Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Improvements to the tennis courts

If the status quo prevails Jesus Green's grass courts will be scrapped when the city council finds enough money to concrete over them.
I feel this would be a shame as they have been enjoyed by generations of players and need only slightly more maintenance to restore them to their former glory/

This is a draft plan which the JGA will submit to the city council on the future of the courts
To have your say on them, email comments to


Current state of Jesus Green courts

There are currently four grass courts and two concrete courts on Jesus Green. These are currently very well-used, particularly in the spring and summer months. The concrete courts are the most popular as the surface of the grass courts is not very good.
In fact, it has been practically impossible to play a decent, competitive match on some of the grass courts in recent years because the surface is so uneven, with the ball shooting off in strange directions if hit with any speed. The worse affected areas are at the back of the court, where reseeding is an issue, and most damage occurs.
Sometimes footballers have been known to play on the grass courts.
However, they are the only grass courts in the city and it is likely grass court play, which many find the most enjoyable type of tennis, will be lost forever.
Surface of hard courts is actually very good – court close to tree needs spraying with moss killer, but surface works well and dries very quickly. Replacement surface not needed as it stands.

Courts have been periodically supervised by staff from Jesus Green swimming pool, but last summer their visits were so infrequent that there is now the assumption that courts are free. This has sometimes proved a problem as certain players (mainly on the hard courts) play for hours without regard for others waiting. Often, these players are university students (who have their own courts), but the worst offenders are foreign students, who see no reason to move on after a reasonable session of play.

Other issues include footballers kicking the ball repeatedly against the grass court fences as they play keepy-uppies. Problem is exacerbated by the solid steel fence at the back of the court, which rings out when struck with a ball (traditional tennis court fences are made from wire, dampening the sound). Confrontations between tennis players and footballers are not uncommon as it is practically impossible to concentrate with frequent booming sound of footballs hitting the fence.

Certain corners of the courts have also been damaged by footballers and tennis players climbing over to retrieve balls in grass courts. There are also small holes where some people climb through.

Repainting of lines is also an issue. Grass and hard court lines are generally well executed, but could be repainted more often.

Nets are fairly old and have been vandalised or damaged. Grass court nets are in better shape and hard court nets from 2008 should be totally replaced as there are holes in them. There are also problems with adjustment of nets. There are no handles on net winders – unlike courts on Christ’s Piece – and often nets are very low. Improvised instruments (old cans, sticks, bottles) are used to raise the net, but winders should be introduced or available from Jesus Green lido.

Hard courts are also used for netball practice by Park Street Primary School and other youth groups, though not competitive matches. Nets need to be dismantled for this and reset afterwards – lack of winders makes this problematic for tennis players following netball sessions.

Suggestions to improve courts

JGA should liaise with city council’s maintenance/groundsmen about the preparation of courts – plan of maintenance (January to April) should be agreed. Should include rolling of courts and better reseeding of worn-out areas – mowing the grass is not enough in itself.

Procuring funds for new tennis nets – would totally rejuvenate hard courts

Attachment of net winders

More frequent painting of lines

Installation of signs asking people to play for no more than 30 minutes or one set if others are waiting. Signs outside asking people not to kick balls against metal fence – wooden ones (gold on green) preferable but cheaper options possible (metal with black lettering) or possibly just laminated plastic signs.

Efforts made to encourage volunteer participation in the maintenance of the courts – keys to grass courts should be made available to the JGA, equipment (including grass roller, brushes, rakes, grass seed) could be purchased/procured from council stores and stored in pavilion or Rouse toilet building).

Arrangements could be drawn up for supervision/payment in peak months.
This could be operated by lifeguards at lido or by trustworthy punt operator cashiers, who are ideally placed to collect court fees (suggestion: £3-5 an hour). Money could be reinvested in maintenance of the courts.

Greater communication between city council and JGA on plan of action for the tennis courts – contact established with council officers in charge of green spaces/maintenance.

Repair to the holes in court fencing.

Need to encourage more children to play tennis. Racquets could be handed out from lido at a cost (combined with deposit). Sadly, local youngsters do not use it often and best juniors playing there are foreign. Perhaps regular coaching sessions could be arranged there (subject to demand) and even a small tournament with prize could occur on a summer day – scope for volunteer participation here.

JGA should ask for access to the pavilion, where tennis activities/equipment could be based.
To be agreed by Jesus Green Association committee and submitted to Cambridge City Council.

1 comment:

  1. if cambridge students are causing a scene, playing longer than they should do or whatever, do what any cambridge local should do and tell them to bog off. threaten with violence if necessary. they don't deserve to be here.