Last Saturday the City of Wollongong Tennis Club and Tennis NSW officially opened Australia’s first ever purpose built MLC Tennis Hot Shots Courts.
The eight modified courts were the brainchild of Tennis NSW Places to Play (P2P) team, Brett Andrews – Facility Development Manager and Andy Schymitzek- Business Development Manager.
The P2P team were inspired by their October 2011 visit to the United States of America, where over 3000 modified tennis courts are a part of clubs all over the country. The innovation in tennis facilities has seen an increase in their tennis participation, which is an important part of Tennis Australia’s 4M strategy by 2016.
“Our aim is to create tennis venues that are accessible and engage the entire community. Building a permanent facility that is set up and open 7 days of the week, kids and parents have the opportunity to play on these courts for as long and as frequently as they want” explained Andrews.
Wollongong Tennis Club, an affiliated member of Tennis NSW, contacted the Tennis NSW P2P team in April looking for a solution to their two hard courts which were in need of repair. Their aim for the underutilised courts was to increase revenue and participation, the modified courts were a perfect fit.
After extensive research and consultation with a similar program in the United States of America, a presentation was made to the Board of City of Wollongong Tennis Club and a plan was in place and with the assistance of Hayden Garn from Sports Technology International. Construction of the project was underway.
Gary Leighton, City of Wollongong Tennis Club Manager, believes that these courts will welcome a whole new wave of kids playing MLC Tennis Hot Shots in the region.
“When Andy and Brett approached us with the idea, being a numbers person, the first thing I thought of was how does it work for us? Having eight smaller courts there is more potential for more participation on those courts and it is important for us to support junior tennis”.
“It is very exciting for us to be the first in Australia to build these modified courts” Leighton said.
Tennis Australia, through their National Court Rebate Scheme, was another important benefactor, whose financial support ensured the project was successful. After two months construction was complete and now eight modified courts are ready to be played and the two underutilised courts are a thing of the past.
Wollongong Tennis Club is now home to; 10 full sized hard courts, 4 full sized synthetic grass courts and 8 modified MLC Tennis Hot Shots courts.
The addition of the eight modified courts has seen the Wollongong Tennis Club become a regional partner of Tennis Australia. They join Tweed Heads, Port Macquarie and Bathurst councils who have been given regional partner status. The multi surfaced courts as well as a number of other welcoming facilities is a priority for Tennis Australia in encouraging more people to take up Australia’s favourite sport.