DISABLED tennis players are flocking to an Oxfordshire leisure centre serving up new specialist sessions.

White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, in Abingdon, has introduced the new programme after Better, which runs the centre, was approached by the Tennis Foundation last year to create a hub for disability tennis in the county.

The new programme has proved so popular there are now 50 children and adults regularly attending speciality sessions, including wheelchair tennis sessions for adults and juniors, weekly sessions for students at Abingdon and Witney College with special needs and a weekly session for children and adults with Down’s Syndrome.

The success follows top coach Marc McCarroll, who represented Team GB at the Paralympics in London and Rio, running the county’s first dedicated wheelchair tennis day at the centre in November.

Mr McCarroll had recently moved to Steventon with his tennis star partner Jordanne Whiley, who won the Wimbledon wheelchair doubles final in 2017.

Wheelchair tennis sessions have also been boosted by the donation of six new wheelchairs worth over £4,000 to club from healthcare solutions provider, Sanofi Genzyme.

This has allowed the centre to share them with its wheelchair basketball team and led to the crossover of players from one sport to the other .

The leisure centre is also working with mental health charities Mind and Response to host sessions for those suffering from depression and PTSD, as well as mothers who suffer from post-natal depression. The charities will be on hand after the sessions for a chat with players and offer support if they need it. Tennis coaches will also receive training in mental health awareness in the coming weeks.

Ben Whaymand, partnership manager at Better said: “We are proud to have become a leading provider of disability tennis in Oxfordshire. We exist to help more people get more active, more often, through a range of activities and facilities to boost both physical and mental wellbeing and offering this range of inclusive activities helps us to achieve this.

“We are looking forward to seeing our programmes continue to grow in the coming months.”