Westburn Tennis Centre’s revamped outdoor courts have been revealed – with game chiefs saying they’ll “build on the enthusiasm for the game” in the north-east.
Five outdated blaes courts in the city’s Westburn Park have been replaced with four all-weather ones in a £250,000 investment.
Sport Aberdeen, who run Aberdeen’s sports facilities, put forward £150,000, with £50,000 from Tennis Scotland and £50,000 from sportscotland.
Sport Aberdeen chairman Colin G Taylor, city council co-leader Jenny Laing and Tennis Scotland’s chairman and chief executive, Scott Martin and Blane Dodds, opened the new facility and unveiled a commemorative plaque.
Martin and Dodds then took to the court to test out the surface for the first time.
Chairman Martin said the courts are perfect for attracting beginners and developing their skills, in contrast to artificial grass and other more unpredictable surfaces. He added: “It’s a good surface for all players.
“It’s a good, even bounce for developing technique and because it’s new, modern and looks good, people will come and use it.
“This creates a bit more capacity on the indoor courts as well. Before the five old and battered outdoor courts were a bit of a dead space.”
The outdoor facilities at Westburn will now be in use year round. Martin said: “It’s an all-weather surface. In Aberdeen you get a lot of cold, dry days, but this will be playable 12 months of the year.
“It’s porous macadam – when it does rain it dries out pretty quickly.”
The redevelopment of the courts at Westburn has brought them up to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)’s highest standard – meaning it’s the only non-private facility in the north-east suitable for high-profile events.
Competitive play between top players on the slow, high-bounce courts will offer fitness and tactical challenges, according to Martin.
The redevelopment comes after the LTA announced plans to use Westburn as a local player development centre for players under-10 – the first step on their elite pathway.
There are also plans for a regional player development centre (10-14-year-olds) in the north-east, which will then feed into the national academies for players 14+.
However, Dodds hopes the courts will be just as useful in capitalising on growing interest in tennis and getting non- and irregular players playing regularly. He said: “There’s a thriving tennis community in Aberdeen, not just with Sport Aberdeen, but with local clubs like Rubislaw and Cults.
“It’s building on that enthusiasm for the game up here. Something like the courts can only help this.
“I think there’ll be a real demand.”