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Can't get to Wimbledon? Watch the action on Clapham Common

by Sarah Edworthy
Thursday 5 July 2012

Are you inspired by Murray, Federer, Serena, Victoria and Co to refine your game? Or longing to dust off your racket and remember how to play tennis? Are you a beginner looking for more practice? Or simply trying to find a way of playing more often? Do you want to get fit through tennis? Inculcate your children in the joys of the sport? Or meet your match and find love on the court?

No one can say the Wimbledon website doesn’t try to offer everything! We would like to announce that this week, allplay tennis - the national campaign run by the Lawn Tennis Association to help more people play tennis - hosts its first ever allplay tennis park on Clapham Common, South London. The courts will open daily for all ages and all abilities from 10am to 9pm until July 8th. All the action from The Championships at Wimbledon will be shown on The Big Screen for the ultimate in audio-visual inspiration. So roll up for tennis coaching, speed dating, children’s entertainment and cardio tennis. Entry is free, with no advanced booking or ticket required, and there will be a wide range of activities to get involved in whether you’re a keen ball-basher, a fan or completely new to the game.

Everybody has the chance to hold a racket from young kids through to adults. Here’s how:

You can play tennis and improve your game with organised coaching sessions.

You can try the new fitness craze of Cardio Tennis - a series of tennis-based drills and activities played to up-tempo music to create a high-energy atmosphere on a tennis court. It’s not about groundstrokes or volleys, it’s all about keeping up the heart rate, burning calories and having fun. Whether the ball goes in or out is irrelevant as the main purpose is to warm-up, then move, bend and stretch in a cardio workout, before a well-deserved cool down.

You can see if sparks fly on and off the court TONIGHT by joining up to 20 like-minded people with a round of Tennis Speed Dating courtesy of www.speeddater.co.uk. Would-be tennis lovers must meet at the courts, ready to play, in trainers. A SpeedDater Host hands out name badges, helps make introductions and ensures contact details are shared! The SpeedTennis event works in a round robin contest with each date’s game lasting six minutes. Ladies stay on the same court and gents move on to their next head-to-head on the ringing of a bell. For a more intimate encounter, the Hosts will put on touch tennis using reduced sized courts, foam balls and smaller racket heads. This form of the game allows you to size up your opponent better.

You can replicate Wimbledon’s garden-party atmosphere with high-quality street food from the Well Kneaded Food van, picnic on a vintage afternoon tea courtesy of Jam & Tea, Simply Ice Cream and Big Apple Hot Dogs.

You can make it a big family day out, and have the kids happily occupied and entertained with LTA Mini Tennis, Playball and the fabulous children’s party entertainers from Once Upon a Parachute.

The allplay campaign was set up last year as a way of making it easier for people to play tennis via an online community at www.allplaytennis.com and now has over 10,000 members, who can find someone to play with and somewhere to play. LTA chief executive Roger Draper said: “It’s going to be a fun five-day event where people can go down to Clapham Common and enjoy tennis – whether it’s playing or watching the sport. There will be plenty going on there so I would encourage people to go along and find out how much fun tennis can be for all the family.”

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