Indoor tennis facility under construction in Plainfield
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com August 26, 2013 5:34PM
Robin Henders, co-owner of Fire Star Tennis Co., visits the construction site for his new five-court, 40,000-square-foot indoor tennis facility at 119th and Normantown Road in Plainfield. | Cindy Wojdyla Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:17AM
Tennis — for Robin Henders — is an individual sport that teaches kids self reliance and problem solving skills when they’re out on the court.
It’s also a lifelong sport, he says.
“You can play it until you can’t walk anymore, and then there’s wheelchair tennis,” he said.
Now Henders, a tennis pro who coached at North Central College and was junior director at the Naperville Tennis Club, is teaming up with Dan Brown, a chemistry teacher who is the head boys tennis coach a Naperville Central High School, to open a new indoor tennis facility in the western suburbs.
Ground was broken Sunday for a five-court, 40,000-square-foot indoor tennis facility at 119th and Normantown Road in Plainfield. Five Star Tennis Center should be open by Jan. 1.
Henders, 31, of Plainfield said the indoor tennis hub will be the first tennis-only facility to be built in the western suburbs in 40 years. The south Naperville, Plainfield, Oswego, Joliet region was overdue for such a building, he says. The industry standard is one indoor tennis court for every 10,000 residents, so the area has a 24-court deficiency, Henders said.
Henders and Brown, 41, of Naperville met several years ago and created a summer league called Five Star Tennis in 2007 for area youth ages 6-18. The league started with 25 participants and now has 260. As the league grew, Henders and Brown would talk about expanding the program. But they knew they wanted indoor courts of their own.
Henders said any tennis pro will tell you it’s tough to coach budding tennis stars on courts filled with water. When it rains, play stops and the coaches have to use a giant squeegee.
“Every tennis teacher and pro just hates doing it,” Henders said.
So the men decided building an indoor facility was the way to go.
During an interview in Plainfield on Monday, Henders said at first he and Brown thought they could build homes next to each other and have an adjacent tennis facility. But once they learned that residential and business zoning don’t mix, they opted to find a plot of land in Plainfield for their business.
That was four years ago. After revising their business plan several times, they finally received bank financing and backing from the federal Small Business Administration for their tennis center.
Henders said, the Five Star tennis facility will offer leagues, instruction and court rentals and the steel building — which will include locker rooms, a pro shop, a racket-stringing center and a lounge — will be a family-friendly business that caters to all ages.
There are area fitness clubs that have some indoor courts, Henders said.
“But we’re tennis specific and we’re owned by tennis enthusiasts and tennis pros,” he said describing himself and Brown.
The site chosen for the Five Star tennis building is big enough for a 40,000-square-foot addition and six more courts, said Henders.
While the Five Star tennis league for youth will still use outdoor courts at Plainfield high schools in the summer, the indoor facility will be available year round to any tennis fan in the region who doesn’t want to worry about rain, snow
or heat, Henders said.
“If you’re in the Midwest, you need an indoor court,” he said.
For more information on the
Five Star Tennis Center
go to www.fivestartennis.com.