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SAPCA comment


As tennis enjoys growing popularity, SAPCA issues its latest code of practice to help communities to get the best from their tennis courts.


Raising standards of tennis courts


ACCORDING to figures released by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) earlier this year, the number of people playing tennis in Britain has grown significantly – with 131,000 more people playing tennis in June 2017 than in June 2016. This increase has been partly fuelled by the


success of Britain’s elite players led by the likes of Andy Murray and Johanna Konta, providing role models for young and aspiring tennis players. Tennis fans have been treated too this year


with Britain enjoying both a men's and women's Wimbledon quarter-finalist for the first time since 1973.


Leading from the front There is a direct link between success at the top and interest at grassroots level. LTA figures show that, during this year’s Wimbledon fortnight, there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of tennis court hours being booked. For its part, the LTA deserves credit in the


way it has increased the amount of funding for grassroots. One of its most successful projects has been the Tennis for Kids programme, which in 2016 attracted 13,000 youngsters to take up the sport – and another 20,000 in 2017. Under the programme, each child is given a free, six-


week course by a qualified coach, a free racket and the opportunity to keep playing the sport through discounted memberships at participating clubs.


Facility investment The LTA has also been active in building and improving the tennis facility infrastructure – a key element in its strategy to get more people playing the sport. In June this year, the governing body


announced its biggest-ever investment in grassroots facilities, with a promise to plough £125m into the transformation of tennis courts over the next 10 years. As well as new courts, the funding will result


in thousands of existing community tennis courts across the country being revamped. LTA has already announced that, as part of the scheme, 750 courts will be covered and a further 4,000 will be floodlit.


A code for all To help communities get the best out of their facilities, SAPCA is publishing its newly updated Code of Practice for the Construction and Maintenance of Tennis Courts. The code has been


created in partnership with the LTA and provides a wealth of valuable guidance for anyone looking to build – or renovate – a tennis court. The code takes the reader through all the


current requirements and standards and explains the various choices available – such as for different surfaces, construction specifications and playing performance. There is also advice on the maintenance of courts, to help clubs and other operators prolong the life of their facilities, once they are completed. “Since its original publication the code of


practice has made a significant contribution in raising the standards of facilities across the UK, helping to create well-designed, sustainable tennis courts, particularly at the grassroots of the game,” said Chris Trickey, chief executive of SAPCA. “The code sets out minimum standards of


construction and workmanship to which members of SAPCA’s Tennis Court Division are committed and against which they are assessed, underpinning the importance of selecting SAPCA approved contractors for tennis court projects.”


www.sapca.org.uk


SAPCA is the recognised trade association for the sports and play construction industry in the UK. Its role is to foster excellence, professionalism and continuous improvement throughout the industry, in order to provide the high quality facilities needed at all levels of sport, physical activity, recreation and play. For details on the above stories and more visit www.sapca.org.uk


40 pactfacilities.co.uk


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