Anyone for tennis?
Roger Draper, chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), certainly found no fault with the creation of a unique new indoor tennis complex, at the Kingsley Tennis Centre, near Bordon, which he opened officially last Wednesday (September 3).
"It's a marvellous facility," he told coaches, players, their friends and families at the opening ceremony, when he also announced a 7,000 donation from the LTA to help with the Kingsley tennis centre's aspirations and to reach the wider community.
The new complex now boasts four indoor courts on the site – along with its two outdoor American clay courts – with the aim of providing a well-equipped tennis club for all ages to enjoy a programme of coaching and competition "where talent and ambition can flourish all year round."
Roger's decision to formally come to Kingsley to open the courts, is indicative of his decision to overhaul British tennis in the 14 months he has held the job of the LTA's chief executive.
He said: "There's been a pretty bad culture in British tennis. While we will give all the funding support and encouragement, we've also got to be pretty ruthless with people's attitudes and behaviour."
He added: "That's why I am so pleased to be able to come here to Kingsley to see the fruition of a long-term project to provide superb indoor courts in this area of the country for the benefit of up and coming potential tennis champions in a proper and professional manner."
Kingsley Tennis Centre was opened in 1987, with the view to provide opportunities for children and adults to play and learn the game. Since then the club has developed its activities and is now one of the leading tennis clubs in Hampshire.
The centre's manager and director Colin Jakeway, has been involved with the centre since its beginning, first as a player, then as a coach, before his present position.
Colin worked for the LTA as the county performance officer for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for five years and has gained much experience as a coach at junior and international standard.
Since leaving the LTA in 2000, Colin has continued to teach all standards, and can often be seen behind the scenes organising all sorts of functions on behalf of the tennis members.
Concluding his official opening speech, Roger Draper said: "The LTA's focus is now at the bottom end – trying to get more kids competing. There is no point having great coaches at the top end, if you haven't got great coaches working with nine and 10-year-olds.
"Here at Kingsley, you have got them – and you should feel very proud."
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Weather for Petersfield
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 11 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North