Tennis enjoys lockdown boom as parks court bookings up by 800 per cent in Leeds

Leeds City Council has recorded a staggering increase in usage of its free public tennis courts during lockdown.

With tennis being one of the few sports given permission to re-start in May, players of all ages have been booking to play at parks across Leeds.

At the most popular location, Roundhay Park, bookings for the 16 courts have risen by around 800 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

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Between May 14 and 31, there were 3,247 courts booked - in the same two weeks last year only 359 reservations were made.

Roundhay Park's 16 tennis courts have seen an increase in bookings of around 800 per cent compared to the same period in 2019

Similar data was recorded for Springhead Park in Rothwell, where there were 1,013 bookings compared to 129 in 2019 - eight times as many. Over 90 per cent of its court capacity was reached.

At Dartmouth Park in Morley, only 65 players booked to play over the same fortnight last year, but during lockdown there were 897 bookings. At The Hollies in Meanwood, numbers shot up from just 27 to 759.

Chapel Allerton Park, Manston Park, Holt Park, Brigshaw Lane recreation ground in Kippax and Meanwood Park also received around 200 more bookings than they would in an average May.

Advance booking is now highly recommended due to the demand for court time.

Although many of the coaches and players using the courts are members of clubs which have not fully re-opened, there are hopes that others are new to the sport and will continue playing once coronavirus restrictions end.

Leeds City Council's community tennis activator Danny Burrell said: "All in all, it seems that tennis has managed to serve many purposes, including ensuring that people can see their friends and family safely, providing an additional form of exercise as well as alleviating some stress. What better way to spend your day than to enjoy some tennis?"

Park courts can be booked for free at https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/LeedsCityCouncil/Bookacourt