The Lawn Tennis Association has launched a major campaign to get more people playing tennis after the coronavirus lockdown by making public facilities more accessible.
Tennis was one of the first sports allowed to be played socially across the country following the easing of lockdown measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governing body for the sport in Britain has developed a package of initiatives to help local authorities make facilities in parks more sustainable, and has targeted 1,000 priority locations.
The packages include the use of free technology to improve accessibility, including an online booking platform and gated access to courts, the development of a park-based competition and interest-free quick access loans for facility improvements.
LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said: “Park tennis facilities are absolutely crucial to us achieving increased and sustained participation levels in our sport, and so the development of this work has been a central priority since we launched our new strategy last year and our work to make tennis relevant, accessible, welcoming and enjoyable to anyone.
“As park tennis courts open back up following the easing of restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic, the LTA is determined to work in partnership with local authorities to safeguard park tennis venues up and down the country, drive participation in tennis in parks and help open up the sport and its benefits to many more people.
“We now have a ready-to-go offer in place for local authorities, with our LTA Rally online booking platform and gate access systems both easy to implement, while exciting acquisitions like Local Tennis Leagues and our range of programmed activity ensure park facilities will be able to offer something for everyone.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “Normally at this time of year we’d be looking forward to the start of Wimbledon, but there is no reason why we can’t hit the tennis courts ourselves.
“Tennis is a brilliant sport for the whole family to enjoy and can be done easily with social distancing, so I welcome the steps the LTA is taking to open up local courts and encourage everyone to pick up their rackets.”