The Foundation’s PL4S team was made up of four students from Tottenham University Technical College (TUTC) who have been taking part in the weekly sessions designed to encourage more young people to take an interest in the sport. This was the first time that the TUTC students had visited Wimbledon.
Before the tournament started, all 18 groups representing Premier League and Football League clubs were given a warm welcome by tennis legend Greg Rusedski, who was on hand to offer tips and play a few short rallies with the budding tennis players, and Premier League Ambassador, Graeme Le Saux.
Speaking about visiting Wimbledon for the first time, Janine, a student from Tottenham UTC, said: “I’ve never been here before and it’s been such a great experience. It’s really nice here and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
This is the second year that the PL4S tournament has run through a partnership between the Premier League and British Tennis. The PL4S programme has seen a 58 per cent uplift in the number of young people participating in tennis lessons and coaching over the past nine months, as well as an increase of 107 per cent in the number of females taking part.
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation runs a number of free PL4S tennis sessions in Enfield and Barnet, attracting over 40 young people each week. Young people aged 14 – 19 and interested at trying their hand at tennis can benefit from lessons delivered by LTA and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaches while developing their skills on the court in competitive matches.
Grant Cornwell MBE, CEO of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: “Attending world-renowned events like Wimbledon leaves a lasting impression on youngsters – many of the participants from our PL4S programme have been getting Wimbledon fever! Our tennis sessions have been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years and we know that grassroots projects like this are instrumental in helping to create the country’s next generation of sportspeople.”
Simon Morgan, Head of Community Development, Premier League, stated: “The partnership between the Premier League and British Tennis has led to a significant rise in the number of young people participating in tennis.
“This increase was exactly what we had in mind when we launched the Olympic legacy Premier League 4 Sport programme in 2009. Football Clubs have a unique ability to use the power of football to engage young people and then provide a high quality of coaching that maintains participation.
“To be able to use the world-class range of courts at the National Tennis Centre for this Premier League 4 Sport Tournament is tremendous for the young people involved and I’m sure it is something that they will remember for a long time to come.”