Your chances of bumping into one of the world’s top tennis players along Derby Road this summer have just gotten higher. This month, Nottingham will host official WTA and ATP events as part of an extended grass-court season. For us here at UoN, the best part is that all of the action will take place on our doorstep, a stone’s throw away from University Park campus.
What’s on offer?
Past the Trent Building and across the lake, the likes of 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, British number one Heather Watson, world number eight David Ferrer and this year’s French Open semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will grace the grass at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. The women’s tournament will be between 6-14 June and the men’s between 20-27 June as players aim to find their feet on the surface in time for Wimbledon on 29 June.
From just £5, students can grab tickets online to secure a seat in the stands. With exams done and a (hopefully) sunny Nottingham at your mercy, there won’t be many experiences better than a spot of summer tennis for you to enjoy so nearby.
Until then, though, the largest public tennis centre in the UK has much on offer. Eight indoor and 19 outdoor courts (four of which are floodlit) add to the manicured lawns, so there is plenty of space to practice and play whatever the weather. There is also plenty of time to play: the complex is open from 9am to 10pm on most days, but bear in mind the 6pm closing time on Saturdays.
Other facilities include a 60-station gym with a spin studio and steam room, as well as a clubhouse-cum-café overlooking the grounds, offering free Wi-Fi and a decent selection of hot and cold refreshments.
From just £5, students can grab tickets online to secure a seat in the stands
Open to the public, courts are mostly available on a pay-and-play basis. An hour of outdoor tennis would set you back £10 and an indoor session before 6pm costs £15 (£20 per hour afterwards). With immaculate international-size acrylic surfaces, it is worth the visit if only to improve on the experience of courts on campus. Each is fully fenced off from adjacent courts outside, and dividing nets inside mean you don’t have to go far to collect any wayward balls.
A range of classes and activities caters for different tastes to boot: Cardio Tennis, the tennis equivalent of Zumba, is on offer for £6 per hour three times a week. Earlybirds can catch Breakfast Tennis indoors at a reduced rate on certain weekdays, while Adult Social Nights provide an opportunity to meet new people and mix with players of a similar standard. Wheelchair tennis drills are also held on Sundays.
Expansion of the city’s tramline (no pun intended) past the Tennis Centre looks unlikely to be complete in time for this summer, though it is just a short walk away from campus. Those with a bicycle in Nottingham can use a cycle path that extends past University Park’s South Entrance and along University Boulevard, where the NTC is found. Bike racks are available while personal items can be stored in lockers inside. Drivers too have lots of parking space at their disposal.
So whether you want to develop your game in a professional environment, catch up with friends over tea and tennis or watch the world’s best this summer, the Nottingham Tennis Centre will serve up a treat.
Student tickets are available here for the WTA and ATP tournaments.
Images: Wikimedia Commons