Local tennis leagues are springing up all over Scotland
Local tennis leagues are springing up all over Scotland

Have an ace time by taking up a new sport this summer

Strawberries and cream, tennis whites, and picnics on Murray Mound…

With the countdown to Wimbledon beginning once more, many of us will be inspired to pick up the dusty old tennis rackets and go out to enjoy a match in the sunshine.

Despite Andy Murray’s success on the court, figures suggest that national participation in sport is declining.

With this in mind, tennis enthusiasts Nigel Billen and Sally Kinnes decided to start up local tennis leagues in the hope of bucking the trend of inactivity in Scotland.

Adults across the country now have the opportunity to play friendly, competitive tennis on public courts. In Scotland there are 12 leagues which are open to men and women – they are based in Aberdeen, Dundee, East Lothian, Edinburgh (which has six), Falkirk and Grangemouth, and Glasgow (which has two.)

Dundee in particular has benefited from a major park court refurbishment programme and all its park courts are free to use. East Lothian, Falkirk and Grangemouth, Glasgow and Leith Links in Edinburgh also have park courts that have been recently renovated.

By encouraging people to get involved in the sport, the old ‘Cinderella courts’ that have been left behind and forgotten are now beginning to thrive again.

Sally said: ‘The problem for many was knowing where to play and finding opponents of the same standard.’

Nigel added: ‘We set up our first league simply because we wanted to play more and improve our own game. Choosing our own local courts on Highbury Fields in north London just made sense.

‘We soon realised there were lots of people like us and it very quickly became a huge success.’

Local tennis leagues are springing up all over Scotland

Players are organised into groups of similar levels and arrange their own matches at a time that suits them both. They play locally over the eight-week period of a round and report the matches online so everyone stays in touch.

The organisation prides itself in player motivation – anyone who completes three matches by the mid-point of a round receives a free can of tennis balls in the post.

Craig Norton, a player in the local tennis league in Glasgow said: ‘It’s got me back out on the court and enjoying tennis again, the levels get better as you progress through the groups and everyone is really nice.’

The LTA is now working closely with local tennis leagues to ensure the lessons are learned. Last year it announced a £125million investment in tennis facilities and much of the money is destined for public courts.

Leagues are open to adults over the age of 18, and a round – lasting eight weeks – costs £18. Matches are competitive but fun.

‘It’s not just about the tennis,’ adds Nigel. ‘The leagues help build a sense of community and put local players in touch with one another which in turn can lead to some great friendships being formed.’

To find out more or to join a local tennis league in Scotland click HERE.