Cromer Tennis Club nets ace gift from Wimbledon
- Credit: SUE LAWSON
It is currently ranked one of the top six tennis courts in the country.
But Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club hope soon to rival Wimbledon after being gifted two lawnmowers from the All England Club, which manages the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
Multiple doubles Grand Slam winner and Davis Cup champions Jamie Murray and Dan Evans are among many leading names to have played on the grass courts at the Norwich Road club.
And now it is hoped the ace donation from the home of British tennis will help grow the sport at its grassroots in north Norfolk and unearth the stars of the future.
Matthew Jordan, aka Jordy, who is the year round groundsman at Cromer Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, said: 'A lot of care goes into the surface to ensure it is well maintained all year around.
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'People think it's just a summer job, but that's not the case. We put in the work all year and that's why the Cromer club is in the top six grass courts in the country.'
With 10 grass courts to maintain the surface comes in for a lot of wear and tear during the season, which usually runs from April to October.
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For eight years Jordy has been scarifying, spiking, clearing and cutting, fertilising and top dressing the surface to ensure people are playing on one of the best grass court lawns in the country.
He and colleague Peter Cooper have continued to build on the great work of Bob Cox, who maintained the courts for 40 years before he retired in 1978, and Mike Thompson, who then took up the mantle for a further 29 years.
'When the tennis season is in full swing and a tournament is on we cut and mark every day, otherwise it's every other day,' added Jordy.
'Even out of season we keep it clipped and treat it. We have a regular maintenance programme and we spray and fertilise to keep the rye grass surface in good condition.'
Nationally the focus of the Lawn Tennis Association is to keep grass courts across the country as good as possible and once a year representatives from the LTA inspect grass surfaces across the country.
'The way we see it, keeping grass courts is key to this country producing the next Wimbledon champion, it's fundamental to that,' said Jordy.
The Cromer duo were recently invited to Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Association to share their expertise in grounds maintenance and carry out their end of season renovation, a testament to their hard work and dedication.
They are set to take ownership of two of Wimbledon's mowers at Cromer in January as the club prepares to celebrate its 110th anniversary in 2018.
Councillor Judy Oliver, North Norfolk District Council's representative on the tennis club's committee, said: 'The club has a fascinating history, and has welcomed its fair share of famous players through the years from Winston Churchill's wife through to seven times champion Dorothy Chambers and Wimbledon champion Ann Jones. My hope is that the next Wimbledon champion comes from north Norfolk.'