By Wendy Sarubbi | May 14, 2014 12:22 pm

A new, 100-plus-court tennis center at Lake Nona will become the home of the University of Central Florida’s tennis teams and provide UCF students with hands-on experiences to complement what they learn in the classroom.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) will establish the tennis center, which will welcome all levels of players, from youths learning the game to professional players. The center is scheduled to be finished in late 2016.

“This new home for American tennis will truly be a game-changer for our sport,” said USTA chairman of the board and president Dave Haggerty. “This world-class facility will be an inclusive gathering place for American tennis and will allow us to impact our sport at every level, from the grassroots to the professional ranks.”

UCF President John C. Hitt joined Haggerty, Gov. Rick Scott, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer this morning at a news conference at UCF’s College of Medicine. Officials from Tavistock Group, the developer of Lake Nona, also participated.

Along with many partners, the university will help raise private funds to contribute to the development of the center. UCF also is exploring opportunities to connect its academic programs and students with the center’s operations.

“UCF has embraced this project because it impacts academics, community partnerships, economic development and athletics,” Hitt said. “Our students, our tennis players and our entire community will benefit from having the finest tennis facilities in the country at Lake Nona.”

The complex’s Collegiate Tennis Area will feature 12 hard courts with seating for 1,200 people and room for additional seating areas. It will be large enough to allow two collegiate matches to be played simultaneously. The area also will feature a two-story pavilion including concessions and locker rooms.

“Calling this world-class, state-of-the-art facility home has the potential to completely transform our tennis programs,” said UCF vice president and director of Athletics Todd Stansbury. “Our tennis coaches are very much looking forward to its completion. We’re very pleased to be a part of this project.”

The USTA Player Development division will move its national headquarters from Boca Raton to Orlando, aiming to provide the best opportunities to succeed for the next generation of American tennis champions.

This new home for American tennis will host every type of tennis event from 10-and-under team tennis events to national championships for those aged 90 and older. Additionally, the facility is conveniently located near the Orlando International Airport to accommodate visiting tennis players.

“More than a decade ago we undertook a strategic plan for the development of the southeast sector of our city,” Dyer said. “The selection of Orlando for the United States Tennis Association’s new divisional headquarters further enhances this area and speaks to the value of our community’s assets–a talented labor force, business-friendly environment and global access via a world-class airport.”

“Lake Nona is founded on the principles of innovative collaboration and inspiring human potential,” said Rasesh Thakkar, senior managing director of Tavistock Group. “This campus at Lake Nona has all of the ingredients for the beginnings of a world-class sports and human performance cluster with the USTA setting the bar.”

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