Tennis club gets new floodlights to help juniors hit even greater heights

PUBLISHED: 18:24 17 May 2011

Alex Jones Tennis Player

Saffron Walden

May 10, 2011.

Photograph by Michael Boyton.

Pic shows: Alex in action

Name: Alex Jones.

Alex Jones Tennis Player Saffron Walden May 10, 2011. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Alex in action Name: Alex Jones.

Archant

A tennis club has just completed a £50,000 upgrade to help its juniors and seniors get even more practice during the winter months.

GET into the Grove – the tennis club that has just completed a £50,000 upgrade to help its juniors and seniors get even more practice over the winter months.

Cold dark nights may be a long way away but the Grove Lawn Tennis Club in Saffron Walden now has a bright new set of floodlights – and even better – the neighbours don’t mind.

Head coach Keith Tomlin, a Great Britain over 35s international, is already coaching up to 200 juniors in any one week but the membership is still growing.

“The floodlights will allow us to coach and play for a lot longer in the winter months,” he said. “It is a great investment and one that benefits everyone at the club.”

The Grove backs onto a sheltered housing complex on John Dane Player Court but, according to club spokesman John Evans the residents there enjoy coming outside to watch the action.

“We have a good relationship with the people around us and that has helped us be successful – it has been built up over and this is a great community-minded club,” he said. “We always welcome new members, whether young or old.”

The new floodlights have been bought using part funding from the LTA, to the tune of £18,000, and were put up two months ago. Power was connected just two weeks ago.

Originally, the club was formed in 1920 and moved to its present site in 1928, renting two grass courts.

An original wooden clubhouse, built in 1946, but in recent years, with the aid of LTA interest free loans, five courts have been resurfaced and improved. A lottery grant was used to build the present clubhouse in 1998 at a cost of £77,000.

In Profile

One of the club’s up and coming stars is 14-year-old Alex Jones who is a regular star player in the Essex County Squad.

The Great Chesterford teenager has been playing since she was nine and took part in her first tournament in 2008 – she has now played over 20.

She said: “I enjoy the competition and especially the winning, but it also a good sport to meet friends from across the counties.

“My goal this summer is to win a regional tournament and start competing at international tournaments, and of course, be a champion.”

Alex takes her inspiration from Maria Sharapova and wants to emulate her success. “She had to leave her family at the age of eight and move to America to pursue her dream,” he said. “That must have been really hard, but shows her commitment to the game. Other players who I look up to are Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki and of course Keith Tomlin, my inspirational coach!”

Keith and Ollie Toms, both fully licensed and LTA qualified coaches, are available for a multitude of coaching sessions every week. Contact Keith on 07817 802267 or see grovetennis.org.uk.

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