Print Edition: June 3, 2015
The season for outdoor tennis has arrived, alongside summer’s long dry days and warm nights. With over 20 public courts in Abbotsford, tennis offers a perfect exercise option to save on a gym membership.
When you are considering Abbotsford’s wide range of courts to choose from, think about where you’ll feel most comfortable. If you are a new player, look for something that will offer some privacy; a court that is standalone (you won’t have someone playing right beside you), or more youth-oriented won’t make you feel judged with every missed serve. If you like playing during the day, find a location that is well-shaded. For those of us who prefer playing late into the evening, Abbotsford is home to a handful of lit courts as well. Here are some options when selecting your home court.
MSA arena courts
The MSA arena hosts a four-court cluster on Emerson Street. While the number of courts might suggest a low wait time, it’s a popular destination for tennis enthusiasts. If you arrive at peak playing time (around 7 p.m.), you may find you have to sit out for a match or two. However, the site is equipped with a practice wall to use while you wait. For those who are just starting out, this court doesn’t afford any privacy; if you have a tendency to hit the ball out-of-bounds, you will have unappreciative neighbours. The courts are lit until 10 p.m., so if you’re a shy player, or don’t want to risk a wait, come later in the evening — or during the day if you can take the heat.
DeLair park courts
DeLair park offers my favourite of Abbotsford’s free courts, nestled in a treed park beside soccer and baseball fields. The two lit courts are less popular, likely because they are a little further out of the way of dense residential areas, which means a lower wait time. It’s the perfect court to play on without an audience, and by early evening shade from a nearby tree protects players from the sun.
While several of Abbotsford’s schools maintain tennis courts, the courts at MEI are by far the nicest. The facility offers four well-maintained courts in a shaded area of the school. For parents, a nearby playground can entertain children within view of the courts. You’ll find a younger average age of players, which certainly defuses any pressure to perform. The only downside of this location is its limited hours; it isn’t a lit court, so on schooldays public access is limited to after school and before dusk.