There are more top quality tennis courts in London than ever before, thanks to funding from the LTA, Sport England, and London Borough Councils. In addition, there are some great organisations who run public tennis courts - such as AllStarTennis , Will to Win, and Lifetime Tennis – the last two provide tennis coaching and tournaments as well.
Some of the very best tennis courts in London include those at Regents Park tennis centre, Hyde Park, and Queens Park.
However, there are still too many poor quality tennis courts in London which are in need of repair and better management. Here are the main complaints:
1. Poor court surface
I remember one tennis court in Putney whose tarmac surface was so patchy that it felt like playing tennis on the surface of the moon. Bad bounces occurred every third time the ball hit the court. It was unplayable. More funding needed for tennis court resurfacing in some London Boroughs!
Another problem, more easily rectified, is moss on tennis courts which can make the court surface slippery and dangerous. Ask the council to apply moss-killer or scrape the surface clean.
2. Broken tennis nets
Whether it’s nets with holes, nets which won’t wind up to proper height, or sagging net-posts, it’s really frustrating to turn up and find broken tennis nets. This is much cheaper and quicker to repair than a bad tennis court surface, so report any broken nets to your Borough Council.
3. Holes and gaps in the perimeter fence
It really slows down a game of tennis when your balls roll under the back fence and into the surrounding park, usually to be gobbled up by a passing dog. Saliva-covered tennis balls are not fun to play with. Again, report broken fences to the council and see how fast they repair them.
4. Litter, leaves, branches, and dog poo
Regular cleaning of tennis courts is neglected in some parks, which is really frustrating when you want to play. Sure, it’s tough in the autumn when leaves and branches are falling all the time, but it’s a safety-issue when leaves get wet and slimy, so councils should clear them regularly.
5. Fading lines
It helps to be able to see the baseline, service-line, and tramlines from the other end of the court, so you can see where you’re aiming and whether your ball landed in. There are probably hundreds of tennis courts in London which need their lines re-painting.
6. Phone booking lines which go unanswered
If you want to book a tennis court in London over the phone, it always helps if there’s someone at the other end of the phone, or at least an automated message with information. I’ve lost count of the number of phone booking lines which ring and ring and ring.
The state of our tennis courts in London will only improve if we complain, so if you come across any of the above, find out who runs that court and let them know.
About the author of this blog: Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and a keen tennis player.