Its eight red clay courts make the tennis facility at Bear Mountain in Langford the largest of its kind in Western Canada. A local tennis advocate has been encouraging the City of Victoria to construct similar courts and says the popularity of clay around the world could enhance the region”s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid. Joel Tansey/Black Press

More clay courts in Victoria might help Commonwealth Games bid

Tennis fan advocates for construction of international calibre courts

Re: Commonwealth Games bid committee named (News, July 12)

I read with great interest about the bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I have suggested to the City of Victoria the addition of healthy, soft ground red clay tennis courts in the city, either at Beacon Hill Park or a similar attractive location.

Reading this article, I feel that such an attractive addition to our sports facilities, especially one of international calibre, might help in the bid for the Commonwealth Games. Did you know that clay is the most common surface for tennis in the world outside the West Coast of North America?

Robert Bettauer, TV colour man for tennis on Sportsnet and CEO of Greater Victoria’s Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, said about clay courts, “You have to construct points on clay and not just slap them down. Almost all the top-ranked players in the world learned their game on clay. Clay is very forgiving on the body and has a longevity effect on the joints.

He went on, “It is slower ball play than hard court and makes for more extended rallies, and that makes you actually think about your game and not just about banging the ball … And it is a great surface on which to teach juniors.”

Clay seems easier to maintain than the beautiful grass courts of historical Wimbledon, and having them would substantially improve the performance level of all players, not to mention keep our joints and limbs in good health.

So it is the suggestion of more mature tennis players to install red clay tennis courts and thus attract an international clientele, including 2022 Commonwealth Games participants.

Paula M. Buchholz

Victoria