Free tennis attracts crowds to Eaton Park

Great British Tennis weekend at Eaton Park in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Great British Tennis weekend at Eaton Park in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

With Andy Murray's victory at Wimbledon still a recent memory, hundreds of people took to the courts at Norwich's Eaton Park on Saturday as the city celebrated the Great British Tennis Weekend.

The city park was one of 39 venues across the country, chosen by the Lawn Tennis Association, to be part of the tennis focused weekend.

The idea behind it was to encourage people who were inspired by an incredible year in British tennis to pick up a racket and enjoy the sport for free.

James Munro, from the LTA, said: 'It's been a cracking day. We said that if we could get 200 people in it would be fantastic, and we had that by early afternoon.

'There's been a great combination of kids enjoying the mini-tennis, and also having fun in family sessions.


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'Of the 39 venues I'm sure we've had the best weather. We've had people in who never played before, but saw Wimbledon, and wanted to give it a go. At the end they said how much they enjoyed it and wanted to come back.

'We want those people to now get into playing tennis regularly, and not as a one-off.'

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The event was also attended by Cathie Sabin, LTA deputy president, who said Eaton Park was one of the best tennis sites she had visited.

She said: 'It's been amazing. It's all about making people aware that it's not an elitist game, and is for everyone.'

Norwich South MP Simon Wright also attended and said it was a fantastic opportunity for people to give the sport a go.

Among those enjoying the day were Kay Baxter and daughter Tara, 13, from Poringland, near Norwich.

Mrs Baxter said: 'Tara used to have tennis coaching lessons but gave it up, but she's now back into it.

'She has picked up some tips on her serve here today.'

The teenager said she would like to be a professional tennis player in the future.

The £250,000 Eaton Park based facility, which features four all-weather floodlit tennis courts, was funded through a £150,000 grant from the LTA with support from Sport England, and Norwich City council.

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