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Serve it up: Improvements coming to Borden Park tennis courts

Matthew Lane • Updated Jun 11, 2018 at 12:31 PM

KINGSPORT — There’s a reason why the fencing around four of the tennis courts at Borden Park has been removed.

It’s just the first step of a larger project in which all six courts will be resurfaced and have new nets installed.

The fencing around the four courts was removed last month to meet the time availability of the demolition contractor, and since then no noticeable work has taken place.

Suzanne Burns and her son Jared tried to play a round of tennis this week on the fenceless courts and found it somewhat challenging.

“We’re going to give it our best shot and try to keep the balls inside the court,” Suzanne said. “We normally play on the other courts (at Borden Park), but somebody smashed a bunch of glass, and unfortunately there’s no brooms to sweep it off.”

Parks and Recreation Manager Kitty Frazier said the fencing work on the four-court pad should start next week. The two-court pad will be keeping its existing fencing. By the end of summer, Frazier said all six courts will be resurfaced complete with new net systems.

A $10,000 US Tennis Association grant is helping with the funding of the project. Frazier said the total estimated cost of the work is around $100,000.

“It’s great. I’m glad they’re doing this,” said Bob Rogers, who came out to Borden Park this week with his daughter Willa to practice her serving.

The Rogers are a tennis family. Bob grew up playing tennis. Willa, 15, plays for Dobyns-Bennett and in USTA tournaments. Her sisters and her cousins all play tennis.

“We’re either here or at D-B a lot, definitely on a weekly basis,” Bob said. “We like these courts because they’re a little quieter than D-B.”

It’s a noisy corner and more windy than Borden, Willa said.

Though they like what Kingsport is doing with the courts at Borden Park, the Rogerses think Kingsport could do much more in the tennis arena.

“Unfortunately, Kingsport doesn’t really have the facilities to grow their tennis much. We’re probably a little behind Bristol and Johnson City,” Bob said. “We’d like to see them build more (courts). It’s pretty low cost for the return you get, and I think interest is growing locally because the professional tennis scene is so interesting now.

“(Roger) Federer and (Rafael) Nadal are the best, and there’s a lot of towns that’s picked up interest in tennis because of that great rivalry.”

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