Tennis popular in Petrolia but courts need work

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Krista Mueller says the rise of Canadian tennis stars Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic has fostered a tennis boom.

And the LCCVI tennis coach says the town’s lone tennis court needs some work to keep up with the demand.

Mueller told town councilors Monday the high school fielded a tennis team this year. It was the first time in 25 years. She was expecting four or five people, instead 27 people showed up.

She attributes the surge in interest to the young Canadians who are doing well now.

The team practiced at the Mary Beach Courts just off Robert Street “every single day in the fall.”

Mueller says the team did well, with one of the students making it to regional play.

“We are very thankful for the courts we have…but we respectfully ask the town consider resurfacing them.”

Mueller says the cracks which were repaired years ago are reappearing. The courts were also covered with a rubberized surface as a quick fix at the time. When it rains, Mueller says practice is called because it is too slippery to play. One student has already rolled her ankle on the cracks.

“We couldn’t run a lot of the drills because we didn’t feel sometimes it was safe,” she added.

Mueller researched the cost – finding a local man, Daniel Barry, who would resurface the court for about $13,000 – about half of what the other companies quoted.

And she says the high school is willing to help raise the money through a silent auction during the spring parent/teacher interviews. She also approached community groups who are considering donating to the project.

Mueller’s son, Matt, who played on the Little Caesar’s Junior Tour this summer, added his support to the cause saying often he and his friends have to wait for the courts because they’re in use when they arrive.

“In the summer and fall, I play every day …this year on Boxing Day got to play because of the weather,” he says. “With the cracks and the asphalt, it is hard to play, when the sun heats up the asphalt you can slide a bit on it and it can lead to really bad injuries, too.”

The teen, who offers free tennis lessons to his friends, offered to contribute $100 of his Christmas money to the project.

“I am so thrilled to see young people coming with request but also with a suggestion how they might help that’s hugely helpful,” says Councilor Mary Pat Gleeson.

Councilor Grant Purdy agreed adding while he was campaigning this fall, many people asked him about the state of the tennis courts.

Dave Menzies, director of community services, says the town repaired the court several years ago and has plans for two more courts behind the Oil Heritage District Community Centre. Those plans are two years off.

Administrators will take a look at Mueller’s proposal and report back to council on the issue.

 

 

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