Are you an adult who wants to learn the game?
Do you have a 6 year old daughter who you want to become Sharapova?
Are you hoping for College Scholarships?
Have you been watching tennis on TV and you just want to get out and play?
I hope I can provide you with the right information to you. This information will be mainly centered around tennis happening in Raleigh and the surrounding area.
If you are hoping to get going immediately, the City of Raleigh provides low-cost high-value tennis classes based out of Millbrook Tennis Center which is a 23 court public facility. The center has classes for kids and adults. The programs there are EXCELLENT for bringing players from pure beginners up to an “intermediate” level. There are some “tournament players” who train at Millbrook with Bennett Bailey and Kabiru Ibrahim, BUT primarily the Millbrook program works to teach beginners.
The City of Raleigh offers 123 public tennis courts and they are FREE to use. However, demand for court usage has recently been increasing so I would recommend reserving the court for $4 per hour OR you can check the “Court Calendar” online to see if there are reservations. Tennis in Raleigh has been increasing in popularity so don’t be surprised if you show up at some busy tennis courts.
For all of your tennis options Raleigh has: Millbrook Tennis Center, North Hills Club, Raleigh Racquet Club, Seven Oaks, Brier Creek Country Club, Carolina Country Club, Ebony Racquet Club, Greystone Tennis, Hasentree, and the list goes on. Raleigh is full of players, coaches, and courts. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall there is a TON of tennis that happens on Saturday Mornings and Sunday evenings (I mean A LOT).
Also, many high schools have tennis teams (some Varsity and Junior Varsity). These teams vary in skill: some schools have weak teams that you can walk onto if you know how to hold a tennis racquet and some teams are loaded with Tournament Players which may appear to be a team of “professionals” if you are new to the game.
In Cary North Carolina, Cary Tennis Park is HUGE with a TON of tennis happening out there. Lots of Adult tennis and lots of junior tennis so that is a great place to start if you live in Cary NC (also, just as an observation, there is a noticeable amount of Indian players who play out of Cary and Cary Tennis Park).
This next part could probably be an article on it’s own: Training for tournaments and going for college scholarships. In order to have your son or daughter compete in USTA tournaments (and win matches) they will need a forehand, a backhand, and a serve (for starters). Kids playing in these things most likely have some kind of private coach or in general, just many hours spent playing the game. Very competitive. BUT with TIME and energy kids can become STRONG players and compete on a high level in North Carolina Tournaments. In order to be in the realm of earning college scholarships you would want to make a goal of becoming AT LEAST a “3 Star Recruit” on TennisRecruiting.com. In order to get to that level, your player has to have the skills to WIN junior tournaments in North Carolina and be willing and able to TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE STATE to play tournaments and compete at the SOUTHERN LEVEL and not just the STATE LEVEL. As a parent, if you want your son or daughter to be a “high level” player in North Carolina, it REALLY DOES require the sacrifice of a bunch of weekend time to play in USTA Tournaments where you sometimes have matches that play on Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday (this is if your child goes ALL THE WAY and wins all of their matches). It can be a lot of time and work and financial resources but it can very rewarding as your son/daughter can gain good confidence and self-esteem from being a WINNING and successful tennis player in North Carolina. It is a world of its own (and beware of “crazy tennis parents”). As a final note, if you want a scholarship, your odds are stronger if you are a GIRL (and even higher if you are an African American Girl) simply due to the number of players going after scholarships and the demographics involved in tennis. The game currently has many White Players and Asian Players and many Indian Boys in the NC area. Also, tennis is a global game so if you are competing for scholarships at a Division One University (NC State, UNC, Duke) do not be surprised if you are competing against a Russian Player or a Brazilian Player in order to get that scholarship (nobody said it was easy).
I hope this provided some good information and can give you some good guidance for your tennis journey in Central North Carolina.
-DJ Robo Biscuit