MATT Trevail is calling for floodlights to be installed at public tennis courts in the town, so the sport’s popularity can increase.

Trevail, director of tennis at Woking LTC, wants five of the courts at Woking Park to be illuminated.

He told the News & Mail: “"The main thing about the park is that we’re trying to get floodlights. It’s busy all summer, and everyone must stop playing [when darkness falls] because there are no lights.

“We’ve got a provisional agreement from the Lawn Tennis Association to fund 50% of the floodlights there, so the council comes up with the other 50%. The things that are taking the time are the paperwork and the lack of resources in the council to get things going.

“If we could get five floodlit courts at Woking Park, it might ease some of the pressure at the tennis club. It would make a world of difference to tennis in Woking. That’s what we’re trying to campaign.

“We have people playing at Woking Park, and they all have to stop when the sun sets. Unless people can play during the daytime, which most people can’t unless it’s at the weekend, we’ve only got coaches there on a Saturday.

“We have about 200 members who do coach sessions at the park weekly, compared to around 350 at the club.

“Playing at the park is pretty popular because it’s a public facility. Like people want to go swimming at the pool there, people would like to go and play tennis and do a tennis session with a tennis instructor.

“That’s our mission. We want to try to push the council a bit to get things moving because we can’t do anything. It’s down to them to do it.”

The club hope that with floodlights at the park, it would ease the pressure on their site where not all their tennis courts can be floodlit and, therefore, many players are unable to have a match in the evenings.

Trevail said: “We’re open 365 days a year. The grass courts close in October. But we’ve got six clay courts to play on, whether snowy or icy.

“The floodlights mean we can play until 9.30pm every day.  We don’t have all the courts floodlit because we don’t have planning permission. There are houses too close by.”

The club are not accepting any new members at their courts on Pine Road. Instead, applicants are added to a waiting list.

Trevail said that the pandemic rapidly increased the number of people wanting to give tennis a go.

“The pandemic was a massive boost for outdoor tennis,” he said. “Worldwide it increased by 20% the number of people playing the sport.

“It was this and golf which were the first things people were allowed to play when lockdown ended, and so many people joined. We then closed it [applications] because we were full, and people stuck around.

“We’ve been full for nearly a year now. It was the fact that it was outdoors and a non-contact sport. Many people suddenly got back into it, having not played for a long time, and then they continued playing.

“There’s not a huge number of tennis clubs you can get into now. Clubs in Guildford have all got waiting lists.

“You can only get into places like David Lloyd because they have indoor courts, and people are less keen to play on indoor and public courts.”

The club stage their prestigious Woking Open during the last week of July. And the Woking Seniors’ Open, with former Wimbledon player Roger Taylor taking part, will be held during the week commencing 12 September.