Wimbledon fever hits Gloucestershire tennis clubs
WIMBLEDON fever has spread to Cheltenham with a swell in numbers hitting the courts during the two-week tournament.
As Andy Murray made history by reaching yesterday's final, fans headed to the East Gloucestershire Tennis Club to cheer him on against Roger Federer – who claimed a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon men's crown.
Tennis manager Simon Corbishley, from Charlton Kings, has been part of the club at the Old Bath Road tennis ground for nine years.
He said the championship always got people out hitting some.
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The 38-year-old said: "Numbers here do swell during Wimbledon and we have noticed it has been a bit slower this year because of the weather, but it still makes a difference.
"Our members always come out and play, but we do get more recreational players coming out for a few games over the summer.
"I think the coverage Wimbledon gets really helps raise the profile of the sport – you cannot help but be aware it's going on.
"Even my friends who don't play will be watching and talking about tennis during these two weeks."
The club put on strawberries and cream and Pimm's for those not lucky enough to join Kate and Pippa Middleton, the Beckhams and Prime Minister David Cameron watching the final live.
The club, which has around 1,400 members aged four to 84, gets tickets to Wimbledon allocated from the British Tennis Association.
Simon, who started playing tennis aged seven, was glued to the big screen yesterday rooting for Murray.
He said: "It is just a great place and the whole ground is incredible.
"Some of the members go and play at Wimbledon in veterans matches in the weeks after the grand slam.
"Even to play on the practise courts is a big opportunity and it really is the pinnacle of the sport."
He hopes club member Chris Morrow, 16, could by serving up at Junior Wimbledon in two years.
Michelle Vincent, 50, from Montpellier is the club's bar manager.
She said: "It has been busy throughout the tournament, so I have not had much chance to watch the tennis, but Wimbledon does get people excited."