(CITY OF MEMPHIS RELEASE) – The City of Memphis, the University of Memphis and Tennis Memphis have partnered to renovate the Leftwich Tennis Center in Audubon Park. With the completion of this project, the University, and all Memphians will have a world class facility all their own. The majority of the funding has been privately raised with $3 million coming from the City of Memphis and an additional $5 million from the University.
“I can’t say enough about how excited I am for this project to begin,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “And, I’m not the only one. The philanthropic support shown for this has been exceptional. Not only will this be a tremendous asset for the University, but it will be a true gem for our community and all tennis lovers.”
Located on Southern Ave. just east of the University of Memphis campus, the new Leftwich will remain a public tennis center open for the use of all citizens for leisure and competitive tennis play, teaching and clinics. In addition, it will serve as the home of the Tigers men’s and women’s tennis teams. The Racquet Club of Memphis, which closed this past spring, had been the home of the University’s tennis teams since 2009.
“The University of Memphis has been working very closely in partnership with the City of Memphis and Tennis Memphis on the new home for our Tigers men’s and women’s tennis programs,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “It will be one of the finest tennis facilities in the country, one that all Memphians will be proud of. It is fitting that this is a City-University project because there is a tremendous amount of momentum both on our beautiful campus and in our wonderful city.”
The new facility will be dramatically improved featuring 32 courts, including 20 outdoor and 12 indoor. Leftwich Tennis Center currently has eight outdoor and four indoor courts.
“Being a lifelong Memphian and Tiger, I am so excited about this partnership between a University that is in my blood and a city that is dear to my heart,” said University of Memphis interim athletic director Allie Prescott. “The new Leftwich Tennis Center will be phenomenal, and our men’s and women’s tennis teams will be able to play and train in what will be one of the nation’s best. I am extremely thankful for the leadership of Mayor Strickland and President Rudd and for the generosity of so many of our wonderful donors. This would not be possible without all of them.”
“What an amazing time for tennis in Memphis,” said Memphis head men’s tennis coach Paul Goebel. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will benefit the University of Memphis tennis programs along with numerous local tennis groups and players. It will now be possible to host major events that will attract thousands of out-of-town visitors each year. The facility will be open to anyone and will give locals a fantastic place to come and enjoy playing tennis daily.”
Leftwich Tennis Center will be able to attract major national tennis tournaments as well as NCAA and conference championships.
“The project between the City of Memphis and the University of Memphis is very exciting and will provide all Memphis tennis players a great venue to call home,” said Memphis head women’s tennis coach Hayden Perez. “The facility will play an important role in the recruiting process as we attempt to attract the best junior players from around the world to the University of Memphis. We will have the ability to host different types of junior and professional events for our future and current players, and it will aid in their development. I am looking forward to the next phases in the process.”
The men’s and women’s tennis teams will play and practice at MUS, Rhodes College and other public tennis centers throughout the city until construction is completed in January 2021.