USTA Announces Plans To Build New $60M Major Tennis Center Outside Of Orlando
The USTA today unveiled plans for a $60M training and tournament center at Lake Nona, Fla., that will become the "new home of American tennis" by the end of '16, according to Mary Shanklin of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The center will have "more than 100 courts -- about double the playing space of a Mobile, Ala., tennis facility now considered the nation's largest." The 63-acre project will house the USTA's Community Tennis and Player Development divisions and "foster the growth of tennis with training and events" for players at all levels. The center also "would become the home" of the UCF varsity tennis program (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/14). USA TODAY's Douglas Robson notes the aim is to "establish an A-to-Z pathway for growing the sport from the youngest players to established pros." The project "includes tax incentives from state, city and county officials -- including a dirt-cheap long-term lease for the land." The center marks the "most ambitious burst of development in USTA history," and will "rival the Nick Bollettieri-founded IMG Academy near Tampa." Lake Nona could host "a range of events, from junior and USTA league championships to Challenger-level tournaments to Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties." USTA Exec Dir & COO Gordon Smith said of the association's current White Plains, N.Y. HQ, "It really doesn't make any sense for the national governing body to be delivering a mission from a glass box in Westchester County. We are going to be delivering our mission from a state-of-the-art-facility that will allow us to support and grow the game like never before." The USTA's player development HQ, now located in Boca Raton, Fla., will "relocate to the new site." Meanwhile, the USTA "has no plans to uproot" the U.S. Open (USA TODAY, 5/14).