Tennis clubs hopeful Emma Raducanu's victory will give children a 'real boost'
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
Tennis clubs in Norfolk are hopeful the sport will see a boost in younger membership following Emma Raducanu's victory at the US Open.
People are optimistic about what the 18-year-old player will do for the sport with some local clubs and centres reporting an increase in younger membership during the pandemic.
Peter Borlace, club secretary at The Burnhams Tennis Club in Burnham Market, said it remains to be seen whether the tennis star's achievements will make a difference locally but believes she will encourage more children to take part in the coming weeks.
He said: "We've got quite a good junior membership and hopefully it will encourage more to come along.
"She's such an engaging character, especially for children."
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The club secretary added that he has noticed girls tend to drop out of sport at around 12 or 13 because "it's not regarded as glamorous".
And getting young girls to stay in the game is something the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) has been trying to address for several years said Clare Parker, chair at Great Massingham Tennis and Multi-sport club.
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The 63-year-old added: "It couldn't have come at a better time for Emma to have done what she's done. That hopefully will bring more girls into the game, and give the children a real boost.
"We had the Andy Murray factor with all the little boys and the girls needed somebody like that to look at and think 'wow, we can do this.'
"The little ones will love her and they'll want to come and be a mini Emma."
Matt Breese, 49, head of commercial operations at Easton Tennis Centre at City College Norwich, said the teenager is a "breathe of fresh air" for the sport, with the centre already receiving half a dozen calls over the weekend from parents asking if their children can get involved.
He said: "She'll be inspiring a lot of youngsters.
"Even though we've had it tough for parts of the pandemic, I feel we're now in a place where we'll be able to take advantage of Emma's amazing win."
The National Tennis Association is offering group coaching sessions.