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Youngsters turn their back on tennis

WORLD CLASS: Serena Williams

BRITISH TENNIS will struggle to find champions such as Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic until schools and communities make the game exciting and accessible, an AXA study into young people’s ambitions has concluded.

With the Wimbledon Championships just concluded, new research has discovered evidence that Britain’s hunt for a new generation of tennis champions is going to be tougher than expected.

Many children don’t feel encouraged to play tennis, and say they don’t have access to facilities.

And a wide-ranging survey of 2,000 youngsters, carried out in support of the Ambition AXA Awards, shows that plenty say they don’t relate to the game, don’t know about it – or just don’t like it.

When it comes to actually playing the sport, one in five say they do not have facilities in their area to let them learn the game, while 16 per cent say the problem with tennis is that it too expensive to play.

A further 13 per cent say their lack of interest is down to the sport’s overall lack of popularity, while 11 per cent said it was a “summer sport”, so they wouldn’t play for the rest of the year.

The study into ambition in young people was commissioned to support AXA’s initiative the Ambition AXA Awards.

The £200,000 awards scheme for 11-18 year olds with extreme talent was launched in April to reward UK youngsters’ achievements in enterprise, science, community, sport and the arts.

Five talented young people could each win a bespoke mentoring prize worth up to £40,000 (a total prize fund of £200,000).

The winners will be announced on November 30, after which the judging panel will help the winners to create a development package that will help them to achieve their goals.

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