Ideal chance to lob along to play tennis

Aced it . . . Looking forward to the North Otago Love Tennis this weekend are (from left) junior representative Robin Jamieson, players Jackson Stratford (9) and Finn Garrett (10) and president Josh Dalziel. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

North Otago Tennis is serving up a fun-filled open day tomorrow.

Love Tennis, a nationwide initiative to encourage more people to get involved in the sport, is back for the third straight year to give people a taste of what tennis can offer. The day will be packed with free coaching, games, prizes and more at the Chelmer St grass courts.

President Josh Dalziel said the event was designed for junior and senior players of all abilities.

In the past three years, North Otago Tennis had bolstered its numbers from about 40 players to more than 100 throughout the region, including a strong contingent from Omarama and Twizel.

‘‘We had a real good uptake the first year we did it, and promoted it pretty hard,’’ Dalziel said.

‘‘We had a pretty big pool the first year, so we didn’t get as many new ones [last year], but we still got quite a good influx.

‘‘We’re hoping to get a good amount again this year. It’s just a good fun day for people to come, sign up and have a hit.’’

Junior tennis numbers continued to flourish, and Dalziel put it down to committee members and players working hard to keep them involved.

‘‘There’s a couple of individuals that have really taken the bull by the horns and [are] really trying to promote it.

‘‘We’ve been able to get into the schools the last couple of years and we’re able to get into 10 schools this coming season to do free coaching for kids there.

‘‘It’s great to reap the rewards of that.’’

The junior and senior programmes were the ‘‘cornerstone’’ of North Otago Tennis, he said.

There was plenty to look forward to for the season, including hot shot programmes, representative tournaments and the North Otago Open. The association was also looking at hosting a social doubles night and cardio tennis programmes.

Love Tennis gets under way tomorrow in different sessions: ages 4 and under from 11.15am to 11.45am, 5-8 from 12pm to 12.45pm; 9-13 from 1pm to 1.45pm; adults fun and cardio from 2pm to 3pm.

More information can be found on the North Otago Tennis Facebook page.