Texas Tennis deserves proper home

On March 24, it was announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association that University of Texas tennis player Søren Hess-Olesen had reached the pinnacle of tennis rankings: the No. 1 male singles tennis player in the nation. The ironic thing is that Hess-Olesen and his talented Longhorn teammates (who were also announced March 24 as the seventh-ranked team in the country!) do not have a home stadium to play their outdoor matches in this season.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams started the home season playing at the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center indoor facility several miles away from campus in Steiner Ranch, and since outdoor season got under way, they have been forced to play outdoor matches west of campus at the Caswell Tennis Center, a historic municipal recreation facility that is anything but fan-friendly. In fact, several of the courts are not viewable from the grandstand, and there are no locker room facilities for the players. 

Imagine how visiting teams react to that.

Some outdoor matches are even farther west of campus at the Westwood Country Club near Mount Bonnell or at the Intramural Fields near 51st Street north of campus.

The Penick-Allison Tennis Center was the University’s former men’s and women’s home tennis stadium for almost 30 years until it was demolished after last season to make way for the Dell Medical School. Imagine that happening to any other UT athletic team. If the football or baseball or basketball stadiums were torn down, there would have been years of preparation to ensure the team would seamlessly transition to a new and improved facility. But this has not happened with the Texas tennis teams, and no announcement has been made about constructing a new tennis facility.

The University should be ashamed of the way the Texas tennis teams and their fans have been treated this season. This is unacceptable and definitely not the meaning of “We Are Texas.”

— Bobby French, Texas Tennis fan and resident of Austin.