Reston officials, residents and children cut the ribbon on the new under 10 children’s tennis courts Saturday, May 19. Six courts were created out of two previously existing full sized ones.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
Reston The Reston Association opened six junior sized tennis courts near Lake Anne Saturday, May 19, allowing the youngest members of the community a chance to get a head start on the game. The courts are for children 10 and under, and were built out of two existing courts at the North Shore Tennis Courts.
"These six courts represent a permanent place for young children to learn and play the game of tennis in Reston," said Ken Knueven, RA board president. "These are just the kinds of projects I support, taking one of our existing facilities and breathing new life and new uses into it."
The courts were built with assistance from a $17,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association. USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Executive Director Rod Dulany said that the courts are the first group of their kind in the mid-Atlantic.
The courts are 36-feet long, compared with the regulation-sized 78 feet. Children also use special rackets and balls that are 15 percent bigger, but don’t bounce as high, giving them the chance to hit shots back without the high-speed bounces of the adult game.
"I think it’s an amazing thing for this community to put together for our children," said Ralph Crespo of Reston. "Tennis is one of those games where it can be hard to get kids involved, they just can’t get a ball and toss it back and forth in a field. They need rackets, the right kind of balls and surface to play, and I think it’s cool that we’re giving an opportunity to get kids involved at an early age."
Emily Arden, 9, said she likes playing tennis because it gives her a chance to compete by herself.
"I like playing soccer and basketball, but tennis is my favorite because it’s just me playing against another person, no team," she said. "I like being on a team, but I really like having to count on myself to get the points, play defense and win."
It wasn’t long after the ribbon was cut on the courts that children flocked to the courts, with some of the younger ones volleying back shots from instructors, and the older ones playing informal games such as "King of the Court," where one team tries to fend off challengers who try and become the "kings" or "queens" by winning the points.
"What’s really cool is that these courts give children a place to call their own," said Larry Butler, director of the RA’s Parks and Recreation department. "They can even kick the adults off should they need the space to play."
The RA’s tennis program features about 2,000 children who take lessons, can receive scholarships and more than 50 from the nearby Laurel Learning Center.