It doesn’t matter what initiatives you bring into any level of sport, in any country, there is one thing that will always have a bigger impact than anything that can be put together by governing sporting bodies – the competitions themselves.
Tennis is no different and the LTA has introduced countless initiatives which have seen a rise in participation levels across the board – BUT – there is something which trumps these every year in the growth of tennis. The Wimbledon Championships (especially, when British players perform well and go far in the competition).
So, this year, we have to thank Andy Murray (yet again!) and Johanna Konta for doing so well in this year’s Championships in SW19. The fact that the pair also made history by becoming the first British pair to get through to the Semi-Finals since 1973 was also something which helped to spur on enthusiasm for the sport unsurprisingly.
But, back to the figures. While Andy Murray and Johanna Konta were battling through their respective Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals, the LTA saw a respectable increase of 7.6% in the number of people participating in tennis compared to that of June 2016. To break that down further, that’s an extra 131,019 people playing tennis!
This goes to show how pivotal Wimbledon is to the sport on every level. If this statistic didn’t show already just how much Wimbledon inspires a growth in tennis, then coupled with the figures elsewhere during the Championship, it paints an even brighter picture.
For instance, the LTA’s ‘GoHitIt’ website saw a huge spike in views. The figures indicated that there was a 30% increase in the number of tennis courts being booked compared to the two weeks prior to the Championships starting – an obvious growth in tennis participation
It is when the Championships aid the initiatives that the sport benefits most. It is the ‘golden’ window of opportunity, if you will, for the sporting bodies to really make a push in terms of participation.
Examples, such as the spike the ‘GoHitIt’ website saw, show just how good the work going on all-year-round from the LTA is. The Participation Director, Alastair Marks stated, “It is a sport for all the family to enjoy and why initiatives like the ‘Great British Tennis Weekend’ and ‘Tennis for Kids’ keep on growing year on year. We hope that the enjoyment of Wimbledon continues to inspire the nation to pick up a racket and have a go.”
Wimbledon will continue to do just that. But the LTA won’t want to slow up either, but for now, at least, they will be happy with how the period coming into, and, out of the Wimbledon Championships has gone for tennis as a whole. Something which Marks has reiterated, “At a time when more and more people are enjoying the resurgence of British tennis, it’s great to see that translating into more people actually getting out there and having fun on the court.”
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