A new “world-class tennis facility” is coming to Memphis, the city, along with the University of Memphis and local organization Tennis Memphis announced Monday.
The three entities are partnering to renovate Leftwich Tennis near Audubon Park into what officials call a “state-of-the-art facility.” The $19 million project will “dramatically improve” the facility with the construction of 32 new courts. Twenty of those will be outdoors, and 12 will be indoors. The center currently has 12 courts in total.
Upon completion, the renovated Leftwich Tennis Center will remain a public facility open to the community for competitive and recreational play, as well as tennis lessons and clinics. It will also be the new home courts for the men's and women’s Tiger tennis teams.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was at Leftwich Monday for the announcement. He said the new facility will be a “true gem” for the community.
"I can't say enough about how excited I am for this project to begin," Strickland said. "And I'm not the only one. The philanthropic support shown for this has been exceptional. Not only will this be a tremendous asset for the University, but it will be a true gem for our community and all tennis lovers."
Officials said the majority of funding for the project was raised privately, while $3 million is coming from the city and $5 million from the university.
U of M president M. David Rudd said the tennis center will be “one of the finest in the country, one that all Memphians will be proud of."
Paul Goebel, coach of the U of M men’s tennis team said the new facility will be fit to host major events, such as national tennis tournaments and NCAA and conference championships. Goebel anticipates that will “attract thousands of out-of-town visitors each year.”
The new facility is slated to be completed by January 2021.