Bella Mendez-Robles, an incoming junior at Whitney Young Magnet High School on the Near West Side, was happy to see her school’s newly renovated tennis courts open for play.
“I’m part of the tennis team and it’s great to be able to play tennis with everyone on these home courts, practice my skills and make new friendships here,” the 16-year-old said. .
The Whitney Young Tennis Courts, now named after 1985 former professional tennis player Katrina Adams, opened to the community on Tuesday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that Adams herself was in attendance.
“My tennis journey solidified on these courts,” said Adams, who after retiring as a player went on to become president and CEO of the United States Tennis Association. “I hope I can continue to inspire generations to come, and every time a new student or player in the community walks onto the court and asks, ‘Who was Katrina Adams?’ may my story and legacy inspire them to own their arena, for I have always walked confidently owning my arena.
Renovations, which cost $240,000, began in March and lasted three months. The courts received a complete resurfacing and new lines, among other improvements.
Carl Abram, the boys’ tennis coach at Whitney Young, said the renovations were badly needed as the old courts had many potholes.
“The years have certainly worn them out,” Abram said.
The courts, located at 110 S. Laflin St., can be reserved online by community members for a fee of $15 per hour, which will be used to pay for ongoing maintenance.
Principal Joyce Kenner said the refurbishment of the courts was part of a 10-year effort to refresh the school’s athletic facilities.
After the grand opening, community members and Whitney Young students took to the courts and started playing. Adams even joined in and played in a few games with the players.
“I feel honoured,” Mendez-Robles said of being able to hit some shots with the former pro.