New courts welcomed in with Exhibition tennis and drop-in taster sessions
Edinburgh Leisure’s flagship tennis facility at Craiglockhart has been set up with six new outdoor tennis courts, having secured funding from Tennis Scotland and sportscotland.
The front four courts have been reconfigured and extended to create five courts, all with floodlights and a centre court which will allow major tournaments to be hosted that can accommodate spectators. All the courts have a new all-weather artificial clay surface, which will allow play all year round.
As well as the exhibition match, which included doubles star, Colin Fleming, a whole series of coaching demonstrations were held to get the youngsters, and their parents, involved.
Some of the initiatives such as the Disability Tennis (Advantage Tennis) and She Rallies – Judy Murray’s woman and girls involvement programme – were open to all as drop-in sessions.
And some of the top tennis coaches were on hand to oversee some taster and coaching sessions.
Before all the activities started, the plans and ideas and future vision behind the new facilities were set out by a number of key officials in the tennis world.
Kirsty Stobie, Manager at Edinburgh Leisure’s Craiglockhart Tennis Centre said: “Edinburgh Leisure is very grateful to Tennis Scotland and sportscotland for their funding contribution. We’re thrilled that the new surface will allow us to continue to host the Nike Junior International and the Scottish Junior Open Championships each year, which will bring the outdoor courts alive with talented players from all over the world coming to participate.
“The surface will help support the development of our junior players within Edinburgh Leisure’s programme as well as the local development squads supported by Tennis Scotland and can also be enjoyed my members of the public.”
Craiglockhart Leisure and Tennis Centre is also the home of Tennis Scotland, part of the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body for tennis in Scotland responsible for growing participation and supporting the long-term development of talented players.
Blane Dodds from Tennis Scotland said: “It is fantastic to see the development of the outdoor courts at Craiglockhart come to fruition. Tennis Scotland was delighted to be able to support the development of these courts including floodlights through the Tennis Scotland Community Fund. It has been great to watch the project develop from the Tennis Scotland office and we are looking forward to start seeing players of all ages and abilities stepping out on the courts to enjoy the new court facilities. These courts will play a big part in our competitions calendar as well supporting in our drive to grow and develop tennis in Scotland.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive, sportscotland said: “At sportscotland we are committed to ensuring that sports facilities are well planned, well placed, sustainable and as a result, able to deliver more opportunities for people to take part in sport at every level. The development of these courts at Craiglockhart will now provide year-round access, allowing the expansion of the tennis coaching programme and positively impacting on both participation and progression in the sport of tennis.
“That’s why we were delighted to play our part by providing expertise and £100,000 of National Lottery funding to support our partners in Edinburgh Leisure and Tennis Scotland to deliver this terrific project. I’m sure it will be an asset to the sport and the community for many years to come.”
The outdoor tennis courts at Craiglockhart have seen many world-famous players grace their surface over the years from Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe in the 1970s to Andy Murray in the 90s.
Craiglockhart Tennis Centre has six indoor courts and a further three outdoor clay courts at the back of the building in addition to these new courts, a cycling studio and Harry’s Café. Its Leisure Centre also boasts a spacious gym with over 70 pieces of kit, fitness studios, squash courts and a multi-purpose sports hall.