Published 24 August 2021

Wimbledon star Jonny O’Mara was joined by local school children today (TUES) as brand new  state-of-the-art tennis courts were officially opened in West Dunbartonshire.

The pupils, from nearby Levenvale Primary School, enjoyed a short masterclass at the Argyll Park tennis courts, which were developed following a £200,000 investment from the Council, Lawn Tennis Association and sportscotland.

The all-weather floodlit courts, which have been developed to Lawn Tennis Associated standard, will be run by West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust on behalf of the Council.

It is hoped the courts will encourage increased participation and interest in the sport, with use of the courts free to residents during off-peak times.

standing at tennis net about to hit a ball

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “This facility is a fantastic addition to the range of sporting facilities we have on offer, but it is also about much more than tennis. It allows us as a Council to give our residents’ increased opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing and provides another space to encourage our young people to enjoy physical exercise.

 “It has been an exciting time watching this development progress and absolutely fantastic to see it in use today. Thanks to Jonny O’Mara for joining us to share his experiences and expertise with our young people – it’s clear they have taken a lot from it.”

As the courts were officially opened by West Dunbartonshire Council Leader Councillor Jonathan McColl, he said an uptake in bookings had already been seen since they were made available earlier in the summer.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to officially open this brilliant facility, which has already led to a spike in interest in tennis with more than 420 court bookings involving 1300 participants since the courts opened at the end of June.

“West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust will also be offering tennis development sessions to introduce residents to the sport, grow participation and help develop skills and enjoyment of tennis. Other programmes delivered in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council and the Lawn Tennis Association have seen free coaching and equipment to encourage continued participation.

“The development of these courts  is sure to bring benefits to Alexandria,  and West Dunbartonshire as a whole for generations to come and I would encourage residents to try them out for themselves.”

Jonny O’Mara, a quarter-finalist in the Australian Open doubles, recently took part in his fourth Wimbledon tournament.

He is also an ambassador for Tennis Scotland, acting as a mentor the next generation of tennis stars in Scotland to provide practical support for players.

Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive, said: “Tennis in Scotland is growing in continuing to grow in popularity and first-class facilities like Argyll Park will no doubt support our efforts to increase participation at all levels of the game.

“We’ve already enjoyed a 6% increase in participation in 2021 with around 250,000 adults now playing recreational tennis across Scotland but it’s vital that we continue to invest in and develop facilities across Scotland to maintain that growth trajectory and get more people playing tennis.

“Argyll Park is a terrific example of how local councils, sportscotland, the LTA and Tennis Scotland can work together to deliver fantastic facilities that everyone in the community can enjoy.

“Tennis Scotland and the LTA have many opportunities for public tennis facilities and we would encourage councils and leisure trusts to engage with us to discuss how we can work together to offer enhanced facilities and programmes to the local communities in Scotland.”

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said: “It’s fantastic to see these courts already being so well used. We work with partners like West Dunbartonshire Council and their Leisure Trust to create the right facilities that will provide more opportunities for people to get active in their local communities.

“This investment was made possible thanks to the National Lottery players who raise £36million a week for good causes. Without that level of support, developing community facilities like Argyll Park Tennis Courts simply would not be possible.”

The courts are open Mon – Fri 9am until 9pm and Sat – Sun 9am until 6pm. They are free to use between 9am and 4pm Monday-Friday, with booking still required.

The courts can be booked online or via an app called Clubspark Booker, which also controls the floodlighting so they are lit appropriately when required.

Argyll Park will be also be a ‘Tennis For Free’ venue from September running a free weekly coach-led session for all ages with all equipment provided making the new courts accessible for everyone.