Published: 28 April 2023

LTA president Sandi Procter officially opens Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre

Pictured, from left: Simon Jones, the LTA councillor for Shropshire, LTA president Sandi Procter, Tennis Shropshire chair Fiona Jones and Dave Courteen, managing director of The Shrewsbury Club, at the official opening of the Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre



Sandi Procter, the Lawn Tennis Association president, has officially opened Tennis Shropshire’s new Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre located here on The Shrewsbury Club site. 

Sandi, who has followed Cathie in being appointed as the second female president of the Lawn Tennis Association, officially opened the two-court indoor centre set in a large inflatable dome last Friday. 

The centre - named in honour of Cathie, Shropshire’s inspirational former LTA president, who sadly passed away in May 2020 - has been welcoming tennis players since last September and is managed on a day-to-day basis by inspire2coach on behalf of Tennis Shropshire. The centre’s courts are available to be booked on a pay as you play basis, while it is also proving popular with local tennis clubs and community groups.

“What I like about it is the partnership,” said Sandi. "In the first instance, getting it here was fantastic teamwork, this being a partnership between a private club and a community and a county, along with support from Sport England. It’s been a fantastic team effort.

“It’s a lovely centre and I love that it’s going to be used by the community. 

“It is absolutely what Cathie Sabin was about, so I just like the whole idea, concept and the reality.” 

Dave Courteen, our managing director, spoke at the opening ceremony, along with Sandi Procter and Simon Jones, the LTA councillor for Shropshire.

Dave said: “This is absolutely unique in the UK as there’s no other facility that sits on the grounds of a private health club and is supported by a private health club, but runs on a pay as you play community basis.

“We think it’s really important as the biggest club in Shropshire that we are committed to helping to grow the sport in the county and this is part of our commitment to do that.

"We are immensely proud that with Tennis Shropshire operating and taking the lead on the Cathie Sabin Community Tennis Centre, this excellent facility has come to fruition. 

“It was wonderful to have such a well attended opening day and I’m delighted that Sandi Procter as president of the LTA was here to conduct the opening ceremony.”

Dave added the centre will also enable members of The Shrewsbury Club to continue to have the opportunity to play tennis indoors all year round when our own courts may be unavailable owing to other events, including the ITF World Tennis Tour tournament, taking place.

"We love hosting tennis competitions at all levels from the World Tour through to junior Grade 3 events but ith our growing membership numbers and the increase in tennis players at the Club, it is really important that we ensure there are always indoor courts available for our members. This partnership enables us to do this so it is good news for our members and good news for tennis in the County."

Tennis Shropshire chair Fiona Jones, who hosted the opening ceremony, said: “The day went well and it was wonderful to see so many guests who have supported the county over the years together in one place, catching up on memories and with the added bonus of having Sandi Procter in Shropshire to conduct the opening ceremony. It was a chance to fondly remember Cathie and pay tribute to everything she achieved.  
"Activities then continued across a busy weekend with a number of local clubs taking the opportunity to play in the centre on Saturday afternoon.

"We were also joined by lots of children on Sunday morning for a schools’ roadshow and even more families who came to play in the afternoon, so it was a very full and enjoyable weekend of tennis in our new community tennis centre.” 

Guests at Friday’s official opening were welcomed by pupils from Shifnal’s Idsall School - where Cathie was a PE teacher for many years - playing tennis on the centre’s courts.

The guests enjoyed lunch before hearing speeches ahead of an exhibition one-set mixed doubles match between locally based players who have played on the professional tour such as Lauren McMinn, Matt Jones, and Michelle Dzjachangirova, and performance coach, Adam Wharf, which proved to be a popular finale to the day. 

Published: 28 April 2023