Atkins Tennis Center /
Atkins Tennis Center History
Constructed in 1991, the Atkins Tennis Center remains one of the premier college tennis facilities in the country. The facility was made possible by $2.5 million contribution from Clint and Susie Atkins of Champaign, Illinois. Mr. Atkins is a real-estate investor and co-founder of the Plastic Container Corporation of Champaign. Felmley-Dickerson General Contractors oversaw the project. Ken Nelson of Unteed, Nelson, Slack, & Anderson Ltd. was the architect and C.P. Atkins, Clint’s father, designed the steelwork for the building.
The completion of the $5.3 million facility marked the beginning of a new era for tennis at the University of Illinois and in central Illinois. The Atkins Tennis Center was officially dedicated on November 2, 1991, the date of Clint and Susie Atkins’ wedding anniversary. Upon its completion, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) named the facility ‘The Most Outstanding Facility in the U.S.’ With a wonderful new facility, Champaign-Urbana’s tennis community blossomed.
The facility was built to serve as the home of Illinois women’s and men’s tennis teams. Since its opening, the Illinois men’s team won the 2003 NCAA Team Championship as well as eight Big Ten Titles from 1996 to 2005. At home matches, standing room only crowds watch the women’s and men’s tennis teams compete in an electric environment. Tennis fans come to cheer on the Illini and to contribute to the high energy atmosphere that includes the Illinois pep band, crazy mid-match entertainment, and the Net Nuts: college tennis’ first student support group.
The Division of Intercollegiate athletics at Illinois also committed to build Atkins to serve and grow the tennis community in Champaign-Urbana. Upon its opening, clinics for juniors and adults of all abilities were created. These programs are still offered today and have continued to grow, bringing new players to the game. Illinois staff, students, and faculty as well as members of the community may also come and use the courts to play with friends and play where the Illini compete. Leagues for players of varied ability levels are also offered. The Atkins Tennis Center provides all the services and amenities of clubs in large cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, or St. Louis.
In the spring of 2009, Illinois tennis welcomed the addition of the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex, made possible by the gracious donation of UI alumnus Shahid Khan and his wife, Ann.
The Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex was officially dedicated on September 12, 2009, though it had already been put to great use a few months earlier, as both the men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted NCAA first and second round matches in May.
The expansion continues the growth of tennis in central Illinois and allows for the addition of more elite tournaments and events.