New elite tennis initiative in Bedford

Riverside Tennis Club's disability fun day
Riverside Tennis Club's disability fun day

Bedford could produce the next Andy Murray or Kyle Edmund thanks to a new initiative by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Riverside Tennis Club in Bedford, has been selected as a Local Player Development Centre as part of the LTA’s 10-year performance strategy for tennis in Britain.

The centres will be operational from September and will play an important part in developing the next generation of British tennis players.

The Bedford club is among 50 tennis centres across the country that will act as Local Player Development Centres (LPDCs), marking the next milestone in the development of the new strategy for tennis in Britain.

The new player pathway is designed to enable the best British players to train and compete regularly with one another at every stage of their development.

The centres will also provide an important first step on the clear route from beginners’ mini-red level tennis to major tournament success.

With the opening of the LPDC network, high potential junior players from the age of seven will receive support and opportunities to play the sport locally.

The new performance strategy is led by LTA performance director Simon Timson and aims to make Britain one of the most respected nations in the world for tennis player development.

He said: “We recognise one of the biggest challenges in creating a seamless development pathway for future British tennis champions is establishing high-quality, accessible playing centres for young children and getting them on to that player pathway from mini-red/mapping out a clear route from Mini-Red level onwards.

“Our new LPDCs are the first step on the pathway that will give aspiring future champions the opportunity to progress to regional player development centres and onto national academies.

“It’s our ambition to make Britain one of the most respected nations in the world for player development.

“LPDCs will provide inspiring coaching to kindle young players’ passion for tennis and nurture their potential as people, players and performers.

“These exciting training environments will help children fulfil their potential and progress to the regional stage of our pathway for champions.”

Among the other planned tennis centres are Buckinghamshire, Corby, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Scotland, and Wales.