When sports journalists are scrambling for adequate superlatives to describe yet another French Open victory for Rafa Nadal (twelve!) and medical bulletins on Andy Murray’s fitness become a daily occurrence, you know Wimbledon is just around the corner.
That means it’s also time for Swindon’s amateur enthusiasts to dust off their tennis whites and string their rackets for another season playing the quintessentially summer sport.
Whatever your preferred sport, Swindon is blessed with a fabulous range of facilities and tennis courts are no exception - so here is the lowdown on where to go for all that driving, lobbing, volleying and smashing, whether you’re a budding Roger Federer/Serena Williams or a player who enjoys proceedings at a more sedate pace.
Swindon Tennis Club is a friendly club based in the heart of Swindon at St Mark’s Recreational Ground. For more than 80 years it’s been welcoming players of all ages, abilities and nationalities. So whether you’re looking to meet new people and have some fun or are interested in playing competitively in the local league, there’s something for everyone. The facilities at St Mark’s were part of a huge redevelopment programme in 2015, which included 10 new hard courts (4 with floodlights), a 4 mini tennis zone and a new pavilion and community café. James Deem, LTA regional tennis participation manager, says: "This is one of the best public tennis facilities in the country." www.swindontennisclub.org
The Delta Tennis Centre welcomes players of all abilities from beginners to seasoned players. It runs a varied programme throughout the year, from junior tennis to adult leagues or first-class tuition with LTA qualified coaches. There is something for every tennis enthusiast and with no memberships the facilities are open to all. Delta has four air-conditioned indoor courts and three outdoor tennis courts (two of which are floodlit). It is also home to Wiltshire Tennis Academy. www.better.org.uk
The David Lloyd Tennis Club is a vibrant tennis community, with lots of social events and plenty of players of all abilities, so it's easy to find new people to play. It runs social tennis sessions, box leagues and has teams competing in local leagues so there’s something for casual players and serious competitors alike. Its terrific instructors give group lessons, one-to-one coaching and classes such as cardio tennis, so you can get the support you need to brush up on your technique. And if you want your kids to learn some new skills and a great new sport, sign them up for Tennis All Stars, a coaching programme for 3-11 year olds, taught by expert coaches and endorsed by the Lawn Tennis Association. www.davidlloyd.co.uk
Chiseldon Tennis Club has 3 newly constructed outdoor courts, all of which are floodlit and fully accessible to wheelchairs. It’s an LTA affiliated club and TennisMark accredited. A friendly and social club, it welcomes members of all abilities and ages. For members seeking competitive play, it has a number of men’s, ladies and mixed teams in various divisions of the Swindon and District League. Its coaching team provide a wide variety of lessons to suit all ages and abilities including children, juniors, adults and cardio tennis. www.clubspark.lta.org.uk
Other smaller, public facilities can be found at Town Garden Tennis Courts in Quarry Road (3 courts), Blunsdon Tennis Courts in Limley Road (3 courts), and Goddard Avenue Tennis Courts in Goddard Avenue (one court). All-sport recreational facilities that include tennis can be found at Croft Sports Centre in Marlborough Lane, Oasis Leisure Centre in North Star Avenue and Dorcan Recreation Complex in St Paul’s Drive. Just outside Swindon are Highworth Tennis Club, a private club with 5 courts, and Cricklade Tennis club, another private club with one court.