Game, Set, Match


 

The recent grand opening of the 60-court Rome Tennis Center at Berry College was a grand slam.

Berry College President Steve Briggs, United States Tennis Association (USTA) Executive Director Gordon Smith and Rome City Manager Sammy Rich were just a few of the dignitaries who spoke at the opening ceremony.

“Less than a handful of communities in the entire country come close to matching what you have here. And you should all give yourselves a round of applause,” Smith said comparing the facility to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York. 

On opening day (July 29), the Tennis Center hosted the annual Rome Clocktower Classic Wheelchair tournament. And on Aug. 12, the USTA Southern Junior Team Tennis Section Championships will begin, attracting players from the section's nine states. Earlier in the month, the center welcomed more than 700 junior players to the Georgia State Junior Open. 

Rich noted, “You could ride though the parking lot and see car tags from everywhere except Floyd County. That’s why we built the tennis center."

The center has been in the works for the past eight years. The facility was funded by an $11.9 million SPLOST (special local option sales tax) package and Berry College donated the land. The joint partnership between the community and Berry has allowed the Student Work Experience program to expand into the tennis world and gives students the chance to become certified in Professional Tennis Management. Berry is among five colleges and universities in the country who will provide this opportunity—and the only one that offers this through the student work program. 

“We want to create great experiences for our students. We want them to be ready for life and to understand what it means to put on great events and to serve other people’s needs,” Briggs said. “Students are attracted to Berry because they have the opportunity to participate in something like this.”

Currently there are eight students working at the facility. With the teamwork of Berry’s Director of Employer Development Mark Kozera, Tennis Center Executive Director Tom Daglis and Director Kevin Brundle, they hope to hire additional student workers this fall.

For more information about the facility and tournaments, please visit: http://rometenniscenter.com/

For information about Berry’s program visit http://www.berry.edu/ptm/

Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Alexi Bell. Photos by Alan Storey.