MIDLAND (WJRT) -
(05/13/14) - Over the past four decades, the Midland Community Tennis Center has seen plenty of heavy hitters take the court.
"Maria Sharapova. Justine Henin, Anastasia Myskina and Francesca Schiavone. Those are some pretty big names in the world of tennis," said Mike Woody, Midland Tennis Center director.
That's why the center will blow out the candles on a big birthday cake this week.
"Forty years, it's incredible, we are so thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone with the community," said Leslie Perry, Greater Midland Community Centers.
As part of the celebration, staff members are ready to spread a little "love."
"We have free tennis lessons all week, and if you can teach me to play tennis, anyone can learn. We'll cap it off Friday with an awesome party, free food, free T-shirts for the fist 750 people. It's going to be great," Perry said.
The Midland Tennis Center first opened in 1970, and since then, more than 50 members have earned college scholarships. While watching members grow up, the center has grown as well.
"We started with six courts. We now have 40 clay courts, outdoor courts, indoor courts, 3,500 members and growing and it's just incredible," Perry said.
Midland was named America's Best Tennis Town back in 2009 - and membership has been booming ever since.
"Our numbers continue to rise, and in fact, just our courts being used last year were up about 1,000 hours," Woody said.
Woody credits that recent increase to recruiting adults who used to play as kids, but stopped.
For a schedule of events surrounding the Midland Tennis Center's fortieth anniversary, click HERE.