Tennis Industry magazine

 

Home of American Tennis — Open For Business!

With state-of-the-art features and technology, the 100-court USTA National Campus is poised to transform the sport.

By Peter Francesconi

After more than two years in the making, the 100-court USTA National Campus officially opened on Jan. 2 and will serve as the new home of American tennis. By any measure, the state-of-the-art, $60 million facility in Lake Nona, FL is impressive — not just for its size and sheer number of courts, but for the planning, execution and technology that went into its development.

The USTA’s goal for the facility is “to enhance the sport at every level and create an unparalleled playing, training, coaching and educational experience for recreational players, competitive players, coaches and spectators.” The facilities at Lake Nona will be the headquarters for the USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions.

“The opening of the USTA National Campus is a monumental milestone for our sport,” USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams said at a ceremony on Jan. 5 that included tennis icons, local dignitaries, partners and tennis enthusiasts. “The new Home of American Tennis will redefine how the USTA delivers on its mission and will provide a new vision for the future of tennis in the U.S.”

The USTA partnered with the Tavistock Group, along with a consortium of regional and state partners, to develop the 64-acre site, which is now one of the largest tennis facilities in the world. It will serve as the anchor of the Lake Nona Sports & Performance District, which includes the future home of Orlando City Soccer Club’s Training Center and Elite Youth Academy, the USPTA headquarters, the USTA Florida headquarters and the Lake Nona Sports and Performance Building.

The Campus will serve as a lab for sports science and allow for the testing of new and emerging technologies. It will be the home to the national training center for USTA-certified officials and will be the home to USTA University, developing future coaching, teaching pros and tournament directors.

“We want the National Campus to be a hub of innovation and a platform for developing the next generation of tennis providers and tennis facilities,” says Kurt Kamperman, chief executive for Community Tennis and USTA National Campus. “We’re already helping others develop large-scale, technologically advanced facilities in other parts of the country, and that bodes well for tennis.”

“The USTA National Campus is the heartbeat of American tennis,” adds the National Campus’ General Manager, Tim Cass. “It will become a model facility further developing and growing the game while integrating all of the pillars of tennis to innovate, inspire, motivate and educate.”

The facility will be open to the public year-round (membership not required) to serve all levels of play for all ages (court fees are $12/hour for hard courts and $15 for clay). This year alone, the USTA says it expects 80,000 to 100,000 attendees at the National Campus.

In addition, the USTA now is fully engaged in the sports tourism business — about 100 local, regional, national and international events are scheduled to take place at the National Campus in 2017. The facility will also host USTA Pro Circuit events.

The complex, which will have two championship courts, is divided into dedicated areas that will focus on “the complete tennis pathway.” There are 32 Plexicushion hard courts, 32 Har-Tru green clay courts, 16 Sport Courts, eight DecoTurf acrylic cushion courts, six European “Terre Davis” red clay courts (with more than 450 tons of imported Italian clay) an indoor facility and six Rebound Ace courts.

Features of the new USTA National Campus include:

Adidas Performance Center

This area is home to USTA Player Development and has eight DecoTurf courts and six red clay courts, along with six Rebound Ace courts in an indoor facility with LED lighting. Up to 40 players in Player Development training programs can be housed in a player lodge. The athletic training area includes a strength-and-conditioning area, a 350-foot sprint track, sand pit, indoor and outdoor workout areas, hot/cold soaking tubs, and offices for Player Development staff.

Team USA/Tournament Headquarters/League Areas

These areas feature 32 Har-Tru courts with subsurface irrigation and 20 Plexicushion courts. The two championship courts (one Har-Tru, one Plexicushion) can each seat about 500 spectators, with temporary seating available for another 500 each. A tournament administration building houses trainer rooms, officials’ area, storage, a viewing deck, restrooms and a tournament registration area. There will also be a café with patio seating. The Team USA area, in addition to hosting tournaments and league championships, will be used by the 17 USTA sections.

Nemours Family Zone

Designed for young players and adults learning the game, this area has eight 36-foot courts and eight 60-foot Sport Court PowerGame courts, with an environmentally friendly SportBase replacing the traditional cement subsurface.

USTA Welcome Center

The 50,000-square-foot, LEED-certified USTA office building includes the main check-in area, a large pro shop operated by Fromuth Tennis, a Racquet Bar for stringing and customization, locker rooms and the Net Post Grill. USTA offices are located on the second floor in an “open office space” concept.

Collegiate Area

Home of the University of Central Florida men’s and women’s tennis programs, this area includes 12 Plexicushion courts, so two dual matches can be played simultaneously. It also features a cafe, restrooms, locker rooms, coach offices and an area for trainers and officials. The high-mast court lighting is suitable for television and there is elevated seating for 1,200.

Technology

The National Campus incorporates the latest in technology, including an in-house TV network allowing for messaging and programming to be seen throughout the campus. PlaySight is the official livestreaming and court analytics partner; 32 courts are PlaySight SmartCourts and all 84 tournament courts feature live streaming. Wi-Fi will be available throughout the campus.

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.

 

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