Irvine’s motto is City of Innovation, but I vote for a switch to the City of Tennis.
The city has 98 lighted courts — all free to the public. And all of those courts are open for walk-on play (unless there is a scheduled lesson or match on the court) from dawn until 10 p.m.
I started playing ladies league tennis 17 years ago and still compete at least twice a week on courts all over Orange County. From my experience, Irvine has more opportunities for adults who play tennis than any other city.
I called Community Services Supervisor Collum McLaughlin to get some numbers. According to him, a whopping 4,000 adults participated in either tennis lessons, leagues or tournaments in the city last year.
To keep up with demand, four new courts were built at Los Olivos earlier this year and three new ones at Portola Springs.
“The courts at Los Olivos are beautiful,” McLaughlin said. “It’s awesome to have the Irvine Company willing to build these courts for the community to use.”
There is tennis for every sort of player too.
“We try to hit every skill level, age level, interest level,” McLaughlin says. And time slot.
The city offers year-round tennis lessons for all levels and ages. Private instruction also is available with certified professionals (in eight languages). And for those seeking advanced training, there is the Brymer Lewis Tennis Academy, which has produced national champions and nationally ranked No. 1 players in every division.
Check out the city’s website at: cityofirvine.org/tennis-pickleball for more information about tennis team leagues, tennis camps, tennis academies, tennis lessons – and also pickleball leagues and courts.
One year I took the second place trophy in the 4.5 singles draw at Grand Slam champion Michael Chang’s tournament at Racquet Club of Irvine. Just thought I’d mention that.