Clay bid to mould the next Barty

Robertson Park Tennis Centre juniors Daniel, Manaka and Ichi.

ROBERTSON PARK is in the running to become an incubator of tennis talent, with Vincent council hoping to woo Tennis West into investing in six clay courts.

Tennis West has been scouting venues around the city to find a place to build six new clay courts and reckons Robertson Park is looking like the best spot.

There’s a shortfall of clay courts in Perth, and more are needed for high performance training for junior athletes. Clay courts are expensive but they’d mean Robertson Park could host tournaments, and they’re easy on the knees so they’d also provide a playspace for seniors.

Vincent councillors have endorsed a $5 million redevelopment plan for the park which involves revamping 18 existing tennis courts, converting some for multi-purpose use 

so netballers can share them, turning some courts back to open parkland, and upgrading the surrounding park. They’re hoping to share the cost with funds from state government grants, Tennis West and Tennis Australia. 

The council’s now in negotiations to finalise the deal for Tennis West to cover the cost of clay on six of the 18 courts.

Tennis West CEO Brett Patten said in a media release they were excited to have clay courts for year-round training by junior and pro players to help get more local players developing skills for the world stage.

“The community will also have the opportunity to play on this unique surface that is easier on the body and plays 10-15 degrees cooler than a traditional hard court,” Mr Patten said.

“Tennis West will continue working closely with the City of Vincent and are supportive of their plans for the entire redevelopment of Robertson Park.”

Vincent mayor Emma Cole said the clay courts provided a point of difference but were not previously considered due to higher implementation and ongoing maintenance costs.

“With the interest from Tennis West to fund, construct and maintain the six clay courts we’d love to take up this opportunity. Clay courts provide a great option for young players who aspire to be the next Ash Barty and older players as the cooler surface is softer on the knees,” Ms Cole told the Voice.

While the negotiations play out the council’s also applying for $1.3m of state government sports grants. It’s secured $100,000 so far as part of an election pledge by Perth MP John Carey.


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