Building the coolest tennis court in the city? Advice required.

Discussion in 'Tennis Travel' started by lawlaw, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    I have managed to find myself with a tennis court in the middle of the city. The court is currently playable (court playing area) but needs work as it was badly laid outside of the playing area. I've had a few companies come over and the quotes for repairing are very cheap. To have a brand new court laid within a week works out less than a business-class ticket to from Hong Kong to NYC!

    The question is, what can I do to make this a truly unique court? For example, instead of having boring tennis windscreens , I could have them printed with anything that came to mind. A grandslam crowd? Life-size action shots of my favourite players? Stills from the Victoria's Secret runway show? All three? ;)

    Below is a shot of the court in its current condition. Note the metal foil someone saw fit to glue to the back of the court..

    Suggestions, design ideas, sketches and advice very welcome. Keep in mind labour is cheap, materials are cheap and the only limit is your imagination.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
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  2. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    What about a faux chain link enclosure with green hedge graphic, so you can pretend your court is in the country?
     
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  3. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    With sculptures of your favourite furry animals walking along or hanging off the top of the wall.
     
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  4. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    In any event, I think you'd benefit from a relaxing, calming space given tennis is a strenuous activity so I'd avoid overly busy graphics such as you suggest.
     
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  5. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    There is the added bonus of "performance through pressure". Nobody wants to lose in front of legends, or VS angels for that matter. Focus or fold! ;)
     
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  6. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    You could also deck it out as a faux Grecian temple with marble finish and nubile female graphics.

    You need a calming palette even if your graphics are busy.
     
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  7. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Very true.

    The great thing is nobody on the street below has any idea there is a tennis court here. The street is relatively quiet too. It is on top of a 5 story building, stairs the only access. Thinking about putting shots of slam winners/favourite players in rustic frames on the 4th and 5th floor stairways. Just to give it a warmer feeling as you approach the court. An equipment locker to store a ball machine and bits and pieces might be on the cards too.

    If I go for a completely new court, I'm wondering what colour/colours to choose for the court surface.
     
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  8. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    I would avoid any busy graphics for the area behind the court as this
    will make it harder to see the ball.

    Maybe an area to sit down with shade. Cooler/drinks/snack area.
     
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  9. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Graphic, if any, would go on the side, definitely not the back. The netting would be standard green or blue. I have both colours arriving tomorrow so will see which looks better and go with that.

    The pool on the roof of my friend's place looks pretty good. Lots of Bamboo, palms and large plants in large Chinese porcelain pots about the place. Great feeling there as you can see the incredible sight of the city down below.
     
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  10. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Very very cool!
     
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  11. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Haha, yes I'd go with that option:)
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Courts I used to play on, on Oahu, grass court sunken 6' below the street level, water fountains on both ends center of court, shade retractable to exclude morning sun, hedge blocks PM sun, and two gold lions out front, to mark location.
     
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  13. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Stone lions would go down well here. What about UV box hedges/bushes around the court? It looks a bit glum at the moment and the heat/cold extremes would make a real hedge a bit pointless.

    Another court contractor is coming over today to have a look and give me quotes for quick surface repairs and for a new court.
     
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  14. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    The court certainly has great potential. 1st, though, is you have to do something to somehow disquise those awful 'T' shaped pipes that are all around the court. Maybe cover them with lifesize cutouts of famous players or something but as is they are terrible. And I wouldn't put up windscreens, I'd leave the open spots open--put up plastic or plexiglass if wind is really an issue but leave them open--let people see there's a court up there.
     
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  15. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    There is no view of the court from the street whatsoever, the surrounding buildings look down on the court as it is on top of a 5-story garage. Windbreakers needed as my serve goes through the fences on both ends. Wind not a big issue as surrounding buildings block any heavy wind with the result a light wind.

