Tennis club lauding repair job on courts

Sam Odrowski

Local tennis players were without courts in town for more than a decade and had to head over to International Falls to enjoy the game.
That all changed last summer when four tennis courts were built behind Fort Frances High School.
But after the $475,000 courts were built, players quickly noticed they were uneven and would collect water like a “bird bath” whenever it rained.
Back in July, Court Surface Specialists Ltd. of Mississauga came to resurface the courts free of charge to fix its initial mistake.
Since then, tennis club member Al Christiansen said players couldn’t be happier.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he remarked.
“Our core group was originally about eight, nine, 10 people,” Christiansen noted. “But now that they’ve repaired the courts and made them a lot nicer, everybody wants to jump on them.
“It’s just great.”
Numbers have increased to a solid group of 15-20 players, who meet each Wednesday starting at 6 p.m.
“There’s a big group of people that go out and everyone just mixes it up.” Christiansen said. “You play for a couple of hours and as far as I can tell, everyone is having a great time.”
He’s been very pleased by the turnouts the club has seen so far.
“The season has been great,” he enthused. “People are coming out more than we expected because we were without tennis for so many years.
“In the ’70s and ’80s, honestly we had 40-50 people that played all the time and then it just disappeared,” Christiansen recalled.
“So we got some of those people,” he noted. “They’re older now but they’re coming back to play again.”
Christiansen is very happy to see so many people taking advantage of the newly-surfaced courts.
“They’re incredible now,” he lauded. “We’ve never had courts like that.
“They’re world-class.”
As well, several wooden benches recently were donated by club member Pete Drouin, allowing for court users to sit down and take a break between matches.
Two courts also have lines drawn over them so pickleballers can make good use of the area, too.
Christiansen is encouraging anyone in the area with an interest in playing tennis to come on out on a Wednesday evening and try it out.
“We’re always looking for new people,” he enthused. “Anybody that hasn’t played is welcome to come on out.
“It can be just a social thing and doesn’t have to be competitive,” he stressed.
Moving forward, Christiansen will look into putting garbage containers up at the courts, as well as a backboard for people to bounce balls off of when alone and looking to practice their swing.
He is urging all town residents to make good use of the courts while the season lasts.