Can Tennis Survive?
Wimbledon always produces a spike in participation of tennis.
However, the participation often falls as quickly as it rises.
This is because tennis is not an easily accessible sport, if you want to play you have to pay.
Football is one of the most popular sports because anybody can kick a ball around in their back garden.
Whereas in order to play tennis, specialist equipment is needed.
Bassett Lawn Tennis Club is a membership only club, which means just to use a court and hire the balls you must commit to a year-long contract costing over £200.
Charlie Bennetts, a member of Bassett LTC and Elite Coaching, believes in order for the sport to grow something needs to be done.
“Tennis needs to help itself and allow people to get involved for a much cheaper price.”
“I was lucky enough to get into tennis at a young age, I now get to coach the next generation but each year, Bassett get less new faces through the door.”
Bassett LTC is not the only tennis court in Southampton, just a mile down the road Atherley court is available to residents only.
The lonely court stares at the occupied houses waiting for just two players to pick up a racket.
If the padlock was opened would more people be interested in participating.
Bennetts reckons that it is worth trying to make tennis more available to attract a larger following.
I think if the space was there and free, more people would get involved.
When you watch Wimbledon it inspires you to pick up a racket, you expect to have to buy equipment but then to pay over £200 it just puts you off.
Should tennis be more accessible to the public or is the sport right to exclude those who cannot pay.