This year at Wimbledon has already proved momentous for British tennis, with female player Heather Watson being the first British woman to get through to the third round for over a decade. She may have lost out to the third seed Agniezska Radwanska, but her achievements have nevertheless shone a light on the improving game of women’s tennis in Britain. But it’s not only Heather Watson we should be keeping our eye on! At JEM Tennis club in Southampton, two rising stars are venturing into the world of competitive tennis.
Jasmine Nash and Daisy Fox, aged 13 and 10 respectively, are now regularly competing in tournaments all over the south of England. “They’re improving their tennis and enjoying the competitive side too,” coach Colin Murphy told Club sponsor HugoFox.com. Both girls are now rated with LTA British Tennis, and Jasmine was also recently awarded Portsmouth Grammar School Player of the Year.
JEM Tennis is affiliated with the nationwide sports programme Us Girls, a ground-breaking initiative that encourages more girls to get involved in sport and to remain active throughout their teenage years. By providing fitness opportunities within local communities, the scheme aims to give girls easier access to sport, thus giving them a greater incentive to take up a new hobby and stick with it!
Both Jasmine and Daisy have become Us Girls Ambassadors, and are busy motivating other youngsters to try out their favourite sport. In their exemplary roles, the girls not only help out with JEM Tennis’s junior sessions, but also visit schools in order to introduce tennis to those who haven’t played it before, encouraging their peers to take up a racket and give it a shot! Though still young, Daisy and Jasmine have become great role models for other girls. And with their own sporting talent and enthusiasm for the game, it’s clear that they’re going to go far!
The Us Girls project is run by StreetGames, a charity that helps to improve access to sporting facilities and coaching in disadvantaged areas across the UK and which JEM Tennis is also affiliated with. Furthermore, the club has recently been accredited with LTA Beacon Status in recognition of the fun and affordable tennis experience that it offers the local community – thus becoming one of the first 75 park and community tennis sites to gain the meritable status.
Coach Colin Murphy is committed to making tennis accessible to all. As the club’s website declares, JEM Tennis’s philosophy is “to make everyone welcome regardless of age or ability and to break down the preconceptions of traditional tennis clubs by making tennis affordable and accessible.” So if you’re a Southampton local looking to try out a spot of tennis, why not give JEM Tennis a shot? Based in the impressive sports facility at Hamble Community Sports College, the club offers both adult and junior coaching on their four brand new tarmacadam tennis courts.
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