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Thames Tennis Club president Jon Ballantyne, left, and club coach Shannon Paki prepare to welcome in visitors for the club’s Love Tennis open day. Photo: ALICE PARMINTER

Open play day for Love Tennis

On September 10, the Thames Tennis Club will be opening its doors for a day of fun, as it invites members of the public to pop along and give the sport a try. 

It’s all part of the Love Tennis initiative. Clubs across the country will be offering people a chance to pick up a racquet at the national event aimed at fostering a love of tennis. 

Thames club president Jon Ballantyne said the club was keen to help people in the community to keep active. 

“Tennis is a relatively cheap sport,” he said. 

“And [it’s] pretty gentle on the body compared to a lot of other sports, so it’s a really good one for staying active.” 

The club will be open from 10am to 2pm, and members of the public will be able to come along and play for free. Club coach Shannon Paki will be running demonstrations and activities, and there will be a sausage sizzle and some competitions and giveaways. 

“It’s really an opportunity for people to find out about tennis and maybe rediscover their love of tennis,” Jon said. 

“We’ll have plenty of club members here to play or just answer questions as well.”
The 128 year old club has a strong membership base in Thames, Jon said, especially with the youth and senior demographics. 

“We’ve got a really really strong youth programme here – Shannon’s a fantastic coach and he draws in a lot of kids,” he said. 

“[And] we’ve got quite a strong retiree [group]. They have a really nice social time through the week, they play three times during the week and they’re always interested to bring more people in.” 

Shannon agreed, saying the club prided itself on being welcoming and inclusive while helping maintain people’s fitness. 

“We’re very big on supporting the community and whānau that want to be involved in our little club,” he said. 

“Science has proven that tennis makes you live a bit longer, because it helps your cognitive function of your brain … and the fitness benefit because you’re actually utilising 80-90 per cent of all your muscle groups.” 

DETAILS: Love Tennis Open Day, 10am-2pm on September 10 at the Thames Tennis Club, 403 Brown St. See for more information about the club. 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air