    The t-shaped pipes are vents, I think, so can't remove them. Looking online now for references, but perhaps some artificial greenery would solve the issue around the sides of the court. A mixture of natural (low maintenance) and artificial plants and bushes would brighten things up and hide some of the unsightly elements on there. I will go down and take some snapshots of the court now, then it will be easier to see what there is to work with.
     
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  16. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Here are the shots from court level. I'm told it was built in 1997, clearly not by people who know much about tennis courts, and not maintained very well since. Still, I've managed a few decent hits with some former college players. The inside court area is playable, the rare odd bounce but nothing dramatic. The insane metal flooring patch behind the baseline only inspires my serve & volley game!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Court shots Pt 2.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Court shots pt 3.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Top flight of stairs and doorway leading to the court.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Is there a reason you can't/won't/haven't told us what city it's in? Getting a HK/China vibe from the pictures.

    If it's somewhere that gets very hot in the summer - and money/materials aren't an object - I'd recommend putting poles in the extreme corners and mounting a sun screen - 60 ft high should be enough to still allow some lobbing. But still keeps the sun off your head while still allowing wind to flow through on the sides. Might have to make it retractable if very high wind (monsoon season if I'm right about HK/China) are a possibility.

    For the court surface I'd go with a medium blue court with a light blue exterior.

    Congrats on getting access to this court and have fun. Please bump this thread and post pics when you're done, whatever you choose to do.
     
    #19
  20. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    I was thinking about some sort of roof structure as the weather can somewhat Jekyl & Hyde here in Shangahi. Although I have access to a very nice pair of private indoor courts reasonably close by, it would be a bit of a coup to have weatherproof tennis at our place. Sadly I don't think I'd get away with putting up the structure without stern objections as it would obstruct the view of the apartments on the lower floors. It took a couple of months to get the building management to agree to let ME pay for the court repairs (they had no intention of dipping in their pockets), so I am confident that requesting permission for anything more will be met with a resounding [mandarin]"get stuffed"[/mandarin].

    I am quickly settling into the idea of keeping it a classy affair, so the VS angels will have to stop by for a hit rather than surround the court with their lingerie-clad loveliness. Today I am investigating artificial hedge panels and faux greenery. Thinking along the lines of the grass tennis court I grew up on, classic English countryside garden with a court in the middle. My aim is to keep all the court furniture/accessories mobile so they can be moved around quickly/easily if required. I have already found an outdoor lockable storage unit for a ball machine and ball basket which should keep me entertained if high-level hitting partners aren't around.

    The only worry is, if it looks too good, other people might actually start playing. ;)

    Greenery, wind screens, strorage unit, table and chairs.. what else am I missing?
     
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  21. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Shanghai. Cool. Is it going to be ready in October? Coming for the Masters 1000 - would stop by for a hit - if the Air Quality is ok (starting to worry about you guys). Hit on a rooftop in Melbourne at the Aussie years ago - was a lot of fun.

    Yeah, you should make it look professional so it doesn't offend the neighbors.
     
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  22. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    lawlaw,

    You might want to check this link out, it allows you to see different colour combinations for tennis courts...

    http://www.decoturf.com/tennis/court-colorizer/

    I think blue (or purple) inner court with a green outer court works very well (Miami / Indian Wells style). The yellow ball stands out well against the blue (or purple) and the green blends in nicely if you are going for a green scheme for the walls.

    Here's a link to photos of different courts http://www.decoturf.com/project-gallery/tennis-gallery/

    Also, you'll want to check out lighting options. It makes a big difference for playing at night.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
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  23. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    @Relinquis, thanks for those links. The Miss St (Greenwich, CT? - LOL!) is wild.
     
    #23
  24. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    So, you are planning on doing all this just to get more people to come and play with you?

    It sounds like you do not actually own the court but are willing to spend your own money to improve the court.
     
