Murray’s major boost for tennis
The stunning success of Britain’s Andy Murray on the international tennis circuit this year has encouraged a number of youngsters to take up the game.
Cliffe Tennis Club stalwart Jane Pemberton is particularly thrilled by Murray’s run – as Wimbledon finalist, Olympic gold medallist and now US Open champion – and at the effect it has had on the juniors she coaches both at the club and at Carlton-in-Snaith Primary School, where she is a teaching assistant.
Murray’s triumph in America makes him the first British player to win a major championship since Fred Perry back in 1936, but it was his Olympic gold more than anything else that has inspired her young pupils.
This is because relatively few of them have access to Sky TV, but they were all uplifted by Team GB’s Olympic gold rush as it was so well covered on national television.
And when Murray avenged his Wimbledon final defeat by seven times winner Roger Federer at the same venue, that really captured the imagination.
“I think the Olympic gold medal is the one that did it,” said Jane. “The children have been watching the Olympics more than the US Open because they don’t have access to Sky.
“If we’re wanting to promote sport in this country, it has to be accessible for all.”
Jane adds that she has had “a huge response” this year to her coaching sessions for children aged five to 16. “I’m just passionate about getting children involved in tennis and the interest has been unbelievable.”
The Cliffe junior sessions continue on Saturday afternoons from 3-4pm until half-term, with possibly more after that, and then again in the spring.
Membership – and enthusiasm – from juniors has definitely increased and, with a bit of guidance and match experience, the current crop of 12-year-olds could soon be ready for competitive tennis with adults.
She pointed out that Murray got his opportunity at local club level where he started aged just six.
Meanwhile Jane and her friend and clubmate Liz Boville finished a very creditable runners-up at the Fulford Invitation League tennis finals held on Saturday.
Cliffe compete in Division 4 of the league, but the intrepid pair were up against ladies from Division 1.
“The weather was glorious but we knew we had some very tough opposition,” she said. “It was always going to be a tall order, but someone was watching over us as we managed to battle into a fantastic second place! Overall winners Jill Rouse and Jill Mcreedy, representing Fulford, were always going to be a tough act to beat. They were also the holders but we managed to squeeze into second spot by overpowering a strong Boston Spa couple who were runners-up last year along with a powerful Fulford pair led by Pauline Craddock.”
Junior tennis coaching will commence on the courts at Cliffe on Saturday September 29 at 3pm, weather permitting!
Also expecting to see a surge in children wanting to take up tennis as a result of being inspired by Murray’s efforts is the racquets, health and fitness group David Lloyd Leisure.
They say that some 12,500 youngsters are already following the group’s Tennis All Stars exclusive junior coaching programme, including some of the most talented young players in Europe.
Their head of sports, health and fitness for children Sarah Hobbs said: “A high-profile victory of a home-grown hero like Murray is a wonderful way to create more interest in tennis, particularly among children who aspire to be like their sporting heroes, and whose participation today is key to tennis’s future development and success.
“More importantly, we want to show youngsters of all ages and abilities that tennis is a fun and sociable game.”
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Weather for Goole
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 12 C to 19 C
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Wind direction: West