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Industry News – June 2024

AGM and Summer Social

A reminder that our AGM and Summer Social takes place at the National Tennis Centre, Roehampton on Thursday July 4th. Sasha Badrock, LTA Coach Accreditation and Engagement Manager has kindly agreed to do a Q+A on coaches and coaching following the conclusion of the AGM and a buffet lunch will be served. Some members will then travel to Wimbledon to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some tennis, courtesy of the LTA

Peter Risdon

Peter Risdon

Peter John Risdon died peacefully at St George’s Hospital on 8 June at the age of 78, after struggling with illness since early February. A former stockbroker and director of BZW UK Equities Limited, he was involved with tennis for most of his life, primarily as a player, umpire and volunteer club official.

He took a two-year break from the City in 1982 to manage Lew Hoad’s Campo de Tenis in Spain, and opted for early retirement in 1997, concentrating his efforts on Celebrity Tennis, a consultancy he was the driving force behind forming, as well as at Woodfield Grove Tennis Club in Streatham, south London, where he served as Chairman for some 35 years.

Peter served as Treasurer of the Tennis Industry Association UK, representing Celebrity Tennis, having first joined the management committee of the TIA UK Board in 2000 and was appointed Treasurer a year later, a role he diligently fulfilled until 2012 when the association was restructured. A great supporter of the TIA UK over many years, he will be missed by many involved in the association.

Peter’s obituary can be read here

A new grass court calendar for 2025

During the past two years the LTA in consultation with the All England Club have been reviewing the entire grass court season with the intention of improving the experience for fans and players. The purpose of the review has been to raise the profile and visibility of tennis in Britain during the run up to The Championships at Wimbledon.

The plans will offer more fans the opportunity to watch professional tennis, particularly women’s tennis, both live and on television, whilst ensuring that there are the same number of playing opportunities for British and overseas players across the four-week period.

The new calendar of professional events for 2025 was unveiled last month and will:

  • See high profile events at the start of the season to ensure maximum visibility for tennis
  • Promote women’s tennis to a larger audience and raise its profile
  • Ensure every tournament venue will host both male and female events

Changes to the 2025 grass court schedule:

The 2025 grass court season will launch with a combined challenger level event at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham in the week of 2 June. It will be the first male and female combined event in professional tennis history in Birmingham.

The following week will see the return of a tour level women’s event in London for the first time in over 50 years, as The Queen’s Club plays host to a high-profile WTA 500 event. The traditional combined challenger level event at Ilkley will also take place this week. The exact classification of these challenger events will be confirmed in the coming months.  

The week of 16 June will see Queen’s host its hugely popular men’s ATP 500 tournament in the usual slot. Alongside this, the Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre will host its women’s WTA 250 event and a men’s ATP 125 Challenger event.

The final week of the season before The Championships will see Devonshire Park in Eastbourne host a combined women’s and men’s WTA/ATP 250 in its traditional week, as players head to the coast before making their final preparations for a trip to Wimbledon.

The changes mean the mixed event in Surbiton, south-west London, will come to an end after 2024. The LTA would like to place on record its thanks to the Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club for their longstanding help in hosting this event.    

The arrangements for the 2025 British Open Wheelchair event will be confirmed closer to the time.

Chris Pollard, LTA Director of Major Events and Digital, said: “This new calendar is an important step in increasing the visibility of our sport, particularly the women’s game. The changes mean we can deliver a high-profile women’s tour event in London for the first time in half a century. This will kick start interest in the sport at the beginning of the grass court season, meaning more public exposure for tennis in Britain, and more opportunities to inspire the next generation. We are committed to protecting the geographical spread of our grass court venues and every venue will now host both men’s and women’s tennis, meaning more chances for fans to watch British players in action closer to them.”

The LTA and The Queen’s Club have been working closely together on plans to bring the Women’s event to the historic venue, and this work will continue over the coming year as arrangements for the 2025 season are finalised. The tournament’s temporary infrastructure will remain in place for a two-week period allowing for better usage from the investment in it.

