Although the clamor of
other sports seems to have drowned out the tennis fan, the sport is
still holding its own. It may be down a bit from the 70s,
observed Don Roche, owner of Pavecoat of Wisconsin, Inc. But its
very popular in the high schools. All the schools have courts. What
starts as kids play becomes adult exercise. Many of those adult
players dream of having their own court. Golf may have taken over a
little bit, added Jim Comp, owner of Sport Court of Milwaukee. But
we are still building a lot of courts.
The typical tennis court
does take up quite a slice of the backyard. A full size court is
120 feet by 60 feet, said Roche. Depending on your needs, the court
can be made somewhat smaller. It depends if you are serious about
tennis or just want to use it for exercise, said Comp. It could
be anywhere from 100 to 120 by 55 for example. Half courts are
another possibility. We can install a sport court with a rebounder
on a half court, ex-plained Comp. You can use it with anything
but golf balls. They come back at you a
Once you decide on the
size of the court, you need to choose a surface. For practical
reasons, grass and clay are rarely used in Wisconsin. Clay is very
high maintenance, noted Roche. It has to be groomed and raked
daily. Grass and clay are softer and easier on the legs, but the
ball plays slower.
A hard surface, while
more of a physical grind, greatly increases the speed of the ball.
Asphalt remains the most common surface because of the low cost and
maintenance associated with it, but it does need to be resurfaced
every seven to eight years.
If regular resurfacing
doesnt sound appealing, then you might want to invest in a sport
court, a half inch suspended surface with an open grid. There
really isnt any maintenance except for blowing off leaves,
explained Comp. The courts are pitched for runoff. You can even
snow blow as long as you dont have chains on the wheels.
The sports court "before."rt.
Sport court customers
certainly seem to like the look and feel of the surface. The court
comes in any combination of 20 different colors.
Weve done green and
blue courts, said Comp. Theyre pretty cool looking. Tennis
instructor Nancy Terrian of Pewaukee teaches on her dads full-size
tennis sport court in Elm Grove. It looks beautiful all the time,
Terrians father, Carl
Tyggum of Elm Grove, an avid tennis player, had his backyard asphalt
tennis court recovered with a sport court last year. Its
absolutely wonderful, Terrian said. With the asphalt you had to
wait hours for the court to dry after it rained. Now its dry within
One of the most notable
differences to Terrian was the way the ball played on the sport court.
It has the feel of clay, but the playability of a hard court,
she said. It has a lot of give to it and is much easier on the
legs. I can teach for hours, come off and have no pain. I wish more
high schools had them.
To install a sport court
over an existing tennis court can run $18,000 to $20,000. Building one
from the ground up is even more. Youd have to install a hard
surface like asphalt or concrete first, said Comp. That brings
the price up. But because of the low maintenance, the long term cost
If you love the idea of a
sport court surface, but cant stomach the price tag just for a
tennis court, you might want to consider using it for other things.
Combo courts are the hot trend. Some tennis courts have basketball
on the ends or the side and are also used for volleyball, said
Terrian agreed that combo
courts are good for a lot of people. That way you dont have to
turn your driveway into a basketball court, she observed. Besides
net sports, a combo court can be used for other popular activities
like rollerblading. The sport court surface can even be frozen in the
winter for ice skating.
Of course, the court
surface isnt all you need. Nets, net poles and perhaps even soft
netting or a chain link fence around the outside of the court need to
be figured into the cost. The netting not only provides a
windscreen, it helps you play, explained Terrian. You can see
the ball better. Since tennis tends to be a four to five month
sport outdoors, you may want to consider options that can extend your
season. Lights are available for night play, noted Comp.
Tennis is a lifelong
sport and many people have chosen to enjoy it in their own backyard.
If you do decide to spring for your own court, at least you wont
have to holler, We got next! Unless your kids are already hoopin
it up on your combo court.