AEGON GB Davis Cup team players James Ward and Alex Ward today took time out from preparations for this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas clash against Turkey to visit Gildredge Park in Eastbourne and see for themselves how tennis is changing within local parks.
The British duo will join Jamie Baker, Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II tie which will take place on the grass courts of Devonshire Park in Eastbourne from 9-11 July. The winners of the tie will remain in the current group and avoid relegation to Europe Zone Group III.
Alex Ward from Northampton and Londoner James Ward both enjoyed having a hit with local juniors and seeing how tennis is thriving in flagship park sites such as Gildredge Park to enable more people to get involved in tennis.
Britain’s number four, James Ward who along with Jamie Baker will represent Great Britain in the singles matches said:
“We need places like Tennis in the Park to get more young people playing tennis. This facility is great, the coaches are really enthusiastic and they really want the kids to enjoy themselves and do well and they make it fun which is really important at such a young age.”
Alex Ward who is enjoying a career high world ranking as well as his first experience within the AEGON GB Davis Cup team added:
“So many kids love sport so it's great to have a facility like this run by good people. It's a great environment and key to ensure more people get to take up tennis.”
The draw for Britain's Davis Cup match will take place on Thursday 8th July. Speaking ahead of the tie, James Ward said:
“I'm looking forward to it. Preparations have been going really well. I played and won at Manchester last week so it was nice to get five matches under my belt on the grass. I've played the Turkish number one twice this year already and beaten him both times. Obviously it's not a given that I'll win again but I'm confident that I can win this one and with the home support it will be a really great tie.”
Team mate Alex Ward added:
It's been a great couple of days. We got here a last night and it's been a lot of fun – there's a great atmosphere in the team. It was a nice surprise to get the call about me having been selected for Davis Cup. Leon Smith had mentioned to me that maybe one day I'd get the chance but I had no idea it would be as imminent this. It's such a great feeling. It's a great honour to represent your country in anything and it's the highlight of my career so far to have made this team.”
Gildredge Park was recently awarded beacon site status by the Tennis Foundation in recognition of their high quality, affordable community tennis programmes. They have been selected for the accolade along with 44 other Beacon sites across the country and are one of the first community sites to achieve the status, which recognises the best community-focused facilities, as part of AEGON Parks Tennis.
Francis Mackie who manages Tennis in the Park as part of Eastbourne Community Tennis said:
“It’s been absolutely brilliant to have James and Alex come and join us. You’d certainly never expect the British Davis Cup team to be playing on our courts so it’s been a real treat.”
AEGON Parks Tennis aims to increase community access to tennis in parks and communities nationwide. Led by the Tennis Foundation and supported by the LTA, AEGON Parks Tennis is a key programme in British tennis’ drive to increase participation and grow tennis at all levels. The long-term aim is to have one beacon site acting as a centre of community tennis excellence in each of the 442 local authorities in Britain.
For the latest news on Davis Cup visit www.lta.org.uk/daviscup<http://www.lta.org.uk/daviscup>. Tickets are available by calling 0871 6204029 or 0844 4124650 for group bookings of eight or more. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.seetickets.com/daviscup<http://www.seetickets.com/daviscup>.
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