Cary Tennis Park is "Hidden Jewel" Among Area Sports Venues
Cary Tennis Park is “Hidden Jewel” Among Area Sports Venues
Facility will host ACC Tennis Championships, April 22-25
For a town that is known as one of the best places in America to live, work, and raise a family, Cary, N.C., has also built a national reputation for its outstanding athletic facilities.
Yet many Triangle residents may be unaware that perhaps the finest tennis venue in the Southeast is located right in their backyard.
"The Cary Tennis Park is a bit of a hidden jewel here in the Triangle,” said Scott Dupree, Vice-President for Sports Marketing for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. “But nationally and in the world of tennis, it is recognized as a top-notch facility.”
Cary Tennis Park, which is set to host the upcoming ACC Tennis Championships April 22-25, has received numerous prestigious awards for the facility itself and for its events. Those include the 2006 USTA Outstanding Tennis Facility Award, the 2006 Racquet Sports Industry Facility of the Year, Honorable Mention USTA Best Tennis Town, the 2009 North Carolina Tennis Association Junior Tournament of the Year, and the 2009 North Carolina Tennis Association Junior Team Tennis Event of the Year.
“The folks at the U.S. Tennis Association absolutely love Cary Tennis Park,” Dupree says. “Some goes for the administrators and coaches at the Atlantic Coast Conference. And because it hosts so many great events, the Cary Tennis Park is a real engine for visitor spending and economic impact in western Wake County.”
One of the largest tennis facilities in the Southeast, Cary Tennis Park has exceeded expectations since its opening in 2000. Spread out over 24 rolling acres, Cary Tennis Park is a versatile complex that fits the needs of young and old, first-time players, college stars and professionals.
In addition to its 29 courts, it is the only facility in North Carolina with four permanent 36-foot QuickStart courts and two 60-foot courts lined on a normal 78-foot court. Cary Tennis Park is also packed with convenient amenities such as locker rooms, a practice wall, and a pro shop equipped with a snack-bar. Not to mention, the facility is surrounded by beautiful landscaping including scenic bridges and cabanas between courts.
“This facility is viewed as the nicest in the Southeast, if not the country, because of its layout. It has a true park-like feel with courts set on different elevations, lots of green space, a small creek runs through the facility,” said Sean Ferreira, tennis supervisor at Cary Tennis Park. “It is not your typical tennis center that is all asphalt and concrete.”
2009 First Flight High School graduate Taylor Sullivan, who has played in the NCHSAA Men’s State Championships as well as the N.C. Junior Closed Tournament at Cary Tennis Park, says there are other aspects of the facility that only a player can appreciate.
“Cary Tennis Park has its own place in my heart because of how many wonderful wins and horrific losses I have had there,” Sullivan says. “Since I was about 10, I have been going to CTP and I always enjoyed my time there, even when my results weren't up to my expectations. I've literally shed blood, sweat and tears on those courts. When I go back now, it's so nostalgic for me because of how much those courts mean to me.”
In addition to the NCHSAA State Championships and the N.C. Junior Closed Tournament, Cary Tennis Park has also hosted other major events. Highlights include the USTA National Campus Championships (in 2007 and 2008 and again in 2011 and 2012), the annual STA Bullfrog Designated Junior Tournament, the 2004 USTA $50,000 Women’s Pro Circuit Tour Stop, as well multiple ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships – just to name a few.
Lee Butler, ACC Associate Director of Championships, says the strong partnership between Cary Tennis Park, the Town of Cary, the Greater Raleigh CVB and the ACC is one determining factor for why Cary Tennis Park is a perfect fit for the ACC Tennis Championships.
“Cary Tennis Park and the Town recognize the impact of the event on the local community and the ACC recognizes the impact of the Park on the championship experience of our coaches and student-athletes,” Butler says. “Cary Tennis Park is centrally located in the geographic footprint of our league with a number of schools and fans in close proximity.”
ACC coaches and student-athletes enjoy competing at Cary Tennis Park for a variety of reasons. Butler is quick to recognize the “second-to-none” hospitality shown from the staff, and he recognizes that the ACC Championships are a priority for Town of Cary officials. Besides making ACC coaches and student-athletes feel welcome at Cary Tennis Park, other important factors contribute to the ACC Championship experience, according to Butler.
“[The number of courts] allows us to have our men’s and women’s championships simultaneously,” Butler explains. “It also allows teams playing in the next dual match enough courts to warm-up on, and all court surfaces are consistent. Another thing they like about coming to CTP is that each time they come, there are enhancements to the facility or a logistics plan to improve the championship experience.”
New lights, reserved parking for team vehicles, and in-progress scoreboards are some of the new features that coaches and student-athletes will see at this year’s ACC Championships. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 22 and continues throughout the day. Play will resume on Friday with quarterfinals featuring the top four seeds. The semifinals will be played on Saturday while the championship matches are scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. ACC teams currently hold the top spots in the national rankings for both the men’s and women’s tennis, which should make for an ultra-competitive ACC Championship. No. 1 Virginia hopes to capture its fourth straight men’s tennis championship, while No. 5 Duke will look to defend its women’s tennis title at this year’s tournament. UNC, the current No.-1 ranked women’s team, hopes to take the crown away from their arch-rivals.
Complete championship packages are available for $14 for adults, $10 for college students and seniors (55+). Single-day tickets can also be purchased for $7 for adults, $5 for college students and seniors (55+). Children 8 and under are admitted free. For more information visit www.theacc.com.
So make plans to catch this year’s ACC Championship. You’ll see some of the nation’s top teams and players compete in one of the nation’s top tennis facilities.