The story of Fletcher Moss Tennis Club’s revival begins back in summer 2013 with Andy Murray winning his much anticipated first Wimbledon title. 55 year old Chris Keaney’s son was feeling inspired and wanted to hit the courts. Chris grew up in Didsbury and had spent many childhood hours on the tennis courts at Fletcher Moss & Fog Lane Park. With his son in tow, Chris headed down to see if the courts were open. Upon arriving at Fletcher Moss, Chris and his son were stunned to find that the courts were derelict, covered in weeds and even without nets up in the aftermath of the first men’s Wimbledon title in 77 years.
Astonished by his findings, Chris contacted the park directly. His enquiry prompted the park to put up one net as a starting point and with growing demand this quickly progressed to 2 nets. With the help of his wife, Susan (now Head Coach at Fletcher Moss Tennis Club), Chris founded a volunteer group to revamp the tired shale courts. The team got straight to work scraping the courts clean, de-weeding and fixing the fencing. Their hard work was rewarded, as yet more locals started to gravitate towards the park courts. As Fletcher Moss’ became ever more popular with local players, Chris, also a qualified tennis coach, gave up his time to run free coaching and social tennis sessions.
Having proven that demand for tennis at Fletcher Moss Park was there, Susan and Chris realised that they needed to attract funding if they were to improve the site further. They decided to form a club in order to establish the venue as a permanent part of the community. A windfall investment, matched by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), gave the green light to a £260,000 refurbishment project. Fletcher Moss Tennis Club now boasts 4 outdoor all-weather floodlit courts, over 80 members, a junior and adult coaching programme run by Susan and various teams representing the club in the Manchester tennis leagues. The courts will also soon be available for the public to use on a ‘pay and play’ basis, thanks to the installation of a new access gate and online booking system.
Of Fletcher Moss Tennis Club’s story, Chris said: ‘I must confess Susan and I are both tennis nutters! You’d have to be a bit crazy to take on a project like this but we feel really proud looking at the thriving club today and thinking that 4 or 5 years ago there was nothing’.
Regional Tennis Participation Manager for the LTA in Manchester, Sam Foakes added: ‘The success of Fletcher Moss Tennis Club really shows what is possible. If you get the right people and the right model you really can get more people playing tennis’.
And here is where the story comes full circle, as Fletcher Moss recently welcomed top coach (and mother of Andy!) Judy Murray for the northern launch of her She Rallies programme. She Rallies, is a new girls-only tennis programme designed by Judy Murray with the aim of encouraging more women and girls to play tennis. As a She Rallies Ambassador, Fletcher Moss’ Susan joined Judy for the event, helping to deliver training to local She Rallies volunteers and running a fun recreational competition for local teenage girls.
Anyone who is interested in getting involved in tennis at Fletcher Moss or would like to book a court can visit www.fletchermosstennis.net or contact Chris & Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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