FORMER Great Britain number one Greg Rusedski had a smashing time when the Great British Tennis Weekend took place at West Worthing Tennis & Squash Club on Sunday.
In glorious sunshine, more than 750 people attended the club to try the sport for free or to get back into the game.
The club was buzzing with activities – for young and old – and Rusedski also had a half-hour knock-up with Worthing wheelchair tennis star Lauren Jones, who is hoping to gain a place in next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
Rusedski took part in a doubles exhibition match in the afternoon, before a tournament took place for club members and guests.
At the same time as the tournament, Rusedski gave a half-hour lesson to Thomas Hearn, who won the prize in a competition in The Herald.
Rusedski said: “It was great to see so many people come out to try tennis for the first time, while others had put the rackets down and are now back on court.
“Tennis is a game for life, no matter if you’re three or 83. It’s just a great family sport and that’s what makes it so much fun.
“The facilities here are fantastic, there are 13 grass courts, seven hard courts and another three or four indoor courts. For me, it’s all about the community and people coming together and enjoying the sport.
“It’s nice to see so many people here for the Great British Tennis Weekend, where people can play tennis for free and there’s other weekends in June and August where you can do the same.”
Rusedski believes the future of British tennis is looking bright and said: “British tennis is going well, we’re close to having four men in the top 100 and Heather Watson is doing great, Laura Robson is starting to come back and there’s a lot of youngsters who are starting to come through.
“The future’s bright and it’s about making sure the right things are in place for them to have the best opportunities.”
West Worthing chairman William Naunton was delighted with how the day went and said: “It’s been a fantastic day, we’ve already had 24 new members and had around 750 people come down here and it’s been a real community atmosphere.
“We’re very grateful to the LTA for supporting us and particularly to Greg Rusedski for giving up so much of his day to come down here with his family and join in with us.
“We were expecting people to sign up until the end of May, so to have 24 sign up on the day was phenomenal.”
The club have waived joining fees until the end of May and new members will also get 12 months for the price of ten.
For more information, visit www.wwc.org.uk
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