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Local Tennis Leagues a hit at Highbury Fields

PUBLISHED: 13:39 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:39 21 September 2017

Local Tennis Leagues are aimed at giving casual players a more competitive, but friendly, playing environment, without having the expense of joining a club

Local Tennis Leagues are aimed at giving casual players a more competitive, but friendly, playing environment, without having the expense of joining a club

Archant

A city worker who has played in Local Tennis Leagues in north London believes the scheme is the perfect way to escape the demands of a busy working lifestyle.

Sam Gruen emigrated to the UK from Paris seven years ago and has played in the LTA-organised leagues in Haringey, Highbury Fields, Waterlow Park and New River.

Local Tennis Leagues is a nationwide initiative aimed at over-18s who use public parks and facilities and want to play friendly, competitive tennis.

Designed to create a unique experience of mixed-sex singles and doubles matches, as well as women’s-only leagues, the Local Tennis Leagues operate in all areas of the UK. After signing up, players create an online account and receive contact details of their opponents to schedule matches, as well as regular updates, reminders and incentives.

And for Gruen, a former fencer, competing in a local league has allowed him to meet new people in a friendly, competitive environment.

“I’ve been playing tennis for years and years and when I moved to the UK, I wanted to keep up with it,” he said.

“I’ve made a bunch of friends through the league and the games we play are more of a friendly nature than overly competitive – but they’re still focused on tennis which is a good thing.

“It’s super easy to organise matches with other opponents through the online system.”

The LTA is investing more than £125 million in public access tennis, renewing public courts, and ventures like Local Tennis Leagues have helped changed perceptions of tennis.

And Gruen, 27, values the practicality of turning up to play in his local competition, the fifth division of the Highbury League, adding: “I’ve played people of different nationalities. The leagues are easy to get to because they’re all over the city, I’d like to play in more grassroots competitions to boost my LTA ranking.”

*The next round of the Highbury Fields Tennis League starts on November 16. See localtennisleagues.com/highburyfields and sign up before November 13. The rounds lasts eight weeks and cost £18 to join, but get 20 per cent off the next round with promo code Save-P20.

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