Back in the 1980s, when it was called Lake Cane Marshall Park, the Lake Cane Tennis Center had just four courts, two teams and a handful of players.
Under the guidance of Marcelo Gouts, president and founder of MG Tennis, the facility at 5108 Turkey Lake Road in Dr. Phillips has grown to 17 courts, 30 teams and almost 130 students.
Gouts first came to the United States when he was 21 years old and was an accomplished junior player in his native country of Argentina. Now, 30 years later as MG’s CEO, Gouts manages the instruction programs offered at Lake Cane and is still heavily involved at the facility.
Although obscured from view at the intersection of Turkey Lake and Conroy roads, the facility — operated by Orange County Parks and Recreation, which contracts out the service of MG Tennis — is a mecca of sorts for tennis in Central Florida, with dozens of United States Tennis Association-sanctioned tournaments each year.
Lake Cane Tennis center has a combination of programs ranging from beginner to advanced levels. It hosts beginner and intermediate teams, adult clinics, private and group lessons, as well as summer camps and tournaments.
The facility offers a “QuickStart” program, focused on getting youth players quicker and technically better with tailored modifications to meet age and size. There are also youth programs to acclimate younger players to playing in competitive tournaments to prepare them to play in the junior circuits.
The center offers beginner, intermediate and advanced-level adult classes for $25 each, or $90 for a four-class package. Private lessons costs $60 to $65.
The junior program provides 12-week sessions of instruction from beginners to advanced, starting from age 4. The fall session begins Aug. 24 and ends Nov. 13, and prices for 12-week sessions start at $180.
The tennis center is also organizing a free open house called “Team Up” on Sept. 10. Gouts hopes everyone will consider coming because he believes tennis is a sport that anyone can play at any age.
“I would encourage everyone to start training in tennis, because tennis is a sport that has all the dynamics that you need for recreation and exercise,” Gouts said. “It has the cardio component, social component and mental challenge component. So it has all the components to promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s a sport you can play throughout your whole life. It’s a non-impact sport … and it’s easy to play because all you need is another person.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].