Tennis is no longer a sport only for the uber-rich. Thanks to role models like Serena and Venus Williams as well as initiatives like Michelle Obama’s to get courts in low-income areas of the country, more people than ever are interested in picking up a racket and starting a volley. That’s a good thing, too — tennis is one of the most beneficial sports for challenging the mind and body. Tennis requires both strength and agility as well as creativity and quick-thinking, making it an excellent athletic endeavor for anyone, young or old, rich or poor.
Unfortunately, though tennis is gaining popularity, not everyone can afford to put a tennis court in their backyard. If you are looking for ways to scratch your tennis itch, here are a few places you can look for a court and get better at this fun and fascinating sport.
The first place you should look for a free court is your local public park. Especially in larger parks, tennis courts have become a staple like basketball courts and soccer fields, so it might be worth your time to walk around a few local parks and identify the public courts in your area. Some cities require you to reserve the courts ahead of time and acquire a key from a nearby recreation center, but most public tennis courts are always available to anyone interested in play.
If you don’t have a tennis court in a public park near you, you might consider petitioning for one. You can submit a request to your municipal parks and recreation department, or you might look into the U.S. Tennis Association’s Tennis In the Parks (TIP) program, which provides resources for establishing and sustaining tennis in public parks.
Not all schools have tennis programs, but the ones that do often have tennis courts on campus for student tennis athletes to practice on and play matches.
Many schools close their campuses to keep out potential threats, but sometimes on the weekends, schools open access to sports fields and courts, so the community can benefit. You might do some research into which public and private schools in your area have tennis programs and which have on-site courts. Then, you might call the school offices to inquire about using the courts when class isn’t in session. Typically, you will need to reserve time on these courts, so you don’t interfere with the school’s tennis practices.
Hotels and Resorts
Expensive hotels like to offer a plethora of amenities to guests, many of whom are looking for luxurious rest and relaxation — which often includes a casual tennis match. A large resort will typically have a couple courts on their premises, usually near recreation areas like pools or spas. Ostensibly, you need to be a guest to use the resort courts, but not all resorts are sticklers for this rule. If you don’t have to procure a key or passcode to enter the courts, you can probably use the resort courts whenever you wish, much as you would a court in a public park. However, if you do need to sign some kind of form or submit a room number to reach the court, this solution won’t work.
No matter where you are, you can find a nearby country club that has tennis courts — but the courts are only available to paying members. For decades, country clubs were the only places you could play sports like tennis, racquetball and golf, which is why these sports have long been associated with the upper classes: Only the privileged could afford the steep membership dues to access the courts. These days, there are more country clubs, but monthly or annual fees can still be quite costly. Then again, tennis courts on country club properties are all but guaranteed to be clean and well-maintained, so if you have the disposable income and the desire for a quality tennis experience, the costs might be worthwhile.
If you find that irregular access to tennis courts is cramping your technique, it might be beneficial to seek out a seasonal tennis camp. Tennis camps are short-term events, usually held during summertime, when amateur tennis players can receive training and instruction from high-quality coaches, even celebrity tennis players. There are camps for all levels of players, from junior tennis camps to adult camps and even semi-professional camps, so you can almost certainly find an experience that suits your needs and style.
Finally, if none of the above solutions are suitable, you might turn to the web to find tennis courts near you. There are a few websites that offer maps where tennis courts have been geo-tagged by fellow tennis players, like Tennis Maps or the Global Tennis Network. You might also use social media to engage with your fellow local tennis players and ask them where they play. This might also get you involved in your tennis community, guaranteeing you a few fun matches per week.
Tennis is a thrilling sport that everyone should have access to. If you spend some time looking into the courts near you, you should be able to find a home court where you can practice your skill.