A TENNIS coach is planning to return a South Tyneside club to the ‘golden days’ of the 1990s – when it was home to Britain’s No2-ranked female tennis player.
With Wimbledon now under way, Westoe Tennis Club is hoping to capitalise on the excitement surrounding Andy Murray and his fellow stars.
And coach Carlos Caldeira is anxious to dispel the myth that tennis is an elite sport, out of the financial reach of ordinary people, with the club providing both accessible and affordable tennis for the whole borough community.
The club has an illustrious past and was home to countless top county and national players.
The most famous of those was Jo Ward, from South Shields, who took the nation by storm in 1999, at the age of 19, by winning the Ladies’ National Championships, defeating British No1 Clare Wood on her road to victory.
Jo also represented Great Britain in both Federation and European Cup competitions and at Wimbledon four times.
Mr Caldeira said: “It is an exciting time for Westoe Tennis Club.
“The club is looking to bring back the golden era of tennis by providing accessible and affordable tennis for the whole community.
“We want to encourage families and individuals to play a sport that ticks all the right boxes for a healthy mental, social and physical lifestyle.
“You find that a lot of people tend to pop to their local park to play tennis. There is an impression that clubs are a bit snobby, which isn’t the case at all.”
From this Friday, Mr Caldeira is taking junior tennis sessions for the under-11s (from 5pm to 6pm) and for over-11s (6pm to 7pm).
Each class costs £3.50 for members and £5 for non-members. Adult sessions are also available.
Mr Caldeira added: “Tennis is not as expensive to play as people seem to think. Sessions cost from £3.50, which is just the price of a pint of beer these days.
“We’re hoping to build on the excitement surrounding Wimbledon and get more people interested in the sport.”
Westoe Tennis Club is part of the South Shields and Westoe Club, a sporting facility in Dean Road.
It provides year-round tennis facilities with three all-weather and four tarmac courts, together with a large clubhouse, licenced bar, changing facilities and showers.
If you are interested in learning more about the sessions available, call Mr Caldeira on 07966 370527.
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