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Tennis Anyone? Holmdel's Courts Will be Opening Soon

Centercourt Athletic Center is granted a lease to run a business at the Holmdel Tennis Center, and the firm says it will open as soon as it can fix up the neglected courts.

Thonk! Holmdel's deteriorating has just been served a new game, thanks to a lease-with-option-to-buy deal the township has made with Centercourt Athletic Club.

A fresh shipment of Har-Tru clay material will be trucked up Bailey Lane as early as today to be used in the refurbishment of the tennis center's courts, said Centercourt's Yevgeny Supeko. On Monday, 5,000 brochures will be mailed out advertising adult and children tennis clinics, lessons, and a June 25 - Sept. 7 summer camp.

"We are going to try to build a great program. It's not just the summer thing we're looking for," said Supeko. "We're looking for a long term relationship that will be beneficial for both Centercourt and Holmdel." Part of that vision, he said, includes developing a year-round facility that takes best use of the center's prime location, in a prosperous area right off the Garden State Parkway, next to the township swim club with ample open space for potential future development.

Centercourt Athletic Club runs a Tennis Academy in Chatham and clubs in Long Hill and Morristown. The firm is currently building an indoor facility on 185 Amboy Road in Marlboro, which is scheduled to open in the fall. Centercourt raquet clubs feature indoor and outdoor courts, swimming pools, pro shops, full service locker rooms and special events.

Last year Supeko, a 26-year old competitive youth tennis coach living in Englishtown, came to check out the closed Holmdel tennis center, located next to the operating swim center. He contacted the township about its availability. Shortly afterwards he was hired to be the general manager of the Marlboro Centercourt facility, and suggested the company consider taking on the Holmdel club as as seasonal facility.  In the arrangement worked out with the Township Administrator Andy Katz, Centercourt will fix up the tennis courts at its own expense in exchange for being able to do business at the location. The lease runs from April 19, 2012 through April 18, 2013.

There are 11 playing courts in Holmdel. The four clay and three hard courts will be refurbished in stages, said Centercourt's Director of Operations, Matt Rizzutto. "An additional three Har-Tru (clay) courts are not going to be up and running this summer," said Rizzutto.

The 1960s-era Holmdel location does not have indoor facilities or lights, and will only operate during daylight hours, as per the agreement with the township. Adult clinics will be offered between 8-9 a.m., and between 4-7:30 p.m. The full-day children's camp day, offered on a week-to-week basis, will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Prices start at $415 a week, with discounts and incentives to sign up for more weeks in the 11-week season.

With the open space for athletics and nearby pool facility, Supeko said the Holmdel Tennis Center is "a gold mine." He could imagine a bubble over the courts to extend the playing season into the colder months. But if Centercourt wanted to eventually invest in purchasing the site as its own athletic facility, outdoor lighting would have to be part of the plan -- something that might not be welcome by nearby residents.

"I don’t know we would not use it for its full potential," he said. "But the lighting has to be there."

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