ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -- Before it could mark its grand opening, the Sarah Vande Burg Tennis Center had to overcome challenges caused by a pandemic that's complicated life for so many.

What You Need To Know

  • SVB Tennis Center grand opening to include music, activities, and unveiling of statue

  • $8 million facility includes tennis, pickleball, and padel courts, as well as a salt room and cryotherapy

  • Pandemic led to initial slow membership sales, change in materials used for features like lockers

"During COVID, we literally had nobody sign up for membership. I mean, zero in five months, which was a little bit scary, but for the last two or three months, it's really picking up," said CEO and Owner Pascal Collard.

The pandemic also brought about some design changes. Planned wooden lockers are now made of material that's easier to clean, and partitions have been installed around a table where young members of the center's United Global Academy study. 

Athletes and members first stepped inside two weeks ago. Now, staff are ready to show the center off to the rest of the community.

"Truly, this is state-of-the-art. This is unique. There are bigger facilities in the world, for sure, but there's nothing close to this," said Collard.

The center is surrounded by padel and pickleball courts. As for tennis courts? Just pick your surface.

"We're going to be having a grass court here, which is absolutely unique to Tampa," said Collard before pointing out the center's clay court. "These are called 'hydrocourts'...As you can see, it's a little bit like sand, thick sand."

Inside, there are rooms for yoga and massage, and salt and cryotherapy. 

Collard said it's too early to estimate how much revenue and tourism the center could bring into the county, but the area is about to get its first taste of SVB visitors thanks to an upcoming pickleball tournament.

"In about a month from now, we have 300 people coming here to play a national senior event. They're going to be living in Wesley Chapel, they're going to be living in Zephyrhills. So, this is attracting people from all over the U.S. to come play," said Collard.

Collard said the public is welcome to attend the grand opening on Oct. 17 from 10:30-1:00. He does note that they will be limiting the amount of people allowed inside and encourages potential visitors to keep that in mind. The center is located at 6585 Simons Rd.