Tennis legend returns to Sheffield for Davis Cup celebration event

21st April 2016

A 'festival of tennis' celebrating the arrival of the Davis Cup trophy in Sheffield took place at a leading city sports venue and saw the return of a British sporting legend.

Tennis icon Roger Taylor, from Sheffield, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, joined in the fun at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre as the Davis Cup trophy continued a nationwide tour, launched by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). Taylor, a former Davis Cup captain, participated in the Sheffield leg of the trophy's tour, celebrating Britain's first Davis Cup triumph for 79 years in 2015, when Andy Murray and brother Jamie led the squad to victory. Sheffield-born Taylor is one of the nation's most notable former players. In a career spanning 13 years, he won back-to-back US Open doubles titles in 1971 and 1972, as well as reaching four Grand Slam singles semi-finals, three of which were at Wimbledon, once after beating the legendary Rod Laver. Taylor, now 74 and still playing, joined schools, clubs, coaches and scores of players from across the region at Ponds Forge for the event, at which attendees were given the chance to have a photo taken with both the Davis Cup trophy and Taylor, with children taking part in a mini tennis tournament. Ponds Forge International Sports Centre is operated by SIV, part of the Sheffield City Trust (SCT) Group. The event builds on recent investment that the LTA and Yorkshire Tennis have made in Sheffield. Current LTA and Yorkshire Tennis projects include a 'Tennis for Kids' initiative, which provides free tennis coaching for children aged between five and eight at clubs across Sheffield, and a parks programme, launched in partnership with Sheffield City Council and Premier Tennis, which provided coaching and online booking at six parks across the city. Yorkshire Tennis chairman, John Crowther, said: -Sheffield has a reputation for being the City of Sport, and its investment in tennis reinforces this claim. The LTA, in partnership with Sheffield City Council, is ensuring that tennis is accessible for anyone who wants to play. -The response to our initiatives has been eye-opening, and our hope is to see more stars such as Roger and more recently Jonny Marray who became a Wimbledon doubles champion and David Sherwood emerge from the city. Steve Brailey MBE, chief executive of SIV, said: -We're extremely proud to have hosted the iconic Davis Cup at Ponds Forge and it was fantastic to see so many people of all ages come to see the trophy. -The Great Britain team winning the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years really captured the nation and getting turnouts like today's event really do prove that. -It's always exciting to welcome such high profile events and sports personalities to Ponds Forge. I hope this event goes on to inspire the young people who came along today to get involved in sport. For more information visit www.siv.org.uk, www.tennissheffield.com/ or www.clubspark.lta.org.uk/tennisforkids.

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