Windermere leaders serve notice on unapproved tennis court usage

Parks and Recreation Chair Nora Brophy spoke during public comment to bring council awareness to the ongoing complaints about non-resident professionals teaching all non-residents on the town’s courts

The six courts in the town serve 2,200 residents.
The six courts in the town serve 2,200 residents.
Photo by Annabelle Sikes
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Windermere Town Council members addressed the ongoing battle regarding non-resident professionals teaching all non-residents on the town’s courts at their meeting Tuesday, April 11.

Parks and Recreation Chair Nora Brophy spoke during public comment to bring awareness to the issue. 

“We’re getting a ton of complaints about the tennis pros invading our tennis courts again,” she said. “This has been going on for many years. We’ve kind of done everything we know how to do: self-locking locks we’ve put on the gates, we have numbered keys, residents have all agreed not to give the keys out.”

Brophy believes the main issue is residents giving out their keys to the professionals. 

Brophy said she contacted the town’s police department to see if officers could help by monitoring the courts and checking the keys. However, she said, it’s not something the Windermere Police Department can do. She also said residents cannot enforce the courts, because it could lead to safety concerns. 

“Maybe there is some way that the town can help with this,” Brophy said. 


Mayor Jim O’Brien said enforcement of the town’s facilities has been an ongoing issue. 

“Some residents are giving these individuals access to the keys,” he said. “Those are the same residents who are complaining they have people on the tennis courts. Often, we are our own worst enemy. … This puts us in a situation of using police authorities to enforce civil things that get a little interesting; so we try to minimize those negative impacts.”

Brophy said Town Manager Robert Smith’s suggestion was to post the town’s non-emergency number at the courts on signs with warnings.

Brophy said the professionals use the town’s courts because they are free.

“To me, it sounds like the issue here is the instructors going in with the resident and not leaving with the resident,” town attorney Heather Ramos said. “So I think the resident needs to realize — and I have a feeling the residents don’t even realize — that if the instructor doesn’t leave with them, then they’re at risk of losing their key, or maybe they think the instructor is leaving five minutes later, who knows? But that seems like the issue that should be addressed first. If you bring somebody in with you, then they leave with you.”

Following the meeting, Parks and Recreation Department officials sent out an email to tennis members and Windermere neighbors.

The email noted the town recently resurfaced the Main Street courts and added windscreens at the location, as well as at the Windermere Recreation Center.

“These improvements were made after we added new tennis court privacy locks/gates to cut down on non-resident interlopers several months ago,” the email reads. “One of the areas we take great interest in is ensuring that our tennis facilities support open resident play as much as possible. Six courts for 2,200 residents seems like a lot, but our town residents are very supportive of recreational tennis and are very active on the courts, as you know.”

The email went on to explain the issue and the increase in complaints. 

“Frankly, this problem is primarily caused by residents loaning out their tennis keys,” the email read. “The tennis pros then are able to spend hours at the courts providing lessons to their other clients. This needs to stop immediately.”

The email explains any resident caught giving their tennis keys to anyone outside of their household will have their tennis privileges revoked for one year. In addition, the tennis pro who is caught illegally using the courts may be trespassed from all town property for a year, and both parties can be fined $200. 

“Moreover, to support this policy, posted instructions to report rules violations are now on all tennis courts,” the email read. “We also encourage any resident you may know to immediately recall any tennis key that has been loaned out to avoid this very public embarrassment of losing tennis privileges.”



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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