New tennis centre serves a crowd
THE sport of tennis could be set for a return to the limelight in Ipswich after a new centre in Tivoli opened to mass interest.
In the past 10-15 years, the sales of racquets in the city has decreased and courts have been shut down.
But Beau Devlin, who opened the Ipswich Tennis Centre recently, said while he was taken back by the interest in the sport from locals, he always knew there was a market.
“Tennis here used to be very popular 10 or so years ago and I’m not sure why it died off,” Devlin said.
“We have had packed courts here at the new centre and it shows that the interest in the sport is out there.
“Rugby league is the biggest sport but tennis is growing again.
“We have a lot of juniors coming in which is great for the future of the sport.”
Devlin said tennis had one trump card in its favour that few sports had. It’s the fact an entire family can participate in the game at the same time.
“With tennis you can have a family come down and the mum can play in a women’s match the kids can play in a junior game and the dad can play in a men’s game,” he said.
“Other sports such as rugby league don’t have that family atmosphere and the social aspect is not as good either.
“You can’t have young teens play 40-year-olds in rugby league.”
Devlin is a long-term professional coach in Ipswich who dreamed of running a tennis centre in his home town.
The Tivoli-based centre only had three courts when Devlin took it over.
It now has five courts and a cafe as well as lighting installed.
“This was my dream to open a tennis centre that I could coach at,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing experience and to see it up and running is incredible.”
Devlin began his coaching career at Top Sport Tennis and Fitness (the old Denman’s Centre at Brassall).
But in a sign of past struggles for the sport the site was sold for development.
“This Boundary St I’m at now looked like it was going to go the same way but we got in here,” he said.
There are four major tennis centres in Ipswich.
The George Alder centre (Leichhardt), Chermside Road (East Ipswich), Brassall (Ipswich Grammar) and now the Ipswich Tennis Centre.
Devlin has ambitious plans for the site.
He will be organising monthly tournaments and already has both competitive and social nights for all ages and genders.
“We want to really help people become better tennis players but also allow for fun social competition and I’m not sure if tennis centres have managed that well in Ipswich in the past,” Devlin said.