With Wimbledon underway, three new paid outdoor tennis courts have opened.
They are in Victoria Park, Deal, thanks to investment from Dover District Council and a £5,500 grant from the Lawn Tennis Association, the sport’s governing body in Britain.
All three courts will be LTA registered venues for Clubspark, a seamless system that integrates online court bookings through the LTA Rally digital platform.
It also provides players with coded entry to the field through a smart gate.
All three courts have also been completely refurbished by DDC with new surfacing, sturdy fencing, nets and pitch markings.
Your Leisure will operate, manage and maintain the outdoor tennis courts, allowing them to further develop their ties with the LTA registered Deal Indoor Tennis Centre.
The new gate access systems will also allow the council to better regulate and monitor tennis court usage and help make playing the sport easier for participants.
The project is part of the LTA’s nationwide strategy to make tennis facilities more accessible and boost participation by making it easier to get to the court.
Cllr Oliver Richardson, Cabinet Member for Community, Environment and Business Ownership, said: ‘The council’s priority is to ensure that good quality outdoor spaces are accessible to all and we are happy to be able to use this money to renovate these courts. “
John Golding, head of the LTA region for London and the South East, said: “Great to see the installation of new gate access systems at Victoria Park, deal done.
“Alongside the LTA Rally, this helps overcome what we know to be one of the biggest hurdles for people wanting to play tennis in easily finding and booking a court.
“In other areas where we have seen portal access technology introduced, participants have found the journey to court much easier, and we have also seen a significant increase in usage.
“Tennis is a hobby for life.”
“We hope the new systems will encourage more people in the Dover District to become active through tennis, regardless of age, background, ability or disability.
Gavid Vickers, Leisure Services Manager for Your Leisure, said; “We now have a real opportunity to help improve the health and well-being of the people of Deal through the power of tennis. Tennis is a unique social sport that is a lifelong pastime and enables people of all ages to maintain a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.
Courts can be booked online at lta.org.uk/rally and via the same direct link on the DDC and Tides Leisure Center websites.
The 2021 Wimbledon Championships started on Monday and will run until Sunday July 11.
Kent teenager Emma Raducanu won her first game there yesterday.
Read more: All the latest news from Deal