Artist serves up paintings ahead of Wimbledon start

Britain’s biggest tennis tournament is just days away - and one business in Fylde has got creative with an ace new display.

The All England Lawn Tennis And Croquet Club - better known as Wimbledon - hosts its annual championships on Monday as the world’s best compete for tennis’s ultimate prize.

Artist Ian Fortt has completed two enormous murals on walls at the St Annes Lawn Tennis and Squash Club on Avondale Road in St Annes

Artist Ian Fortt has completed two enormous murals on walls at the St Annes Lawn Tennis and Squash Club on Avondale Road in St Annes

And to celebrate the opening of its new shop at the St Annes Tennis and Squash Club in Avondale Road, Fylde Sports UK commissioned postman turned artist Ian Fortt to serve up two giant paintings featuring the game.

Mr Fortt, 45, of Addison Crescent, Blackpool, was asked by Fylde Sport UK’s owner, William Booth, to paint the murals - both inspired by Wimbledon and the US Open.

Mr Fortt said: “I have delivered quite a bit in the past to Fylde Sports UK, which is based on Whitehills Business Park. After a while I got to know the owner and said I did portraits.

“He said ‘would you do some paintings?’ The Wimbledon painting is 20ft and the US Open painting 16ft - it has taken me around 130 hours to complete.

He said ‘would you do some paintings?’ The Wimbledon painting is 20ft and the US Open painting 16ft - it has taken me around 130 hours to complete

“I have done murals before but nothing like this.

“I have learned a lot and it has been a real challenge.”

Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova scooped last year’s men’s and women’s titles respectively.

The championships begin on Monday - with many hoping Britain’s Andy Murray can repeat his 2013 performance in the men’s singles.

Artist Ian Fortt has completed two enormous murals on walls at the St Annes Lawn Tennis and Squash Club on Avondale Road in St Annes

Artist Ian Fortt has completed two enormous murals on walls at the St Annes Lawn Tennis and Squash Club on Avondale Road in St Annes

Mr Fortt, who studied art at Cleveland College, close to Middlesbrough, said he spent more than £300 on materials for the murals - and admitted the work has whet his appetite for next week’s tournament.

He added: “I normally do other portraits, such as dogs, but this has certainly been worth it. I am not a big fan of tennis, but doing this I have got more into it. I have taken more of an interest.

“I will be watching and I like Novak. I’m not sure about Andy - he is a little bit miserable!”

William Booth, owner of Fylde Sports UK, said: “The idea was very simple. We wanted something exciting, fresh and new and that is exactly what we got.

“I had heard about Ian’s work and decided to commission him to take on the job which he has done brilliantly.”

The shop, which will feature all the latest tennis brands, is set to open in the next few weeks.