TENNIS club chiefs hope that youngsters will follow in Andy Murray’s gold medal-winning footsteps and pick up a racket.
Hartlepool Lawn Tennis Club has already seen a rise in interest in the sport due to the Olympics, but say Andy Murray winning the gold medal in the men’s singles will further boost interest.
Tony Synott, club secretary, said: “Everyone keeps saying about the Olympic legacy, but I think Murray winning at the Olympics really will bring in new blood to the sport.
“We’ve seen a big surge already and hope that will continue.”
In the mixed doubles, Murray and partner Laura Robson missed out on gold, but still took home an impressive silver.
Tony added: “It’s a great achievement and good result for Laura – hopefully it will encourage some younger girls to try tennis. There’s always been a disproportionate amount of boys, and it would be great to even the balance a little.”
It comes as youngsters from Hartlepool have been getting into tennis at a series of summer holiday sessions.
The club has started running the twice-weekly lessons on Wednesdays and Fridays at their Granville Avenue courts.
Junior coach Tom Rayner hopes the sessions will encourage new members into the sport.
He said: “It would be great to discover the next Andy Murray. We reopened the junior team this year, and have about 25 youngsters from five to 16, of various standards.”
One of the club’s most promising members is Jacob Clyburn, 13, who is now playing league tennis after working his way up the local rankings.
Jacob said: “I’ve been playing for a few years now. I came along to a practice session, and it went from there.
“I’ve been to Tennis World tournaments in Middlesbrough and Sunderland Tennis Centre quite a lot, and i’m gradually getting better.”
“I love tennis because there’s a real mix - fitness and ability joined into one.”
The summer sessions run every Wednesday and Friday from 12.30pm throughout the school holidays. They cost £2 and are open to people of any ability, with no experience needed.
For more information call Mr Rayner on 07713 267900.