other players looking for a game.

“By investing in tennis courts across Sheffield, we hope that people from all of the city’s diverse communities will bring their friends and families along and give it a try.”

Funding for the tennis programme has come from the LTA, Premier Tennis, Places for People and Sheffield City Council.

When the scheme was announced earlier this summer, Michael Downey, chief executive of the LTA, said: “We have invested over £850,000 into facilities in Sheffield and working with our friends in Sheffield City Council and delivery partners, Premier Tennis and Places for People, we have created a great programme of tennis throughout the city offering an opportunity for everyone.”

Mr Hunter added: “It’s been great to be involved in this Sheffield parks programme.

“We’ve seen more than 6,000 bookings of courts and coaching sessions over the summer which has been surprising and exciting in equal measure.

“It shows the pent-up demand for people to try our sport for the first time or get back on court after a period of not playing.

“Our coaches are here to help anyone get into the swing of things and it’s proven lots of fun for us all.”

For further information, visit www.parkstennis.co.uk/sheffield