USTA: Once considered ‘tennis desert,’ Richmond now has thriving tennis community

USTA: Once considered 'tennis desert,' Richmond now has thriving tennis community.
The renovation of Richmond tennis courts (the one above is at Lucas Park) has a lot to do with the revival of tennis in Richmond.

Inside Tennis, a publication run by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), recently published a great article on how Richmond went from being a “desert for tennis opportunities” to having a “thriving tennis community for all ages and abilities” in just a few years.

The transformation began, the article stated, after retired couple Garry and Maryn Hurlbut moved to Point Richmond from Oakland and learned their new city’s 22 tennis courts were in bad shape and that the only active tennis organization was being run solely for youths by the City of Richmond’s Recreation Department.

So Garry began volunteering with the Recreation Department to teach adult tennis classes, and Maryn formed a committee to refurbish the city’s tennis courts. The collective efforts garnered support from various community groups, which led to five courts being renovated in 2012 and six more last year. Advocates are trying to get two more Nicholl Park courts redone this year as well as another at the Natatorium, hoping to raise matching funds with the city.

With new courts, Garry then started a local USTA league team, and additional youth programs followed.