REBO wants a “Wimbledon champion from Hackney”

REBO wall tennis. Pic: Rollcall

REBO wall tennis. Pic: Rollcall

Andy Murray’s former coach, Mark Petchey, attended the launch last night of the REBO wall project, which provided a tennis practice wall for Hackney’s Concorde Centre.

Days before the ATP World Tour finals at the O2, former British number one, Petchey, was joined by local children at the Concorde Centre to launch a tennis “REBOlution”.

Project director and former tennis coach, Adrian Hutchins, also attended the event, which marked the start of REBO wall’s national campaign. He founded the project in 2013.

Hutchins said the walls “can be quickly and easily installed in any location and when compared to building full-sized tennis courts are a cost-effective option for community centres, schools and clubs.”

About the event on Tuesday he said: “It was raining heavily; the weather was hideous. The kids could have easily gone inside and played Xbox or pool but they didn’t. Most of them hadn’t held a racquet before or had any coaching but there are some genuinely talented kids there. They were hitting double figures.”

“Tennis is not on the radar in Hackney. I’m trying to break down those barriers. With REBO wall you don’t need specialist equipment or clothes or membership to a tennis club. You can play any time and you can practice by yourself. We want a Wimbledon champion from Hackney.”

About REBO wall’s role, Petchey said: “I feel it’s massively important to make tennis more accessible and it is great to see so many kids have the opportunity to play tennis, some for the very first time. You can see their eyes light up when they think ‘I can do this.'”

Calum, 9, who played with the REBO wall said: “I love football but tennis is actually quite fun and I had never played it before. I come here [Concorde Centre] almost every day and can currently hit 10 balls against the wall in a row. I’m aiming to get to 20 soon!”

The Concorde Centre gives young people the opportunity to take part in sports such as tennis, basketball, trampolining and badminton five days a week. The new Wimbledon style wall was installed in July. REBO wall provides freestanding and adjustable rebound practice walls with the aim of taking tennis into new spaces and teaching the sport in a new way.

Gabriela Sperling

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