SINCE 1910, the soundtrack to the City of Manchester has been the roar emanating from Old Trafford.
Of course, with the astonishing rise of Manchester City, these decibels have dramatically increased with the city now home to two of the world’s most famous football teams. It is a phenomenon that has given Manchester recognition in virtually every part of the globe.
Indeed, despite giving the world some of the best music acts, TV shows, and pioneering the Industrial Revolution, it is football that the City of Manchester is synonymous with.
This international reputation, however, might be set to change in the future.
The tennis revolution
At least, if you listen carefully, you can hear another sound beginning to compete with the chants raining down from the terraces at Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium. Indeed, the sound of tennis balls being thudded across courts can be heard distinctly wherever you are in the city these days. Essentially, Manchester is being gripped by tennis fever and may now even be the capital of the sport in the United Kingdom.
A record single-day attendance of 13,000 at the AO Arena for the Davis Cup in September was another indication that there is a significant tennis uprising going on in Manchester.
So, what is behind the record uptake of tennis across the area?
To start with, the city’s abundance of tennis clubs with world-class facilities has allowed players to discover the game in outstanding environments as popularity surges at grassroots level.
One such club is the Northern Lawn Tennis Club in Didsbury which offers members 23 courts to play on.
Get ready for championship grass courts! Available to book from Friday ???????? ☀️ pic.twitter.com/T9nBldpW0x
— The Northern (@TheNorthernMCR) May 18, 2023
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that these facilities are some of the best in the world which is why the ITF Women’s Circuit hosts its annual Manchester Trophy at the Northern Lawn Tennis Club before Wimbledon every year.
The revolution will be televised
Far from being a low-key event in the north of England that doesn’t gain much publicity, the Manchester Trophy has been won by some of the biggest names in the women’s game including Ons Jabeur in 2018. Jabeur is, of course, one of the constant favourites in the latest odds for all the upcoming tennis tournaments, and in particular, the Tunisian is at just 11/1 to win Wimbledon in 2024.
After losing the 2023 women’s final, Jabeur will be desperate to go one better at the All England Club and will undoubtedly use the Manchester grass court season as a final tune-up before Wimbledon.
We are going to make it one day. I promise ❤️ ???????? pic.twitter.com/Up0pLT12HF
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) July 15, 2023
When the Northern Lawn Tennis Club isn’t being used for some of the biggest tournaments on the professional calendar, members are able to use the courts and access exclusive coaching from an elite team that is renowned for developing local talent. In essence, this is a club that is leading the tennis charge in the city and paving the way for the next global superstar to emerge.
While the Northern Lawn Tennis Club is certainly an iconic institution within Manchester, it should also be said there are smaller clubs like this also doing their part to promote the game and having as much success. Manchester Tennis and Football Centre in the east of the city is a leading example of another club offering the community premium facilities and coaching.
Will a future Grand Slam winner emerge from Manchester?
The overall result of this record uptake is that Manchester now has thousands of home-grown players aiming to make it professionally and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Stockport’s Liam Broady who learned his trade in the region. Having recently reached a career-high world ranking of 93rd in September, Broady remains a source of inspiration for local players who dream of cracking the top 100 in the world.
— Liam Broady (@Liambroady) September 26, 2023
With Manchester now turning into the tennis hub of Britain, there is every chance that a Grand Slam winner will soon step forward from this fabled part of the country.