TENNIS: YOUNGSTERS are being encouraged to pick up a tennis racket and improve both their fitness and social skills by joining Warwick Boat Club.
More youngsters are playing tennis at Warwick Boat Club following the success of coach Marcus Willis, who thrilled and excited fans when he played Roger Federer on centre court at Wimbledon last year.
In the days following Wimbledon a total of 43 new players signed up for coaching as part of the ‘Willis effect’ which took the club by surprise.
Overnight success meant there was an overwhelming interest by the world’s television, radio and print media in the little known professional and the Warwick club.
“We were unprepared and struggled to cope with demands for live interviews, accommodating camera crews, and calls from reporters all over the world,” said the club’s manager Gavin Henderson.
“It was bewildering and disruptive. We had not been trained in how to deal with it.
“Such was the interest over the ten days, the phone kept ringing. I had to drop everything and our volunteer tennis captain lost a week’s work.
“However, it increased awareness of the club, its magnificent setting, and local tennis.”
Willis is not the only success story to come out of the club.
Outstanding junior Harry Lazell represented Great Britain, Jenny Waggot won a gold medal at the World Tennis Championships and Liz Graham represented Wales, while Paul Martin and Hugh Jacques won the national indoor over 35 doubles competition.
The club itself is situated on the banks of the River Avon together with the stunning Warwick Castle as its backdrop and it caters for tennis for all ages as well as rowing, squash and bowls.
Membership overall continues to increase at a steady rate and it is hoped more youngsters will be inspired to attend future open days which have proved to be a popular route into the sport.
“Tennis is in a good place just now,” Henderson added. “Boys and girls are inspired and want to get involved with the sport following the success of Andy Murray, Johanna Konta and our own, Marcus.”