Other sport

Plymouth tennis teen keen to get more girls into the sport

THE Fed Cup by BNP Paribas gets underway this weekend with Great Britain taking on Slovakia to qualify for the next round in April.

The Fed Cup, which took place in Bath and London last year with the likes of Jo Konta and Katie Swan, is the World Cup of women’s tennis and offers female players from around the world the chance to represent their country.

And a teenager from Plymouth believes the top competition can really inspire female players.

Beth Groves has been at the forefront of progressive change by volunteering at her local club and trying to get more girls into the sport.

She attended a tennis session when she was 11 years-old not being too keen on the idea and ended up falling in love with the sport. Five years on Groves is now a junior coach at St Budeaux Tennis Club, volunteers at the club around three times a week and even helped set up a brand-new initiative solely for girls on a Sunday.

The 16-year-old was also nominated for an LTA Award this year for her contributions and was one of 10 finalists for the BBC Radio 1 Teen Heroes Awards last year where she got to go to Kensington Palace and meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Groves added:  “I’ve been really lucky to be able to grow within my local club and be given the opportunity to do something that I love.

“I feel like I have done a lot within the club during my time here from becoming a junior coach and helping out with the mini tennis sessions and now starting new sessions on a Sunday just for girls.

“I pushed to start the all-girls group and my coach got in contact with Active Devon who have helped fund the programme and I now run a girl’s session every Sunday. We started the programme a year ago with only a couple of students and now we have around 16.

“I found that many of our sessions were boy orientated and I wanted to try and encourage more girls to give it a go. I took the lead and now myself and two other junior coaches help run the sessions, it’s been fantastic and has kept growing.”

On visiting Kensington Palace and getting to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, she added: “It was just an experience like no other and I feel so privileged that I’ve got the chance to show what tennis is all about and what girls can do in the sport.

“That’s why the Fed Cup is so brilliant; it can really inspire young girls in the sport which is great. I will definitely be following it this weekend and I think Katie Swan is one of the team members that I look up to as she worked so hard and now she’s doing so well.”

This year’s Fed Cup sees Great Britain going up against Slovakia in Bratislava on February 7 and 8. The winner will advance to be one of 12 nations playing in the all-new Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in April.

Play will start at 3pm GMT on both days. BBC Sport will be showing the tie live online and on the red button. Follow @theLTA on Twitter and @LTA on Instagram for match action and exclusive behind the scenes content.

 

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