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  25. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    @scotus

    The court is the property of the building, residents own their apartments. I can still bang down the odd 140mph serve and play decent game of tennis now and then, having to lay courts to tempt people to come over is a bit extreme ;) In China, unless there is money to be made from the court, it will be left to rot. If you've seen the neglected 2008 Olympic facilities which costs millions of $$ to build, you'll understand why nobody will lose sleep over a single tennis court. As it is comparatively inexpensive to install a new court (US$5-6k), inviting good players to practice is a lot more time-efficient for me. Courts are always full on the weekends in the city, so having a pristine private court in the middle of the city is priceless. With the exception of a few national players that are in town between tournaments, there are usually a few ex-tour/ex-college players working in the city that rediscover their competitive fires once they find regular high-level players to hit with. There's also an ex ATP top 50 player that swings through from time to time who is always a pleasure to hit with.


    @Relinquis

    Thanks for that, I'd seen that a while ago but forgotten to save the link. I could spend some time deciding, so many possibilities.. :D


    @West Coast Ace
    It takes approx 7 days to lay the court. Once I decide on the colour, I'll get it done. During October I will be hitting at the Masters as most of my friends will be in town to compete. If you play at college level and above, drop me a line before you arrive and we'll try to arrange something.


    Progress so far:

    I ordered a few artificial hedge mats just to check out the colour/quality and after seeing them I've decided that they are the ideal solution for the fences. They are quite cheap here at US$1.30ยข per piece for a 60x40cm panel.

    The shot below shows two panels joined together. They look very realistic in the daylight and the company I am sourcing them from have a range of artificial large potted plants, grass and trees which could make the area around the court look fantastic. I will investigate those next week.

    [​IMG]
     
    #25
  26. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    looks cool...

    have you thought of putting a backboard at one end of the court?

    for some practice hitting when you don't have a partner.
     
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  27. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Good idea! There is a white wall on one end that I won't cover, it could go there.
     
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  28. sportsfan1

    sportsfan1 Hall of Fame

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    Cool project. Definitely look forward to the pictures once it's completed.
    Out of curiosity, do you get court privileges/priority over others in the building since you are plunking down the dough? Or do you have to wait for others to finish up?
     
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  29. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    I played on a great court today... It had a trough/channel running all around the court at the bottom of the back and side fences.

    It was cool, the balls often end up in the trough/channel rather than rolling back into the court. Not sure if you can do this, but it I thought it would be useful to mention here in case someone refers to this thread in the future for idea on their court.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
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  30. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    so you are a resident but paying for the court. interesting
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
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  31. topsltennis

    topsltennis Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, my first thought was how did you come to 'own' this court? That being said, it looks like it would be very fun to play on... good luck with it
     
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  32. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    Late reply here as it has been a bit hectic recently.

    @Relinquis: It already has this in place. Although annoyingly the channel is almost perfectly level which means water flows to the drains very slowly :D

    @zapvor: Yes, that's how it works on this side of the world.

    @topsltennis: As stated, court is owned by the building, building owned by residents, I am the only resident playing tennis.

    @sportsfan1: It had occurred to me (and was pointed out by someone that I practice with) that improving the court could attract people to them. Obviously the building have done nothing since laying the thing in the late 90's, but I won't let that get in the way of enjoying sprucing it up and enjoying the space. I have the court blocked booked at the times I prefer to practice, much to the bemusement of the management who have never seen anyone with a racquet before in years and wonder why I even bother. If people from the building should turn up to play, they will be greeted with a nice place to do so, so winners all around.

    Finally had a moment to order a few things for the court such as benches and the hedge panels etc. Still mulling over the court surface, contacted Deco who put me in touch with their local office here and will see what options they offer. Cost not an issue with something like this, what is most important to me is having a decent court that will be in good shape for years to come. I think it would be a bit selfish to sit back and do nothing when we have the ability to do something good here and bring a dead tennis court to life. Granted, it would be secretly satisfying to keep it all to myself.. but something like this is better to share, especially with kids that might otherwise not get a chance to experience the game in this city.
     
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  33. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

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    Nice! Very cool indeed.
     
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  34. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Excellent you are fixing it up. Keep adding pics so we can gawk.
     
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