Independent research and experience from other venues (including The Championships, Wimbledon) confirms that the grass will continue to offer an excellent playing surface in the second week at The Queen’s Club. 

2025 grass court season calendar

w/c 2 JuneBirmingham – Edgbaston Priory ClubMen’s and women’s Challenger level events
w/c 9 JuneLondon – The Queen’s ClubWTA 500
Ilkley – Ilkley Lawn Tennis ClubMen’s and women’s Challenger level events
w/c 16 JuneLondon – The Queen’s ClubATP 500
Nottingham – Lexus Nottingham Tennis CentreWTA 250 & ATP 125
w/c 23 JuneEastbourne – Devonshire ParkWTA 250 & ATP 250
w/c 30 JuneWimbledon – The ChampionshipsGrand Slam
Source: LTA News – May 2024
State of the UK Fitness Industry Report 2024

State of the UK Fitness Industry Report 2024

Leisure Database’s State of the Fitness Industry Report for 2024 is now available to read at no cost, made possible through the support of Leisure DB’s partners. This invaluable resource offers a wealth of information, covering critical statistics such as membership figures, market growth and emerging trends. The extensive overview emphasises the dynamic nature of the fitness industry in contributing to public health and wellbeing

City Hall to make a decision on tweaked Wimbledon expansion plans next month

City Hall will make a decision on plans to more than treble the size of the Wimbledon championship’s grounds next month following a series of amendments to the scheme by lead architect Allies & Morrison. The London mayor’s office has provided the first major update on the 73-acre scheme since its planning application was called in by deputy mayor Jules Pipe in January.

Although approved by Merton council last October, it was rejected by Wandsworth council the following month due to concerns over the use of metropolitan open land on the site. The scheme spans both local authority areas and approval from both councils was required for it to go ahead.

Allies & Morrison has now submitted revised plans for the site following talks with the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London and Historic England which aim to address some of Wandsworth council’s concerns. It is understood that Pipe will hold a full public hearing on the amendments at the end of July or early August. It follows a public consultation which closed on 8 June.

Wandsworth council, which covers the northern 10% of the site, had voted to back its planning officers’ recommendation that the scheme constituted “inappropriate development” and would cause “substantial harm to the openness” of the public land.

Changes to the former application include removing some sections of the north eastern boundary fence between the golf club and the neighbouring Wimbledon Park to create new public connections into the park. An estate rail between the southern part of the site would also be realigned and landscape improvements would be provided extending into Wimbledon Park.

Planning consultant Rolfe Judd Planning said the revisions would increase the scheme’s area of publicly accessible parkland from 9.4ha to 11.1ha. The firm said that while the proposed amendments would constitute only minor changes to the layout of the parklands, they would “deliver further significant public benefits”.

Wimbledon Park and its neighbouring golf course are the only remnants of a much larger estate which was landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Both are grade II*-listed and included in Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register due to the separate land ownership and the absence of a common landscape management approach. Rolfe Judd said that by removing parts of the boundary between the two sites there would be the opportunity to extend the Brown-inspired landscape into the existing Wimbledon Park, providing additional heritage benefits.

The AELTC is currently the only grand slam tournament which is unable to host qualifying rounds on its own grounds due to the constricted nature of its existing site. The GLA’s stage two report has said the expansion plans would “enhance London’s global competitiveness by promoting and supporting one of its key cultural assets”. It added: “The proposals would deliver significant benefits through the new public park, boardwalk, de-silting of Wimbledon Park Lake, a range of off-site enhancements to Wimbledon Park, as well as other community and public benefits.”

The plans for the site also include seven new maintenance buildings and a pedestrian bridge crossing Wimbledon Park Lake, which would be altered and expanded with a de-culverted channel running through part of the parkland alongside the new tennis courts.

Article courtesy of Building Design – 20 June – www.bdonline.co.uk