New tennis center opens in Opelika - WRBL

New tennis center opens in Opelika

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OPELIKA, Ala. -

Opelika unveiled eight new tennis courts at Marriott on Robert Trent Jones Trail Tuesday morning.

It is an effort to attract tourists and host tennis tournaments for players from around the country.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller got to hit the first serve at the Marriott at Grand National Tennis Center. Fortunately for him, he didn't fault. He got to hit a few balls on courts that he says will bring visitors to Opelika.

"This is a great, great facility," said Mayor Fuller. "This is a great day in Opelika. I look forward to having a lot of tournaments and visitors in our community."

Some of the groundwork for tournament play is already in place because of a partnership with Auburn courts.

 "We've partnered a lot with the Yarborough tennis center in Auburn," said Opelika Marriott General Manager Jay Prater. "They have been very successful in bringing tennis tournaments into our area for several years now. With the addition of these eight clay tennis courts, we are able to get larger tournaments than they were able to bring in before."

They also have four pickle ball courts. It is a new sport that uses a whiffle ball and paddles. But, the main attraction is tennis

With eight new clay courts, officials think this could be a destination for the best players in east Alabama to play tournaments.

The center is trying to bring a Wimbledon feel to Opelika. Even the preacher who prayed during the ceremony tried to find scripture that could reference tennis.

 "The only verse I could think of is in 1st Samuel," said Reverend George Matheson. "It says, "and David served in Saul's court."

Opelika hopes tourists come by and bring their racquets.

Marriott management says they will have a tennis pro shop to go with the new courts.  It should open in about a month.

Dayne Young

Dayne is a sports anchor and reporter for WRBL. He started covering the Chattahoochee Valley in September 2012. More>>

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