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Swapping footballs for tennis rackets

Manchester United Foundation has joined forces with the Tennis Foundation and Lawn Tennis Association to pilot a new programme that aims to build on the Premier League 4 Sport initiative.

| by Katie Newton

Swapping footballs for tennis rackets

The School of Tennis programme is being piloted across Greater Manchester secondary schools and is endorsed by the Tennis Foundation, which is Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, working closely with the Lawn Tennis Association. The Tennis Foundation delivers community, educational and inclusive tennis opportunities across the country.  

The partnership with Manchester United Foundation has developed through the national Premier League 4 Sport programme, with the aim of the School of Tennis enriching and enhancing the multi-sport initiative, providing in-depth, student-led tennis provision in three pilot schools. 

Young people from Manchester United Foundation partner schools who have been identified as tennis ambassadors were invited to Old Trafford today to take part in activities and learn new skills to take back to their classmates.  

Sam Foakes, Regional Tennis Participation Manager for the Lawn Tennis Association – the national governing body for tennis across the UK – said, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to bring these young people here today, to experience Manchester United and to show that there are different options for those who don’t just want to play football.  The School of Tennis aims to show that tennis is flexible and doesn’t need to be played in the traditional way.”

Fourteen-year-old Osman from Manchester Academy in Moss Side said, “Today we have been developing our tennis skills and being taught how to do different activities so we can take them back to school and engage others in playing tennis.”

Classmate Gihan added, “I’m really happy to be an ambassador for tennis; it’s a great opportunity for all of us.  I want to ask some teachers if we can start doing tennis after school; we can run it as tennis ambassadors and teach our classmates the skills we have learnt today.”

Premier League 4 Sport inspires young people to try Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth sports and encourages them to participate by becoming a member of a community sports club or a national governing body.  As well as tennis, Manchester United Foundation delivers alternative sports such as basketball, boxing, handball and volleyball at its partner schools and at satellite clubs across Greater Manchester.