Tennis: Dream starts for juniors as Jonny returns for ‘home’ tournaments

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The dream of competing in front of a Wimbledon crowd may have started for some city youngsters last weekend at Hallamshire Tennis Club.

Almost a 100 junior players attended the club’s launch of its academy to the delight of head coach David Marray.

Junior tennis players are shown the basics of the sport

Junior tennis players are shown the basics of the sport

And with the sport’s grass-court season now in full swing with tournament’s in London for the men and Birmingham for women ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on June 24, it was the perfect time to see what the next generation of players had to offer.

The launch of the academy was part of a wider open day at the Ecclesall Road club.

Marray, older brother of Wimbledon doubles champion Jonny, said: “The club open day was a lot of fun and a great way to launch our tennis academy.

“We had a lot of kids here and adults of all ages and standards.

“Everyone had a great time and hopefully we’ll see people back down here again regardless of their standard.”

Activities took place throughout the day with mini tennis clinics from the age of three to nine and specific ‘tennis-fit’ sessions for juniors and adults.

Meanwhile at the professional end of the sport Jonny Marray said he is looking forward to the ‘home’ part of the ATP World Tour which sees him competing at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club in London this week.

Marray then may play in the Aegon International in Eastbourne next week before beginning the defence of his Wimbledon title at the All England Club with partner Colin Fleming.

He said that despite winning a grand slam event with Denmark’s Freddie Nielsen last year his experiences in the Davis Cup in April have also been a highlight.

“My life hasn’t been too different since, I’ve been as busy as I always am,” he said.

“I do a lot of travelling and I go to tournaments all around the world. In a global sense, people probably aren’t aware of who I am.

“Coming to Wimbledon, there’s nothing better than having the crowd behind you. British fans always do that, but when you’re competing as a team there’s something extra.

“You spend the largest part of your year in a bubble and every now and then it’s nice to be in a team environment.”