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With tennis facing competition from sports such as Padel and Pickleball along with the ever-increasing demand for real estate and the frequency of local parks closing access to space has never been so keenly sought. Numerous stakeholders such as tennis coaches, tennis centre operators, schools and local sports associations are all on the lookout for venues to accommodate their needs.

Most tennis centre operators got involved in the running of centres through a genuine love of the game, a desire to grow the game and to see generations of players develop lifelong skills.

In recent years tennis has become a reflection of society with increased land prices, leases and cost of living having a significant impact on the industry. As a result, operators have had to think outside the square as they looked for alternative income streams to help ease the pressure.

One of the most popular methods of attracting additional income streams has been the introduction of multi-sport courts. Tennis centres with many courts have converted courts into Padel and Pickleball courts in a bid to capture the growing number of participants in these sports whilst also keeping the in the tennis environment.

A lack of suitable venues and availability has also seen many tennis courts being used for team sports such as netball, hockey, touch football and futsal. With these sports being played on the synthetic grass courts weather is rarely an issue which guarantees play for the participants and the increased number of players also provides a spike in income for the centre operator.

Schools are also making the most of the access, availability, and proximity of tennis courts to ensure their team trainings can go ahead year-round. With local councils often closing parks and ovals due to inclement weather having access to a court is like gold for a school who can organise coaches, buses, and parental pick-ups without the threat of bad weather intervening.

Tennis centres with the multi-sport option are also proving invaluable to schools who may be going through a development on their grounds and as a result don’t have room for the children to play at lunchtime or for P.E classes. A quick and easy solution is to bring the class to the tennis courts where the kids can run around in a safe space and the teachers can run a class the same way they would run one out on an oval or in a park. This also provides another source of revenue for the tennis centre.

The tennis purists lament the fact that there are numerous lines on the tennis courts which make it confusing and “not tennis” and are often left frustrated when they can not make a tennis booking due to the courts being used for other sports and feel they are last on the pecking order when it comes to court time.

With other sports also come more wear and tear on the courts. Hockey sticks or other equipment being dug into the court surface, netball posts being dragged into position and more bodies running up and down the court can see a courts life significantly shortened. In turn, this can lead to disgruntlement from tennis players who are left playing on a substandard court.

As with all relationships, compromise might just be the key for ensuring that everyone is happy. The ideal setting would be to have enough tennis courts to keep an amount for tennis only where you can develop aspiring juniors whilst at the same time having enough courts to fulfill the needs of the other racquet sports, multi sports and local schools which will also help the centre operators pay their staff and their leases.

In today’s age of short attention spans, high cost of living and lack of space for tennis courts, centre operators need to answer the question in today’s environment are multi-sport courts a must have or a misuse of their facility and understand the outcomes that may occur with each decision.


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