FANS of Olympic champion Andy Murray will be able to follow in their hero’s footsteps by practising their serve in Thornbury's two brand new tennis courts next month.
After a long-running campaign to refurbish two of its most damaged courts, Thornbury Tennis Club finally declared victory last week when it was awarded a total of £25,000 for the repairs by Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET) and Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB).
Renovation work is already well underway. The cracked tarmac has been taken up and new surfaces are currently being layed.
The material will take approximately one month to settle. Only then will the courts be marked and opened to players.
Committee member Steve Wells said the courts, which are leased to the club by Thornbury Town Council, would be dedicated to junior coaching.
"The courts badly needed resurfacing, so we approached ICET and CETB to see if they could help. We were delighted when they awarded us £15,000 and £10,000 respectively.
"The courts’ surfaces are cracking up, particularly around the base line where some of the tarmac has clearly begun to disintegrate."
The club has six courts altogether. Although the remaining four are up to standard, the two in question had become "unsafe and unplayable" over the years, according to Mr Wells.
Since the recent victory of a certain Andy Murray, children’s enthusiasm for the sport has increased tenfold, hence the club’s decision to allocate two courts to its growing junior contingent.
"We normally get a surge of interest around Wimbledon, but this has been more sustained since Andy Murray took gold at the Olympics and then went on to win silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson," Mr Wells said.
"Also, Andy’s magnificent and long-awaited triumph at the US Open has reinforced this increased interest in the game and as a club we are keen to capture some of this enthusiasm."
He added: "We are looking forward to being able to encourage more juniors to play tennis, and hone their skills on the new courts. They are the future of the game and there may be a future Andy Murray or Laura Robson in our midst."