The court, said Player Capital Director Michael Jessup, is "an opportunity for our community to experience a different side of tennis filled with graceful sliding and longer points, allowing us to experience what we see at the French Open."
In a report to the City Council, Mr. Jessup said the clay court offers several advantages over a more conventional court. The clay surface makes the tennis game a little slower, he said, "making it great for beginners and senior players alike." The surface is also easier on the player's body, he said.
The court will give junior players a chance to practice playing on clay before competing on it, he said. Mr. Jessup also noted that "no other public facility offers a clay court to its residents."
The courts are available to the public through the purchase of a tennis key for the annual cost of $50 a year for residents and $200 a year for non-residents. Mr. Jessup has asked to raise the key costs for residents by $50 a year to help pay the costs of maintaining the clay court, estimated to be about $1,000 a year more than conventional courts at $2,500 annually. An increase has not yet been approved by the council.
Residents with tennis keys will be able to use the court — at no additional charge — from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to sunset. Non-residents with keys will pay $30 an hour to Player Capital to use the court at other times, when it is not being used by Player Capital.
The court also requires the use of an estimated 1,400 gallons of water a week, which will come from wells in the park.
Natasha Rajaram, the daughter of donors Tamara and Gokul Rajaram, trains on the Atherton courts with Player Capital and is a top-ranked national junior player, Mr. Jessup said. She recently won a national sportsmanship award, he said.
The court was designed by Chris Kummerer & Associates architects and installed by Saviano Co., Inc.
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