2021 Community Champions: Barnes Tennis Center named Featured Facility

December 09, 2021

WATCH: Profile on the Barnes Tennis Center


On Dec. 8, the USTA's Celebrating Community Champions virtual ceremony honored 2021 award-winners in a variety of service-based categories. During the event, each honoree received a surprise virtual call from a tennis legend as a thank-you for their contributions to growing the game of tennis both locally and nationally.


The Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego has been awarded the USTA’s highest facility honor, as it has been named the 2021 Featured Facility. The award was presented by Dana Mathewson and David Wagner on Wednesday. The Barnes Tennis Center is one of 25 winners in the annual USTA Facility Awards program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country. The full list of award-winners is at the bottom of this page.


The Barnes Tennis Center was honored at the 2021 USTA Celebrating Community Champions virtual ceremony on Dec. 8. The awardees also received a surprise virtual call from tennis legends to honor the community champions for their contributions to growing the game of tennis.

The Barnes Tennis Center is owned and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The venue hosts the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships annually, and additionally in 2021, Barnes hosted the Easter Bowl, the International Open of Southern California (ITF G1), the Youth Tennis San Diego (ITF G4), the Pac-12 Conference Men's and Women's Championships, the Golden State NAIA Championships, ITA Southwest Regionals, multiple Level 1-7 USTA junior championships, red-orange-green ball (ROG) tournaments and multiple wheelchair programs, as well as a chapter of ACEing Autism.


Barnes provides a full junior pathway beginning children as young as 3 and elevating from ROG to competitive middle school and high school programs, as well as academy programs with elite blue chip recruits. Barnes is a Chapter 4 USTA Foundation Excellence Development Team member as well as host to the San Diego Competitive Training Center programs (SCTA). Barnes has most recently partnered and opened up a performance center that offers physical therapy and training sessions to participants.


Youth Tennis San Diego's signature outreach program, the Kathy Chabot Willette After School Tennis Program, serves children of all backgrounds throughout San Diego on the blacktops of schools, parks and recreation centers. The program offers scholarships and financial assistance to children to then train at the Barnes Tennis Center in a more formalized setting.

Created in 1953, YTSD has been a beacon of tennis and educational development for kids in the most underserved areas of San Diego. The Barnes Tennis Center, which now serves thousands of kids annually through programs and tournaments, was built in 1995 as the program's dedicated youth training center.


Recently, Barnes installed LED lighting on all 25 tennis courts, while also adding two red clay courts as well as pickleball and Padel courts. In addition, updates were made to the gym and performance center as well as in landscaping. In total, more than $600,000 has been spent recently on improvements and additions to the facility. 


“Great tennis facilities like the Barnes Tennis Center help us to grow the game at the grass-roots level, and we are proud to recognize them for their ongoing impact on the sport of tennis,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “Barnes Tennis Center has embraced many of our tennis initiatives and kept the sport at the forefront of its community each year.”


To be considered for an award, facilities must be under the jurisdiction of a park and recreation department, an educational institution, a nonprofit corporation or be a private or commercially-owned-and-operated facility that offers both USTA and public programming designed to help grow tennis. 


Facilities were judged on the following criteria: overall layout and adaptation to site; excellence of court surface and lights; ease of maintenance; accommodations for players, spectators and press/officials; aesthetics; graphics, including the use of signs and landscaping; amenities such as casual seating for spectators, food services and social areas; and participation in USTA programs.


Nominated facilities were voted on in the following categories: public courts that are either small tennis centers with 2-10 courts or large tennis centers with 11 or more courts; private facilities that support the USTA and other “growth of the game” programs open to the public; and educational institutions such as colleges, universities, public and private grade schools, middle schools or high schools.


All 2021 award winners will receive a wall plaque and an all-weather sign, which can be mounted at the facility. The 2021 USTA Outstanding Facility Award winners are:


Public Courts: Small Tennis Centers (2 to 10 courts)

Barceloneta Tennis Academy (Barceloneta, Puerto Rico)

Guam National Tennis Center (Dededo, Guam)

Kinetix Tennis (Norristown, Pa.)

Lighthouse Point Tennis Center (Lighthouse Point, Fla.)


Public Courts: Large Tennis Centers (11 or more courts)

Barnes Tennis Center (San Diego)

City of Palm Beach Gardens Tennis and Pickleball Center (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)

Delray Beach Tennis Center (Delray Beach, Fla.)

HCC Tennis Center (Tampa, Fla.)

International Tennis Hall of Fame / Hall of Fame Tennis Club (Newport, R.I.)

Mesa Tennis Center (Mesa, Ariz.)

Rick Macci Tennis and Fitness Center (Boca Raton, Fla.)

Rock Hill Tennis Center (Rock Hill, S.C.)

Southlake Tennis Center (Southlake, Texas)

SVB Tennis and Wellness Center (Zephyrhills, Fla.)

Tennis Center of Camden (Camden, S.C.)

The Swim and Racquet Center (Boca Raton, Fla.)


Private Facilities

Court 16 (Long Island City, N.Y.)

DuPont Country Club (Wilmington, Del.)

Matrix Racquet Club (Lowell, Ark.)

Raleigh Racquet Club (Raleigh, N.C.)

The Birch Racquet and Lawn Club (Keller, Texas)

Top Seed Tennis Club (Nicholasville, Ky.)


Educational Institutions

Marshalltown Court Complex (Marshalltown, Iowa)

St. James High School Tennis Courts (St. James, Minn.)

The Prout School (Wakefield, R.I.)

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