CUT-PRICE tennis lessons are being offered under a council sports programme.
Oxford City Council has struck a deal with Premier Tennis to provide lessons at three city parks.
Experts will deliver lessons through the week at £3.50 for a two-hour session or £5 for an hour’s worth of coaching.
Court fees – £3.85 for grass and £3.45 for hardstanding – have also been waived at the council-run courts.
Sessions began on Saturday and will be held at Hinksey Park, Florence Park and Bury Knowle Park.
Council executive board member for parks, sports and events Mark Lygo said: “Premier Tennis’ coaching credentials are very impressive, but we are especially glad that they share our passion for involving the whole community in opportunities to get active.
“We hope everyone is inspired to give tennis a go over the next few months, and will be glad to see the courts at Hinksey, Bury Knowle and Florence Park being well used.”
James Auckland, Premier Tennis director and former doubles partner of British No 1 Andy Murray, said: “We’ve found that high fees, the difficulty of finding places to play and people to play with often stop people from discovering tennis for themselves.
“Working with Oxford City Council provides a fantastic chance to meet the community in the middle and show them how it’s a sport anybody can learn and love.”
The £3.50 sessions will see players face other visitors, overseen by a coach, with equipment and rackets provided.
The £5 “cardio tennis” sessions feature music-led exercises based on fitness routines and movements from the game.
Lawn Tennis Association tennis development manager Dave Reeve said: “What Premier Tennis and Oxford City Council are doing is fantastic, and exactly what we would love to see happening all around the UK.
“Over the years we’ve seen families, young people, senior players and those from all walks of life embrace tennis to discover a rewarding game and a friendly community, and our aim is to show more and more people what it can offer them.”
Mr Lygo said: “Tennis has become really popular, particularly leading on from the Olympic legacy and coming up to the tennis season.
“Andy Murray has had a great impact, everybody wants to be the next Wimbledon champion.
“It is about trying to promote grass roots tennis too, not just the competitiveness side.
“But maybe we will find the next Andy Murray or Laura Robson.”
The programme will run at Hinksey Park, off Abingdon Road, from 9.30am to 11.30am on Mondays and 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays.
Sessions will be held at Florence Park, East Oxford, on Wednesdays from 9.30am to 11.30am and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.
They will also be held at Headington’s Bury Knowle Park on Fridays from 9.30am to 11.30am and Sundays from 10am to 1pm.
Sessions must be booked at tennisoxford.com or 0845 4751147.