The University of Memphis and the City of Memphis are scheduled to break ground on the new Leftwich Tennis Center in Audubon Park today, Thursday, June 10, 2021, setting up the $24 million facility to be completed in approximately 18 months. The official groundbreaking will take place at 10 am CT.
The partnership between the City and the University will provide a world-class facility not only for the Tigers’ men’s and women’s tennis teams but also for residents of Memphis to enjoy. The new Leftwich Tennis Center will be able to attract major national tennis tournaments and NCAA and conference championships and their fans and will be the largest tennis facility within hundreds of miles, featuring 24 outdoor and 12 indoor courts.
“I can’t say enough about how excited I am for this project to begin,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. “And I’m not the only one. The philanthropic support shown for this has been exceptional. Not only will this be a tremendous asset for the University, but it will be a true gem for our community and all tennis lovers.”
Located on Southern Ave. just east of the University of Memphis campus, the new Leftwich will remain a public tennis center open for the use of all citizens for leisure and competitive tennis play, teaching and clinics. It will replace the current Leftwich Tennis Center on the site.
A majority of the funding for the project is coming from private donors and corporate prospects, with the City contributing $3 million of capital funds and $1 million of in-kind public works improvements and the University adding $5 million. The citizens of Memphis will be enjoying and gaining the benefit of the $24 million facility with a direct investment of $4 million.
“The University of Memphis has continued to work very closely in partnership with the City of Memphis during the pandemic on the new home for our Tigers men’s and women’s tennis programs,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “It will be one of the finest tennis facilities in the country, one that all Memphians will be proud of. It is fitting that this is a City-University project because there is a tremendous amount of momentum both on our beautiful campus and in our wonderful city.”
“The artist renderings for this project are incredible,” said Memphis Director of Athletics Laird Veatch. “The new Leftwich Tennis Center will be phenomenal for not only our men’s and women’s tennis teams to play and practice in one of the nation’s finest tennis facilities, but for the entire community. I am extremely thankful for the leadership of Mayor Strickland and President Rudd and for the generosity of so many of our wonderful donors. This would not be possible without all of them.”
The center is maintaining the name Leftwich Tennis Center in honor of Lt. Col. William G. Leftwich, who died in service during the Vietnam War.
“What an amazing time for tennis in Memphis,” said Tigers head men’s tennis coach Paul Goebel. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will benefit the University of Memphis tennis programs along with numerous local tennis groups and players. It will now be possible to host major events that will attract thousands of out-of-town visitors each year. The facility will be open to anyone and will give locals a fantastic place to come and enjoy playing tennis daily.”
With 24 outdoor courts and 12 indoor courts, the new Leftwich will be one of the largest tennis centers within hundreds of miles — and a first-class experience for both recreational and tournament players. The new Leftwich will be the home of the nationally prominent University of Memphis Tiger tennis teams, as well as the home base for the transformative, community-building work of Tennis Memphis.
“The project between the City of Memphis and the University of Memphis is very exciting and will provide all Memphis tennis players a great venue to call home,” said Tigers head women’s tennis coach Hayden Perez. “The facility will play an important role in the recruiting process as we attempt to attract the best junior players from around the world to the University of Memphis. We will have the ability to host different types of junior and professional events for our future and current players, and it will aid in their development. I am looking forward to the next phases in the process.”
For more information on the project, click here.