Exeter park tennis thrives thanks to former grand slam player
Published: 26 July 2023
Wimbledon may have finished for another year but tennis is well and truly thriving in one Exeter park thanks to a former Grand Slam player.
The sport has recently gone from strength to strength on the City Council-owned courts at Heavitree Pleasure Ground.
One of the reason’s the courts are proving so popular is the driving force behind them, former Grand Slam and international player Penelope Moor.
Penelope has been instrumental in the success of the Tennis For Free (TFF) programme on the Heavitree courts, which sees up to 50 tennis players of all abilities turn up for the Saturday morning sessions.
In 2021 the sessions were rated the most popular in the country by the sports charity TFF.
In more recent times Penelope has grown participation at Heavitree by bringing in experienced coach Lee Burrell and his partner Tamzin Sherzad.
Lee and Tamzin have continued to grow the free TFF sessions on Saturday mornings but also put on adult summer coaching and kids holiday camps.
“They have built up a huge program in three months for the community and TFF numbers are still very high,” said Penelope.
Penelope herself has kept busy in the game and was recently invited by tennis legend Billie Jean King to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Tennis Association, otherwise known as the WTA, at Roland Garos in Paris, at the Wimbledon Championships and in London.
Penelope was one of the founding members of the WTA, which became instrumental in raising the profile of the women’s game and bringing about a better future for female players.
She said: “It was lovely meeting up again with Billie Jean and so many of the players I knew so well back on the circuit. It was great to reignite friendships and to reflect on the impact that she had on the game and inspiring female athletes for generations to come.”
Cllr Duncan Wood, Lead Councillor for Leisure Services and Physical Activity, said: “It’s great that so many people are getting involved in tennis at Heavitree, either through the Tennis For Free sessions, or some of the multitude of programmes that are being hosted on the City Council-owned courts .”
To find out more about more about Tennis For Free at Heavitree and all the other coaching opportunities and camps, visit the Heavitree Tennis Club website at https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/HeavitreePleasureGround