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Exciting event . . . North Otago Tennis president Josh Dalziel is looking forward to hosting a Love Tennis event to attract more people to the sport at the Chelmer St courts this weekend. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

An ace opportunity for tennis enthusiasts to pick up a racket and hit the court is coming to Oamaru this weekend.

Love Tennis is a nationwide initiative of Tennis New Zealand to attract more players and popularise the sport across the country. It is the first year North Otago Tennis is taking part.

President Josh Dalziel said it was a great social event for the organisation to “leapfrog” on to.

“It’s a have a go, sign up, social opening .. and hopefully attract more people to the sport and there will be lots of fun activities,” Dalziel said.

There would be targets set up for people to hit on the courts and speed guns to measure the pace of athletes’ serves.

Professional coach Steve Dries would be on hand to provide assistance on Saturday, and club members would coach on Sunday.

The event was open for all ages, from “young squirts” to the elderly, he said.

The organisation boasted between 120 and 150 registered players, but only 50 of them were junior players, including those in the Hot Shots programme.

Senior tennis was strong but the organisation wanted to attract more junior numbers than in the past, and was working on introducing more programmes structured for the younger players.

More than 100 junior players were required for a proper competitive competition and it was hoped more players would register after the event, he said.

Love Tennis will run from 1pm to 4pm tomorrow and Sunday, at the Chelmer St courts.