The courts haven’t really changed, but there’s a shiny new feel to Albuquerque’s Jerry Cline Tennis Center.
Players who haven’t visited the 18-court complex in a while might initially notice new fencing around the tennis area, or maybe the upgraded seating areas and landscaping.
But the biggest addition to the long-established facility stands behind courts: a 7,000-square-foot, $3.5-million office center that makes the complex feel more like a club than a city-operated, public facility.
The new building houses Albuquerque’s adult sports offices and has space available for meetings. Priority one, however, is tennis.
Jerry Cline Tennis Center now features shower and locker facilities, new bathrooms and free ice and water dispensers among its player amenities. It’s a far cry from the four outdated portables that used to qualify as the tennis center’s offices.
“Albuquerque’s tennis community really deserves something like this,” said Fred Hultberg, the city’s manager of tennis and league play. “In terms of (United States Tennis Association) play, Albuquerque’s bigger than Phoenix, El Paso, any of the big Southwest cities. This gives us something to take pride in.”
The complex certainly doesn’t lack for business. Hultberg said 55,000 paying customers used the tennis center’s courts in 2012, not counting students.
Reservations are accepted and often necessary for evening or weekend players looking for a match. (Thirteen of the complex’s courts are lighted.)
But even weekday mornings draw a steady crowd for the center’s popular adult drop-in program – a friendly, informal league for players of intermediate skills.
Ages and ability levels vary for the drop-in league, but the morning competition is especially popular with seniors.
“It’s a beautiful facility for drop-in tennis,” Dolores Canfield, 85, said after a recent morning match. “The courts haven’t changed, but the new building and everything makes it a lot nicer for everyone.”
Canfield is one of several longtime Jerry Cline Tennis Center regulars who chipped in for the recent upgrade. The New Mexico Activities Association, which hosts state-tournament matches at the complex, also kicked in to help fund finishing touches such as an outdoor patio area and between-court landscaping.
Hultberg said the donations totaled roughly $16,000.
Even if it becomes more of a city and statewide tennis hub, Hultberg insists the Jerry Cline complex will remain neighborhood-friendly.
“We had 27 tournaments here on 27 weekends last year,” Hultberg said, “but we never booked all the courts. We have a lot of folks who come out here to play tennis every week, good weather or bad. They’re the ones who really made this place.”
<Capsule_head_Univers>If you goJerry Cline Tennis Center7205 Constitution NE, 224-6682Court Reservations: Taken up to two days in advance by phone or in person.Court Fees: $2 for two hours for adults ($1.50 for seniors, $1 for juniors)Adult Drop-In Tennis: $3 per person. Morning sessions Monday through Friday, 8-10 a.m. with sign-up at 7:45 a.m.Evening sessions Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 to 8 with sign-up at 5:45Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/JournalDolores Canfield, center, 85 of Albuquerque, plays at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center.Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/JournaLFred Hultberg, director of the Jerry Cline Tennis Center, says it will remain neighborhood-friendly.Priority 1: tennis
Practice your backhand at the newly remodeled, clublike
Jerry Cline Tennis Center, which is open to the public