History of the club
Northern Aces traces its origins back to 1999 as part of the original Team Manchester project, which was designed to encourage more LGBTQ+ people into sporting and healthy social activities. A small group of friends got together in 1999 and started playing tennis on a regular weekly basis at the Sugden Sports Centre on the outdoor courts in central Manchester. News of the group started to spread, and by 2002 a larger but still informal group were playing at a number of different venues across the region, arranging games in Manchester, Wigan and Bolton. It was at this time that the players were first successful in obtaining small grants to support the running of the group.
As the word spread and membership grew, regular tennis tournaments became a feature. Northern Aces moved another step forward in 2003, a landmark year, with a number of players entering an out of town tournament for the first time. Participation in the tournament, which was the long established London International, Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA) tournament at Battersea Park, proved to be a great success and those who participated returned with renewed enthusiasm and a new vision for LGBT tennis in Manchester.
2005 - Present
In August 2005, Northern Aces organised its own first 3-day international tournament. This proved a great success, becoming an even bigger and better event in 2006, with over sixty players (including representation from Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland) participating in both singles and doubles competitions. The tournament earned full GLTA status in 2009 and is now a popular GLTA event on the European circuit hosting our 10th GLTA event in 2018 at the fabulous Northern Lawn Tennis Club, which is also the home for our 2019 tournament which will be played on their grass courts, graded only second to Wimbledon!
In recent years, Northern Aces expanded its range of venues. From 2015 we have held social sessions and competitive events at Manchester Tennis and Football Centre (Sportcity), Bolton Arena, Urmston Sports Club and David Lloyd Trafford, as well as our International GLTA tournament, Kiss My Ace, hosted by The Northern.
With the introduction of professional coaching sessions for members, plans for additional sessions and a greater number of social activities, Northern Aces is growing from strength to strength. We can already boast that we are the largest LGBTQI+ tennis group outside London, and anyone who knows us will tell you that it is certainly one of the friendliest in the UK.
Who we are
Our club is totally run on a not-for-profit basis, by an active group of volunteers and board members. We hold regular social and streamed sessions throughout the year and have competitive and social tournaments, box league and friendly fun tennis events, and improvement coaching. Additionally, each year many individuals take part in the GLTA tour competitions, winning trophies and making new friends all over the world.
There is always an opportunity to get involved in our social activities and to meet a diverse range of club members from all walks of life who share an interest in tennis and other sports. Currently we have 2 Men's teams in the South Manchester Tennis league and a Women's team in the North Manchester League.
Some members play for other clubs in addition to the Northern Aces, but we have many social players for whom the Aces is their home. We are an inclusive club that really does allow you to feel part of the family.
Beginners, "rusty rackets" and social players are always welcome for a hit and to find out more about the club. Check out the events page to find out when the next session is happening.
Every penny that we raise through the club goes towards ensuring that sessions can be available as often as possible throughout the year, ensuring consistent opportunity to play tennis and enjoy a good old run around!
Whatever your level of tennis ,if you consider yourself to be part of the LGBTQI+ community, you will always find a warm welcome and people up for a hit at our regular sessions and in the box leagues. We're don't promise easy wins, but we can promise fun, fairness and the opportunity to meet a great bunch of people who we hope will become friends for life.
You can find more information about how to join the club on the membership page.
Northern Aces has a very active and hardworking committee, who welcome feedback from all members - get in touch!
Member since 2007.
Favourite players: Pat Rafter and Natasha Zvereva.
Eira is also Tournament Director of Kiss My Ace
Pat also runs the box leagues for Northern Aces.
Sofia is also in charge of making things look pretty online and off.
Gurj also runs the Rotator Tournament alongside Sofia.
Neil is our inaugural Rotator Cup Champion alongside Stuart.
Graham also looks after membership