Last week I had the chance to play tennis with Serena Williams and Roger Federer all thanks to NikeCourt, Nike’s drive to get people playing tennis during Wimbledon. But they want to do this by breaking tradition – the courts are pink and blue, the sessions are open to all because they happen throughout the day and are free. On the day of the launch they gave everyone a chance to meet Roger Federer (officially opening NikeCourt) and the next day we all had the chance to meet Serena Williams (launching her new NikeCourt Flare trainers)
Of course I entered both of them. Did it matter that I hadn’t held a tennis racket since high school or that even in high school what the PE teachers called tennis wasn’t even remotely related to tennis? No, not even the slightest. I love watching tennis and with Wimbledon around the corner tennis fever has hit London. I wanted to give myself a chance and if I made a fool of myself with my abysmal tennis ‘skills’ then it was worth it.
Before we met either Roger or Serena (my new BFFs – have I mentioned that already?) we were all kitted out into proper tennis gear, given shoes and rackets to try. The tennis gear consisted of the shortest shorts I have ever worn and it took a while for me to get used to them. However after some running around you forget that if you jump people can see the exact shape of your butt cheeks. On the launch I kept my knee supports on but the next day I took them off – that’s why in some of the pictures I have them and some I don’t.
As I said the courts were pink and blue and I loved them. Before we met either Serena or Roger (BFFs) we played some tennis. Amazing coaches were there taking us through an aerobic tennis session which had me panting in no time. It was circuit training with a lot of short sprints, push ups, burpees, and tennis in the loosest sense of the word – I hit the ball using my racket maybe three times.
We also got to practice our skills which was a really fun element of the session and I may have pissed of other people with my eagerness to spin the ball, use the edge of my racket to make it bounce, fail and then chase my runaway tennis ball. The wonderful thing was the both sessions were about having fun. It didn’t matter how experienced you were, all the coaches were brilliant and I had such a good time.
We then waited for Roger and Serena to come out and listened to a Q&A before watching them both play a little tennis and then having the chance to play tennis with them.
When I played tennis with Roger I actually managed to hit the ball back, and it went over the net. With Serena I wasn’t so lucky but the photo looks impressive.
We also then had the chance to take a mass selfie with both Roger and Serena. I didn’t make it into the Roger selfie (BFFs no more) because really tall men shoved their way to the front and I was hidden but with Serena I did!
That’s her getting into the umpire chair for the selfie, and below is the actual selfie!
I also managed to get sneaky pictures with Roger and Serena while they were playing with other people.
The cool thing was that up and coming tennis star, Kyle Edmund was also there and he was more than happy to take a photo with me.
NikeCourt is open until the fourth of July, but the courts will be left as a permanent space for the London community, serviced by Nike in partnership with the LTA to ensure the local community can have access to tennis in the best condition.
If you want to have a go, then there are three types of sessions:
- Fast Tennis hosted by the best coaches in the country for a high intensity session inspired by the way the top athletes train which will get your heart racing and your swing perfect.
- King of the Court – a fast moving competitive tournament to work all aspects of your game
- Start from the Baseline – a beginner’s guide to play tennis with leading coaches to make sure you get the basics right.
All classes can be booked here and if you are in London then I urge you to go. Rackets are provided as are tennis shoes if you want to try. The coaches are amazing and you get to play tennis on a pink and blue court. All for free. It is a win/win situation.
I had a fantastic time on both days and am so excited about Wimbledon, which has started today. Good luck to Serena and Roger and Kyle – I can’t wait to see how you all do!