While you might think everyone in Music City spends their days strumming a guitar, many Nashvillians much prefer the sound of a tennis ball coming off their racket strings. I grew up playing junior tennis tournaments in Nashville, TN, and could not be more excited to feature this city on today’s edition of Play Local. The Nashville area has excellent public and indoor tennis facilities as well as tournaments and events year round. Join MyTennisLessons in Nashville to find out why tennis is making a racket in Tennessee’s capital.
Olympians in the Athens of the South
Every Nashville resident has at least once visited downtown’s premier entertainment venue Bridgestone Arena to see a sporting event, theatrical production or musical artist. While many flocked to the arena this year to see Katy Perry or Disney’s Frozen on Ice, Nashvillians also had the unique opportunity in March to watch tennis legends play exhibition matches as part of the PowerShare Series tennis circuit. Pat Cash, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors reprised their 1984 U.S. Open matches for the Nashville audience, with McEnroe winning the tournament title. With the PowerShare circuit making about 12 stops each year, only a few cities can say they’ve revisited a piece of Grand Slam history!
A Southern Tradition
Tennessee breeds tennis talent like former world no. 4 Roscoe Tanner of Chattanooga and 2000 Australian Open quarterfinalist Chris Woodruff of Knoxville. Nashville’s own Brian Baker has also made a name for himself in the tennis world. Baker achieved an ATP ranking high of no. 52 in 2012 and progressed to the fourth round of Wimbledon that year. In his junior career he was ranked no. 2 in the world, losing to Stan Wawrinka in the finals of the 2003 French Open. While his tennis accolades are numerous, Baker is known around Nashville as the assistant coach of the Belmont University men’s tennis team.
Serving Others in the Volunteer State
Nashville residents’ service game is on point. Each year since 1973 the Music City Tennis Invitational Tournament has invited players of all levels to team up for a doubles round robin benefitting the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. To date, the philanthropy event has raised more than $1.5 million. An annual pre-tournament concert puts a special Nashville spin on this fundraiser. Mark your calendar April 18-19 for this year’s tournament!
That’s Music to My Ears
Nashville tends to get a bit nippy in the winter, but luckily indoor tennis facilities are plentiful in the area. The Centennial Sportsplex Tennis Center in Midtown has four hard courts as well as eight small courts for children ages 8 and under. Reserve a spot indoors three days in advance for the unbeatable price of $20. Those who live in Brentwood should check out the Maryland Farms YMCA Tennis Center, which has seven indoor courts and a bubble in the winter that encompasses five of its outdoor courts. Members can reserve a court for free three days in advance and guests can join members on the court for $15. The YMCA Tennis Center at Donelson offers the same deal to use its four indoor courts.
For those who don’t mind the wind chill, there’s some top-notch public tennis courts scattered throughout the city. Those who live in North Nashville can play on one of 13 courts at Hadley Park. East End residents will find two courts at Shelby Park, while in South Nashville, Sevier Park serves as a prime hitting spot. Inhabitants of the West End have three courts at Fannie Mae Dees Park and two at Elmington Park.