Northern Ireland getting 'court out' by lack of facilities for young tennis players who could be the next Carlos Alcaraz
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But are people in Northern Ireland missing out in terms of facilities available. Two local councillors believe so.
Holywood UUP Councillor Linzi McLaren said: “It has come to my attention that some of the tennis courts in the borough are well overdue a refurb.
"I think to produce brilliant players you need to have brilliant facilities. I’m not sure if potentially that is the problem.
"The talent could be out there but we don’t have the basic facilities for them to get started.”
She added: “Cloughey got a major refurb and as a consequence they’ve got lots more members, they’re running summer schemes and things like that. But that’s a private club.
"With council it obviously comes down to funding. As long as the courts meet health and safety requirements they’re going to be low on the list of priorities.
“Seapark and Helen’s Bay are two that certainly need the surfaces to be replaced.
"That’s something I hope to be progressing with the director of leisure services and the council.”
Lisnasharragh DUP Councillor Davy Douglas said that while many sports facilities have been improved in east Belfast, tennis courts have been overlooked.
He said: “There are definitely a few of the council owned courts that are nowhere near up to scratch.
“Having state of the art sports facilities are vitally important to get people, especially young people, active.
“A lot of great work has been done with the Better leisure centres around the Belfast area so it certainly isn’t a case of lack of investment.
“Money is incredibly tight at the minute and where tennis falls down is perhaps that it would not be played by as many people as a lot of other sports.
“In much the same way as golf, it is left to private clubs to cater for tennis players.
"Should funding become available it would be good to be able to offer better facilities for casual players of the sport.”