By John Burton
LITTLE SILVER – The owners of Little Silver Tennis Club are undertaking renovations to their facility to accommodate an increase in demand from the sport’s youngest players.
“Tennis is back. It’s here,” especially for younger players, says Jeff Miller, co-owner of the tennis facility, 100 Birch Ave. “People walking in the front door. It’s more than it ever was.”
“If it wasn’t,” he continued, “we wouldn’t be able to pay for this.”
By “this,” Miller meant the plans he and his business partner, David Braka, are launching to enclose the existing six outdoor courts at the facility.
The borough Planning Board recently approved the plan for the facility to use pre-manufactured building material to build the enclosure for the existing outdoor clay courts.
Construction is expected to begin in about a month, Miller said, and take approximately six months to complete.
The private club was established in 1969 “making it the oldest club in the area,” Miller said. Although memberships are available, the club is also available to the public for a fee. Currently the site has six recently resurfaced indoor courts
The reason for the planned work is to accommodate the facility’s youth program, “the backbone of the business,” which continues to grow, according to Miller.
“There isn’t enough court time for the younger players,” he said.
With a lot of new families moving into the area, the owners are seeing more and more children pursuing tennis as a competitive sport on school teams and for recreation. “And some of these kids are top-notch national players” Miller said.
A few of the club’s regular players participated in last December’s Junior Orange Bowl tennis international competition, in Miami, Florida.
The club regularly attracts young athletes from as far away as Staten Island and Mantoloking. When you get players passionate at an early age they are apt to stay with it for much of their life, Miller observed. And in the case of those playing here, many come from families where older members have continued to play, he added.
Tennis team members, from both the male and female teams, from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, also practice at the club.
Miller, a Sea Bright resident has been a co-owner since 1992, with Braka, Oakhurst, who has held a partnership stake since 1994.
Along with the court enclosure, Miller and Braka have recently renovated the club’s locker rooms and installed indirect lighting. The club also has a newly renovated lounge, a pro shop with a racquet stringing service and child care.
Along with the junior academy, players will find adult leagues and clinics offered, courts available for tennis parties and tournaments scheduled.
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