AS WIMBLEDON fever once again grips our nation's strawberry-shaped hearts, one of Oxfordshire's newest tennis clubs is hoping to cash in on the racket to help train up the next generation of centre court stars.

Wantage Tennis Club only moved to its new home in the town's Manor Road recreation ground on July 16 last year, but has since doubled its membership and been voted county club of the year.

It has also been awarded the Lawn Tennis Association's Tennismark certificate, recognising it as a 'safe, welcoming and inclusive environment' – not to mention its extensive junior coaching programme and links to local schools.

The little club making big waves will celebrate its first birthday – by happy coincidence – just days before the LTA's Great British Tennis Weekend, and is marking the two occasions by holding an open day on Saturday, July 22.

Rackets, balls and encouragement will all be provided from 10am to 1pm, as well as refreshments.

Managers want to advertise the club's public courts and get more casuals in for a spot of fun, but coaches will also be on the lookout to get the new Navratilovas excited about the sport and help keep England at the top of the game.

In the words of chairman Mark Rowe: "You can dream of becoming the new Andy Murray or Jo Konta: everyone starts somewhere, just be sure it's at Wantage.

"New players of all levels are encouraged, from 'rusty rackets' starter sessions to coaching and competitive match play, with 13 teams competing in the Oxfordshire and Newbury leagues.

"Now you've seen Wimbledon, make this the summer you take up tennis, meet new friends of all ages and enjoy fresh air and exercise.

"Remember, tennis can be played all year round, not just in the summer."

And if any tennis club can boast of dedication and tenacity, it is Wantage: before moving to the park last year, members had to play on three courts squeezed into the middle of a housing estate in nearby Charlton.

After years of planning, in 2015 it finally agreed a three-way deal to sell that site to a developer and take over the park courts formerly run by Vale of White Horse District Council.

Using the proceeds from the sale, they built a new clubhouse, four new private courts and refurbished the two public ones.

They new facilities were officially opened last Summer by former professional player Shirley Brasher (née Bloomer).