The expansion of the Goodfriend Tennis Center began in May, and when it finished, it will make the indoor facility at UT one of the best in the nation.
The construction will be done in phases, much like the ongoing construction at Neyland Stadium, and the headline of the initial phase will be the expansion from four to six indoor courts.
Women’s tennis co-head coach Mike Patrick believes the addition of the two courts will have a big impact on the tennis programs at UT.
“It’s the first phase of a three-phase project, and it will certainty enhance our season quite a bit,” Patrick said. “It will cut down our match times tremendously. It’ll really improve our practice situation and our indoor home-match play an incredible amount.
“Our men’s and women’s teams both practice (in the center), and with the extra courts, it will allow us to have a little bit more flexibility in our practice times and how we do certain things.”
Tennessee had previously been unable to host an SEC or NCAA Championship Tournament because the center only had four indoor courts.
In addition to the two new courts, other improvements in the initial phase include major renovations to the coaches’ offices and team training rooms, a new players’ lounge and new locker rooms for both the men’s and women’s teams. The total cost of the first phase is around $3 million.
The construction for the first phase is expected to be completed in January, in time for the indoor tennis season.
According to http://www.utsports.com, the indoor center opened in 1997, and the men’s and women’s teams began using the facility following the 1998 season. It hosted the 1998 SEC Indoor Championships during its inaugural season and has hosted UT’s annual O'Charley's Tennis Classic since 1998.
Future phases are expected to expand the outdoor stands at court level, a new three-story club house and press box, a new hospitality area and a new strength-and-conditioning area.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have enjoyed their share of success recently.
The men’s team won the SEC regular season and tournament titles and finished 31-2 after losing in the NCAA Championship to USC. The women’s team finished 19-9 and advanced to the finals of the SEC tournament and to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
With the improvements to the indoor center, Patrick believes the tennis programs at Tennessee will become even more successful in the future.
“Once we get the six courts (completed) and get everything finished (in future phases), it will be on par with the best indoor facilities in the country,” Patrick said. “It will be better for our players and our fans, and it will allow us to host some tournaments that we haven’t been able to host before and just give us a lot of possibilities.”
Goodfriend Tennis Center to be one of the nation’s best
Published: Tue Jul 20, 2010