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Tennis Week in Kentucky

Tennis Week in Kentucky

It’s Tennis Week in Kentucky!

This week was Tennis Week in Kentucky! To celebrate, Paducah Economic Development has created this showcase of the tennis facilities of Paducah through the stories behind each facility and the people who helped shape them.

Noble Park Tennis Facility

The City of Paducah recently resurfaced the tennis courts, added a junior court, and built new bathrooms for the Noble Park tennis facility. Upcoming changes to the tennis facility include new benches for courts and a paved parking lot. “Serving It Up French Style,” a Kentucky Tennis Tour event hosted by the Paducah Tennis Association was held at Noble Park Saturday, June 2. The money raised from the event will be used for those additional improvements.

Jane Gamble, board member of the Paducah Tennis Association and dedicated tennis advocate, is the face behind these renovations. She tirelessly wrote grants and campaigned for finances needed to make the improvements to the tennis facility at Noble Park. Because of her efforts, the City of Paducah, private donors, and the USTA granted Gamble the funds needed for the renovations.

“In the past, we have traveled to schools to play in tournaments at great indoor facilities, so it gives us an advantage to have our own indoor facility here in Paducah for McCracken County High School. The new facility is a huge boost to the community and the public.”

Coach Larry Helfin has been teaching tennis for more than 40 years and is currently the head coach at McCracken County High School.

The Noble Park tennis courts are open to the public and will be used for a variety of tennis programs and are for people of all ages and backgrounds. Current programs at the tennis courts include Tennis Apprentice for Adults, Drop Shots, an after-hours clinic for young professionals, summer day camps for kids this summer, and adults USTA men and women leagues.

Country Club of Paducah

The traditional setting for tennis is at a country club, and the Paducah Country Club provides a top-notch facility for its members with upcoming renovations to the tennis courts.

“We recently completed the first phase of renovations to the the indoor tennis center by replacing some of the panels needing maintenance and replacing outdated lights with a new LED lighting system, added heating for the winter months bringing the indoor facility up to the modern standard, which is fantastic,” says Chris Dallas, head tennis coach

In the near future, the Paducah Country Club is planning to rebuild the outdoor courts in additional to other renovations throughout the facility.

“Adding heat was important because it not only players comfortable, but people such as parents and friends who are watching comfortable as well. That has been the first phase of renovating the indoor facility with many more renovations to come for the outdoor courts. It’s an exciting time for the club!”

The Paducah Country Club is planning to rebuild the outdoor courts, which are needing an update due to cracks and wear on the courts.

“This will be one of the largest investments we are making in the facility since it has been built!”

The tennis facility at the Country Club of Paducah currently has indoor courts, three clay courts (the only facility in the area with these courts), and outdoor asphalt courts. Plans to create a quick-start court is underway. This court is scaled down in size to accommodate juniors who want to learn to play the game and seniors who don’t want to cover as much ground as a traditional sized court.

You can play on all the common courts available including an indoor court, outdoor court, and outdoor clay court all in this facility as a member of the Country Club of Paducah and engage in the various programs available.

“We are always adding new adult and junior players. We have gone from a summer to a full year program with the kids in recent years. We offer cardio tennis, in which we don’t keep score, it’s just a fun way to come out and hit tennis balls with the pros and have a great time! We are dedicated to ensuring we have something for everybody.”

When asked about the tennis community in Paducah, Chris Dallas says, “The tennis community in Paducah is extremely varied. We have a traditional tennis setting at the Country Club of Paducah available, but Paducah is truly a very diverse community for tennis from Lone Oak to Noble Park. You don’t have to be a particular economic or social status to play tennis in Paducah. We have players of all walks of life that join together to play this game. That’s always been a very positive aspect of tennis in Paducah for me.”

McCracken County High School

“It’s been five years since we consolidated into McCracken County High School and it’s been a lot of fun working with kids from all the different schools that make up McCracken County today,” says Head Tennis Coach of McCracken County High School, Larry Heflin.

Since McCracken County High School started, the girls tennis team has won three state championships and two runner ups, and the boys team has won three state championships and one runner up.

“Overall, we’re doing really well. We have a middle school program, too, that moves kids up in the program and I have sent several players to play for college teams.”

The indoor tennis center is a boost to McCracken County High School’s tennis program and is open to the public during the winter by appointment.

“In the past, we have traveled to schools to play in tournaments at great indoor facilities, so it gives us an advantage to have our own indoor facility here in Paducah for McCracken County High School. The new facility is a huge boost to the community and the public.”

Coach Larry Helfin has been teaching tennis for more than 40 years and is currently the head coach at McCracken County High School.

He is an accomplished and awarded player himself and a strong supporter and member of the tennis community in Paducah. He stumble upon the game of tennis when he took his first teaching job at the former Lone Oak High School and the school happened to be looking for a tennis coach at the same time. Coach Heflin taught himself the game of tennis, excelled at the sport, and has taught hundreds of local players over the past several decades.

“The most rewarding thing to me is that I still have a lot of players I coached that are still playing the game. Tennis is a sport for life and can be played by anyone of any age. They’ve learned that tennis is great for good health-mental and physical, and they can play the game for life.”

Coach Helfin believe Paducah is now thriving in tennis facilities accessible in the community.

“I am excited about the newly renovated Noble Park tennis courts. That’s where I started playing tennis. The community college also renovated their facility a few years ago and then my own facility in Lone Oak is a great place to host tournament and matches. I think we’re doing really well now in having diverse and accessible tennis facilities for anyone who wants to play.”

Lone Oak Tennis Facility

The Lone Oak Tennis Facility features 12 outdoor courts and is run by the Lone Oak Tennis Association. Coach Larry Heflin has been a member of that association since 1972 and made it his mission to find a way to build tennis courts in the Lone Oak area.

“Our goal all along has been to develop a facility for junior development, kids in middle school and high school to learn the game, and a place that is open to the public.

The Lone Oak Tennis Association’s main project today is fundraising for new lighting on the courts.

 

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