Wimbledon star Jonny O’Mara was joined by schoolchildren as new, state-of-the-art tennis courts were officially opened in Alexandria.
Pupils at nearby Levenvale Primary School enjoyed a short masterclass at the Argyll Park tennis courts, which were developed with a £ 200,000 investment from the West Dunbartonshire Council, the Lawn Tennis Association and of sportscotland.
Australian Open doubles quarter-finalist Jonny O’Mara recently competed in his fourth Wimbledon tournament.
He is also an Ambassador for Tennis Scotland, acting as a mentor to the next generation of tennis stars in Scotland to provide hands-on support to players.
It is hoped that the courts will encourage increased participation and interest in the sport, with free use for residents during off-peak hours.
While the courts were officially opened by the head of the council, Councilor Jonathan McColl, he said an increase in bookings had already been seen since they were made available earlier in the summer.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to officially open this brilliant facility, which has already sparked renewed interest in tennis with over 420 court bookings involving 1300 participants since the courts opened at the end of June.
“The West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust will also offer tennis development sessions to introduce residents to the sport, increase participation and help develop tennis skills and enjoyment.
“Other programs offered in partnership with the West Dunbartonshire Council and the Lawn Tennis Association have seen free practice and equipment to encourage continued participation.
“The development of these courts will certainly bring benefits to Alexandria and the whole of West Dunbartonshire for generations to come and I encourage residents to try them out for themselves.
The all-weather lit courts, which have been developed to the Lawn Tennis Associated standard, will be managed by the West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust on behalf of the board.
Blane Dodds, Managing Director of Tennis Scotland, said: “Tennis in Scotland continues to grow in popularity and first-class facilities like Argyll Park will no doubt support our efforts to increase participation at all levels of the game.
“Argyll Park is a great example of how local councils, Sportscotland, the LTA and Tennis Scotland can work together to provide fantastic facilities that everyone can enjoy.”
Stewart Harris, Sportscotland General Manager, added: “It’s fantastic to see these courts already being used so well.
“This investment was made possible by National Lottery players who raise £ 36million per week for good causes.
“Without this level of support, the development of community facilities like the Argyll Park tennis courts simply would not be possible.”
The courts are open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
They are free to use between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, by reservation.
The courts can be booked online or through an app called Clubspark Booker, which also controls the lighting of the spotlights so that they are appropriately lit when needed.
Argyll Park will also be a ‘Tennis For Free’ venue from September, with a free weekly session led by coaches for all ages, with all equipment provided, making the new courts accessible to all.