TOUCHTENNIS: Sixty top pro players coming to Cirencester in June

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Coach Floyd Magson helps Olina Young, 5, with her grip at the touchtennis session held in St Michael's Park, Cirencester. Picture: Richard Pasco  (6101924) Coach Floyd Magson helps Olina Young, 5, with her grip at the touchtennis session held in St Michael's Park, Cirencester. Picture: Richard Pasco (6101924)

IN THE sleepy back streets of Cirencester a tennis revolution is brewing.

Sunday, June 15 marks Cirencester’s first touchtennis tournament and it has the backing of car giant BMW as well as a prize fund of £500.

The Cotswold Group Masters Cirencester will take place at St Michael ’s Park in Kings Street – the hub for touchtennis in the town.

It is all the brainchild of Phillip Reynolds who lives just around the corner from the park.

On the day there will be a host of other activities and food outlets for all members of the family and there will be complementary barbecues ready for use.

Kindly supported by Cotswold Cheltenham MINI, the £500 Cotswold Group Masters will be part of the World

Tour Masters Events, the biggest tournament series in the game.

All points scored during this event will count towards a player’s ranking, and around 60 top players from all over the world will be taking part.

However, anyone over 16 can enter to play against the pros.

Reynolds said: “I discovered that a chap called Rashid Ahmad had originally devised the game of touchtennis as a way of entertaining his young daughter in 2002.

“I also play tennis with my daughter who was 12 years old last year.

“Rashid quickly saw the game’s potential, developed a unique set of rules and a new sport using a special foam ball and smaller-headed racket on a reduced size court was born.

“To cut a long story short, Cirencester Town Council were about to spend £35,000 on repairing the tennis courts area at St Michael’s and I convinced them to replace one of the existing courts with four touch tennis courts.

“Cirencester is now one of only six places in the country with officially marked touchtennis courts, despite the game’s growing popularity.”

The sport has become big business as there is now a touchtennis tour complete with four major grand slams along with ‘Masters £1,000’ events.

Former and current world-ranked players on the ATP and WTA circuits including the likes of former Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates compete on the touchtennis tour.

Philip has now set up Tennis For Free in Cirencester through his creation of the Tennis Plus (Modern Tennis)

Academy based in St Michael’s Park.

To find out more about touchtennis visit www.touchtennis.com/gb/tournaments.php.

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