New amenities, new courts, and a new tennis pro on staff... there’s plenty of excitement at the Lake Mary Tennis center
Growing up in a tennis family, Kris Csandli pretty much knew every Central Florida location with tennis courts – from country clubs to local parks. But, he admits, the Lake Mary Tennis Center was the one tennis facility that eluded him... until he applied for and accepted a job as its newest tennis pro last fall.
“It was almost like an urban myth,” Kris says with a grin. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was three years old, all over Central Florida, and I had heard about the Lake Mary Tennis Center, but I had no idea where it was.”
Tucked off the corner of Country Club Road and Roland Garros Lane, approximately one mile north of Lake Mary Boulevard, the Lake Mary Tennis Center is a beautiful, country-club-style public tennis facility with seven meticulously maintained lighted Har-Tru clay courts. Even though the center has been open for nearly 20 years, it is still one of the best-kept secrets in the community.
“It’s important for the people of Lake Mary to know we’re here,” says Chris Richter, tennis coordinator for the City of Lake Mary’s Parks & Recreation Department. “Even though we do offer memberships, we also have courts available for walk-ins and daily court rentals. We’re hoping more people come by to check us out and see what we have to offer.”
The Lake Mary Tennis Center has something for every tennis enthusiast, from toddlers to seniors, from beginners to competitive players. The facility has been undergoing several renovations in recent months, including a new, more welcoming entrance and pro-shop area. The courts are also undergoing major reconstruction to ensure proper drainage and playability.
Clay courts are particularly popular with older tennis players because they are easier on the joints and provide a slower playing surface than hard courts. The Har-Tru material also dries much faster than other surfaces, allowing play to resume in as little as 45 minutes after a rainstorm.
“To have clay courts that are not private is rare,” Kris says. “Clay courts have always been considered prestigious, a luxury, compared to hard courts. It’s like the difference between a Mercedes-Benz and a Corolla.”
Kris joins longtime pro John Moss in providing tennis instruction at the Lake Mary Tennis Center. John is in charge of the youth program, coaching juniors and teaching beginners. Kris handles the center’s walk-in clinics and team clinics. The Lake Mary Tennis Center currently is home to five women’s doubles teams in Central Florida’s WAIT, GOLD, Working Women, and Classic (55-and-over) leagues.
Kris is also looking forward to putting together some special programs at the center, including a challenge to Beat the Pros and different theme nights and charity events. The public is also encouraged to attend an open house this spring (for more information, call 321-363-4580).
“Tennis has always been a passion of mine; it’s something I love to do,” Kris says. “My father plays, my mother plays – it’s in my blood. If I’m having a bad day, all I have to do is play tennis, and it totally changes my mood. It’s also a way to meet new people, get outdoors, and get away from the TV and phone and do something fun.”
Kris should know. He’s been playing tennis for 37 of his 40 years. As a teenager, he starred at Boone High School in Orlando. At one point, while in high school, Kris and his father – Joe Csandli, the former tennis director at the Orlando Tennis Center and Winter Park Racquet Club – were the #2-ranked father/son doubles team in the United States.
“Tennis is exciting and challenging,” Kris says. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way to create bonds and lifetime friendships, and it’s good for your health, too. And Lake Mary has this amazing facility!”
Kris and Chris are hoping more Lake Mary-area residents discover our city’s beautiful tennis gem. The Lake Mary Tennis Center offers a variety of memberships for families and individuals, and non-members are always welcome to take part in clinics or rent a court for a few hours. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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“We’re excited about the direction we’re moving, with all the changes and improvements,” Chris says. “Hopefully, more people will come out here and take advantage of our beautiful facility.”