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New providers to open up 'best venue in the country'
TENNIS hopefuls in Bucks will have a pathway from school sessions to centre court.
This is the mission statement for Living Tennis, which became sole tennis provider at Bisham Abbey on Tuesday under the guidance of Martin Lee and Jamie and Paul Delgado.
They believe their package covers all bases and will provide an opportunity for every level of player at any age.
Paul Delgado said: “This is an entry point for all levels of players. This certainly isn’t just a high performance venue.
“My passion is very much community tennis. Lots of traditional clubs are doing great jobs, but waiting lists because of a lack of facilities are something I really hate.
“There is almost an embarrassment of riches here and we wanted to involve the community in a great venue like this, offering top to bottom coaching.”
Apart from all the gym facilities, Bisham offers four full size indoor courts, four clay and four hard courts.
That’s an awful lot of court time every week and Living Tennis say they have the freedom to maximise what they have.
Delgado said: “We think we’ve got the best venue in the country and we want to do it our way. We’ve got our own beliefs about what it takes to be a top player and we have the freedom to do it.
“It’s not just about court time. It’s about mental and physical sessions and thinking out of the box.
“We’ve come in as sole providers, which means no other tennis provider can use these courts. That means we can maximise this potential.”
Adult courses began at Bisham on Tuesday for the first time while Living Tennis also has a full house of age-group courses, starting at just three years old with the Little Hitters.
Delgado said: “That’s the beginning of the pyramid. Then we’ve got our reds which are 4-6 year olds, oranges are 7-10, greens 11-13, juniors 14-18. Then it progresses into the adult programme.
“So there really is an entry point for all ages.”
All ages, and all levels, with the most talented and ambitious players to come through the system progressing into the academy run by Jamie Delgado and Lee.
Paul Delgado said: “We’ve got the four levels, what we call the Living Tennis pathway.
“We start with standard coaching which is open to all, then as soon as they move up to another level they can move up to development.
“Then there is the junior academy, which is for students in full time academy that access this venue for about five to ten hours a week. It’s for keener players that are county and national ranked players who really need to play three or four times a week.
“Then we’ve then got the pro academy, which is a full time academy and the players live on site.”
Living Tennis has also formed links with a number of surrounding schools, with a huge team of coaches putting more than 600 pupils through their paces at after school camps every week.
But this is just week one.
Living Tennis want to encourage more schools to get involved, their full range of clinics don’t start until September and sometime before then they’re hoping to attract some of the biggest names in British tennis to their official open day.
Delgado said: “We start with a clean slate.
“We think this is the best venue in the country and come September it will be full from top to bottom.
“We’ve got the grassroots and we’ve got the team to deliver a high level performance tennis.
“We’re here until 2020 with an option to extend that, and we believe we can attract the very best.”