Tennis courts

Battle brews between tennis and pickleball communities

SAN DIEGO — A battle is brewing not on the tennis court, but over who can play it at Robb Field in Ocean Beach.

The tennis community is fighting back after the San Diego pickleball community offered to take over the 40-year-old set of tennis courts.

Dozens of people from both sides of the issue gathered in Mission Bay Park on Tuesday evening ahead of a committee meeting to clarify each of their positions.

“We don’t have dedicated pickleball courts in parks in San Diego proper,” Stephan Boyland said.

While John Broderick, president of the San Diego Tennis Association, said “there is no reason for us to be kicked out of there”.

The Boyland group is pushing to convert Robb Field’s 12 tennis courts to 36 pickleball courts. He also suggested that those who play tennis at Robb Field could merge with the nearby Barnes Tennis Center.

“There are empty tennis courts everywhere,” said Debby Merickel, who hopes for a dedicated pickle ball space.

Meanwhile, members of the Peninsula Tennis Club, which plays at Robb Field, say they are a viable club.

“We have 500 members. If they want to go build something, there’s a process you go through with the city,” Todd Sprauge said.

Those in the pickleball group argue that this is easier said than done.

“There really is no real estate in San Diego, let’s make good use of the real estate we have,” Paul Smit said.

Both parties have had the opportunity to present their views to the Mission Bay Park Committee, which may come up with its own recommendation regarding the San Diego Parks and Recreation Courts. However, at this time, Parks and Recreation has no plans to reuse Robb Field.


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