Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, tennis clubs across Wales have seen a surge in their membership as well as large increases in court bookings by members of the public looking for somewhere to play. Tennis venues have been reporting a larger number of families joining, and the number of people now booking a pay & play court has increased significantly from last year.
The latest insight from Tennis Wales and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) showed that over 131,000 adults had played tennis at least once in the last 12 months, an increase of 8% on 2019. The number of people playing tennis monthly across Wales had seen a huge 33% increase, with 36,000 adults now playing more regularly than before the pandemic.
Tennis club facilities have been continuing to see much of the growth. Bangor Tennis Club in North Wales has grown to more than 120 (from 80 pre-lockdown) members, welcoming new adults & juniors to the game. Elsewhere, public park facilities such as Heath Park in Cardiff saw over 2,200 public pay & play bookings in July & August 2020, compared to 828 during the same period in 2019. Tennis clubs have seen more families participating and taking part, whilst parks continue to attract young people aged 16-34 to participate.
During the summer, the LTA has launched Rally, a new free digital platform to help people search for tennis activities in their area and make it easier for people to find and book a court, book group coaching, play a match or find free tennis events.
Tennis venues and coaching providers across Wales have been marketing & promoting themselves online to new participants in a variety of ways. Cowbridge Tennis Club in South Wales are continuing to offer a £1 trial month’s membership to new players, and Barry Athletic Tennis Club have been actively promoting a 50% membership reduction to welcome people to the club.
Tennis Wales, in partnership with the LTA continues to support venues & coaches to welcome new people to the sport whilst ensuring participants and players take part in a safe environment and by following all the latest Welsh Government guidance for social distancing and reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Jamie Clewer, Head of Participation for Tennis Wales commented on the increase in participation: “Tennis is a fantastic sport that can be played by anyone. Our venues, coaches and volunteers have done a superb job in opening facilities safely and in doing so, welcomed thousands of new participants across Wales. New and existing players have all been keen to get on court and take part during what has been a very difficult period as we all navigate Covid-19. We’re delighted to see a rise in the number of 16-34 year olds playing and young families entering the sport for the first time. With the introduction of new technology to help people find a court, book and pay online, it’s a great time to start or return to playing tennis in Wales”.
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