Ryan and Angela Heider spent years searching for the right facilities and teachers to help improve their children’s tennis games.
When they couldn’t find the right mix of a facility that was close to their home in Mooresville and affordable, the Heiders decided to create their own.
The Lake Norman Tennis Center, which opened April 1 in the Talbert Pointe Business Park in Mooresville, currently has 14 courts – five indoor courts, and six clay courts and three hard courts outside – as well as workout facilities and viewing areas, and two pickleball courts (a racquet sport that combines aspects of tennis, badminton and pingpong).
Once work is complete on the main building, the tennis center will also have a pro shop, a snack bar and classroom space.
“There aren’t any public clay courts in Mooresville, or any indoor courts in Mooresville – there aren’t really any nice facilities anywhere close by,” Angela Heider said. “We knew there was a need in the community for something like that, and Mooresville was the size that we thought we could do it. We felt that this was the opportunity for Mooresville to have something like this.”
Both Heiders – Angela is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist and Ryan is a surgeon – are avid tennis players, a sport that they have passed on to their four children: sons Ryan, 14, and Henry, 11; and daughters Emory, 10, and Tatum, 7.
Three of the children are ranked among the top 100 junior players in North Carolina in their age groups. Ryan is No. 20 in boys 14-under, and was ranked as high as 17th earlier this year; Henry is 95th in boys 12-under, and Emory is 95th in girls 10-under.
However, finding the right coaches and facilities to help their children improve their games became a challenge for the Heiders.
“We got to a point where the needs they had, we couldn’t meet in Mooresville,” Angela Heider said. “We really couldn’t meet them within a two-hour radius.
“We were looking for a high-performance, state-of-the-art facility with all of the types of courts needed to train juniors … and you need good coaches, coaches that can take players and make them college-ready athletes. We didn’t have that in this area.”
In addition to the facilities – annual memberships range from $95 to $125 per month, along with a one-time membership fee of $500 – the Heiders also hired some top-notch personnel to help run the Lake Norman Tennis Center.
The center’s co-directors of tennis, Alex Bogomolov and Robby Edge, both have extensive tennis backgrounds. Bogomolov is a former Association of Tennis Professionals touring pro who was ranked 33rd in the world in 2011, and was once the United States’ top-ranked junior player. Edge, who has lived in Charlotte for 10 years, has worked with some of the top junior players in the region, with more than a dozen of his students earning scholarships to NCAA Division I tennis programs.
“We’ve got some really top-notch pros,” Angela Heider said. “Not many kids in the world can go out and play with someone who recently retired from the (ATP) tour.”
But the Heiders, who are the majority partners in the tennis center, weren’t focused on creating a tennis academy like the IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis Program in Bradenton, Fla. – they thought of the family aspect as well.
“For a family that spends their time developing junior tennis players, that pretty much becomes your life,” Angela Heider said. “If that was going to be our life, then we wanted it to be nice. We wanted to it to be a space where people could come together, enjoy events and meals and time together, and where we could build a team.
“Tennis is such an individual sport that it can be kind of isolating. We wanted it to be somewhere where they could really have a good childhood, enjoy themselves and learn – not just about tennis, but how to be a standup person. We wanted that kind of environment.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.