Andy Murray’s former coach serves up ‘Tennis on the Thames’ for youngsters

Andy Murray’s former coach serves up ‘Tennis on the Thames’ for youngsters 1024 683 Henman Communications

As Wimbledon today starts in earnest, David Lloyd Leisure and Andy Murray’s former coach, Mark Petchey, served up a historical moment by bringing tennis to the Thames for the first time on Saturday, June 27th.

The pop-up coaching clinic, which aims to encourage more children to take up tennis, saw several hundred youngsters and adults pick up a racquet at London’s South Bank.

The clinic, hosted by Mark, was the final leg of a nationwide, pre-Wimbledon tour by the UK’s leading tennis provider, David Lloyd Leisure, which took in primary schools in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Mark, who is also a Sky Sports tennis commentator, said:

“David Lloyd Leisure are all about participation in tennis and one of the ways you do that is by getting kids involved and inspired. On this pop-up coaching tour, we have seen incredible enthusiasm.”

“Kids want to be inspired and if you can put a racquet in their hand, then they can see for themselves that they are good at it.

A lot of children have been surprised by their own ability, so hopefully the follow-through from these events will continue in the long run.

Even if they aren’t the next Andy Murray or Laura Robson, one thing tennis does is keep you fit and that’s obviously a huge advantage of the sport and something that parents should also encourage.”

The nationwide clinics featured the innovative REBOwall, which was predominantly designed for school playgrounds too small for a full-sized tennis court. It includes an adjustable rebound surface, which is angled to give a natural flight to the ball.

Mark demonstrated the REBOwall during the London clinic, supported by tennis coaches from David Lloyd Clubs Raynes Park and Finchley, who also showcased David Lloyd Leisure’s Tennis All Stars programme which sees 12,500 youngsters across the country playing tennis each week.

David Lloyd Leisure group racquets manager, David Bulgin, said:

“This roadshow with Mark provides a snapshot of what we do on a regular basis in our clubs – whether children end up on our All Stars programme or playing in a park, at least we’ve got them into the sport. We have a big role to play in encouraging kids to get active.”

David Lloyd Leisure’s summer tennis drive includes hosting the LTA’s Great British Tennis Weekend 2015, with the final weekend on August 1-2. The group has also launched the LTA initiative, Tennis Tuesdays, at its racquets clubs in the London, Birmingham, Greater Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff areas to inspire more women to get on court to improve their game, while keeping fit, having fun and meeting like-minded people.

David Lloyd Leisure and First News are teaming up to offer all schools across the UK the opportunity to win the £5000-worth REBOwall after its tour. To enter the competition and for further information, visit

To watch Mark’s journey on the tour watch the videos below: