Million dollars of faith in city tennis
HAVING made close to a million dollar investment in regional tennis, Beau Devlin and his wife Kirstie have proven their loyalty to the city.
However, they can proudly pause for a few minutes today and reflect on their achievement at the Ipswich Tennis Centre, home of Devlin's Tennis Academy.
It's the fifth anniversary of Beau and Kirstie's launch of the complex at Tivoli, marked by a recent $120,000 upgrade of the five hard courts and surrounding features.
"When we first bought it, you are always a bit worried whether it's a good idea or not,'' Ipswich born and bred coach Beau said.
"But to see that we've got through the next few years and up to the fifth year is always nice.
"It's always nice to know that people are enjoying the centre that you tried to put together for them.''
Beau and Kirstie purchased the three acre facility in October 2010, devoting countless hours since in making it a family friendly place to learn and play tennis.
Five years later, their recent centre upgrade includes three new tournament-standard hard courts, painted in red, white and grey.
"The colour scheme makes the coaching every day and night fixtures a pleasure to play due to the lights picking up the grey tone to make it feel like daytime,'' Beau said.
"We've got a couple of things kicking off now that we've actually got the five courts all on the same surface.''
That includes a Friday afternoon schools challenge where any school in Ipswich can take part in three divisions (covering years 4 to 12).
Ipswich Tennis Centre players are also involved with in-house competitions as well as supporting the Saturday Tennis Ipswich fixtures.
"That's going really well,'' Beau said, having long supported junior development in the city.
The current school and junior competitions finish in late November with plans to start again in January.
Ipswich Tennis Centre co-owner and head coach Beau Devlin is keen to see the schools challenge expand in the new year.
"We have got a unique take on it where even if a school isn't represented, a team can still enter as an independent team,'' he said, eager to help smaller schools become involved.
"It encourages everybody to participate, not just the schools with tennis programs.''
Beau's wife Kirstie has played an important role co-ordinating all the competitions.
Beau, 32, has coached for 15 years, having played the game for 27 years.
"We're really happy with the number of courts we've got now,'' Beau said.
"We're happy with the actual centre's development as a whole.
"Now I get to actually go back and put my coaching cap back on again and focus 100 percent on coaching, as opposed to doing both.
"We get to run more tournaments here now because we've got five of the same surface.''
The entire centre has been upgraded, including new shade trees which are welcome in the summer months.
"Lots of people have commented how they feel inspired to play good tennis when they have a unique place like this to train and play in the Ipswich region,'' Beau said.