Sudbury: Tots urged to aim for tennis stardom

Jack Bentley, Eliza Henshall and Tom Bentley at the 'mini-tennis' club in Sudbury

Jack Bentley, Eliza Henshall and Tom Bentley at the 'mini-tennis' club in Sudbury - Credit: Archant

TENNIS coaches in Sudbury hoping to discover the next Wimbledon champion or Olympic gold medallist have started an initiative to encourage young childen to take up the sport.

Bouyed by a £1,900 grant from Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association via Babergh District Council, Sudbury Tennis Club has just launched a ‘mini tennis’ programme.

According to club chairman Rob Butler, uptake of tennis in the town has grown as a result of the ongoing success of home-grown international stars Andy Murray and Laura Robson.

The new junior programme, which aims to get youngsters started in the sport as young as possible, will offer special beginners coaching on ‘mini tennis courts’ using soft sponge balls and smaller rackets. It is designed to teach children the ball skills and techniques necessary to play and enjoy tennis at all levels.

The club’s junior co-ordinator Ronnie Hall said: “Mini tennis is just 100% fun, and because the balls are soft and bounce slowly, kids learn much more quickly how to play strokes and eventually take part in competitive games. It offers the perfect way to introduce children to the full size game without the frustration of trying to cope with a high bouncing ball on a huge court.”

Tommy Bentley, 6, who attended the first indoor session on Tuesday said: “I really enjoyed it and found it quite easy. I am looking forward to playing outside when the weather’s better.” His brother, Jack, aged 4 added: “I loved it - I wish I could play tennis every day.”

Sessions are scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoons at 4.15pm in the scout headquarters building in Quay Lane. As the weather improves there will be extra sessions at the tennis club on Saturday mornings. Suffolk’s rising tennis star Eliza Henshall, 18, will assist with the programme. Call Ronnie on 01787 464273 for details.

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