Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte made a resounding proclamation during the ceremony for the new Texas Tennis Center Sunday afternoon.
“This is, by far, the greatest tennis facility in the country,” Del Conte said.
The Longhorns’ brand-new tennis facility, which is located directly north of UFCU Disch-Falk Field, had its grand opening Sunday. The project has been years in the making. Since the retirement of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the end of the 2014 spring season, Texas’ tennis program has not had a formal home.
That all changed on Sunday when men’s head coach Michael Center and women’s head coach Howard Joffe cut the ribbon to signify a new beginning for Longhorn tennis.
“It’s a really special day,” Center said. “It warms my heart to see all these people here come to cut a ribbon to open up this facility.”
Many donors and former Longhorn tennis players were in attendance for the ceremony. The new facility, worth over $20 million, features 12 courts along with courtside seating. The facility also houses communication rooms, a weight room and customized lockers for each player.
“It’s amazing to have this facility now,” senior Dani Wagland said. “It’s been four years that we’ve been without one, and I’m incredibly excited to get to play here for my final season.”
Current Longhorn players were wowed by not just the incredible physical features of the new facility but also its intangible ones. The facility looks to create a greater fan atmosphere around Texas tennis, which has been missing since the last facility was torn down.
“(The fans) change the whole dynamic,” junior Katie Poluta said. “It’ll be great to have our own supporters.”
Despite officially opening the new Texas Tennis Center this weekend, the Longhorns were unable to complete their weekend matches at the facility due to weather.
The Longhorns were forced to move their matches to the Weller Indoor Tennis Center — but that didn’t prevent Texas from easily defeating its opponents. The No. 12 Longhorn women looked strong on Saturday, winning 4-0 over UT-Rio Grande Valley and 4-0 over Texas State.
“I was very pleased with our group as whole,” Joffe said. “There’s definitely a lot of rust on us, lots of places we need to get better and some places we were terrific.”
The No. 8 Longhorn men soundly defeated UTSA and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday. Texas rolled past UTSA, 7-0, led by junior Harrison Scott’s 6-2, 6-2 victory over Gabriel Bugiga. The Longhorns finished off the day with a 4-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which was clinched with a 6-2, 6-1 win by junior Colin Markes over Biyik Akinshemoyin.
The Longhorns also broke in their new home with a 4-0 victory over SMU on Sunday.