Weeds, cracks, graffiti found at numerous Calgary tennis courts

With tennis season in full swing, CBC Calgary checked out some of the 66 public courts across the city and found that many are unkempt, while some are virtually unplayable.

Courts are inspected by city employees every 1 to 2 years and resurfaced every 7

These types of bumps on a tennis court surface can become safety hazards, city officials say. (Shubi Ahmed/CBC)

With tennis season in full swing, CBC Calgary checked out some of the 66 public courts across the city and found many unkempt while others are virtually unplayable.

Of the eight courts visited, many court surfaces had cracks and depressions, while nets had holes or were marked with graffiti.

"There's a lot of interest in tennis within the city, however there's a lack of proper facilities," said tennis player Brian Calkins.

He said during the warmer months, players resort to an unofficial 30-minute time limit on good courts in order to share with others so that no one gets stuck playing on a bad court that could cause injuries. 

Graffiti and litter were also found at several tennis courts in Calgary. (Shubi Ahmed/CBC)

"My wife actually... hit a line with her toe that was elevated and she fell outstretched, dislocated her arm and now she's out for a year of tennis because of a court that could have been maintained, but just wasn't," said Calkins. 

Kelly Barrie, a physiotherapist and owner of Fifth Avenue Physiotherapy, says getting injured from playing on an uneven surface is not uncommon.

"When you play tennis, you stop, go, side to side, forward and back," said Barrie. "If you're on a court that has debris on it or a little crack, if you land and your ankle is on a bit of an angle, it is very easy for it to roll over."

Maintenance cycle

The City of Calgary says public courts are resurfaced on a seven-year cycle, but employees inspect the courts every one to two years.

Level cracks that aren't expected to impact play are considered minor.

"If they get any bigger than that, then it becomes a tripping issue and a safety issue," said David Hobson from Calgary parks and recreation.

However, Hobson says resurfacing means courts can be closed from June until the end of September.

Some of the public tennis courts in the city have weeds and grass sprouting through the cracks. (Shubi Ahmed/CBC)

Courts in Silver Springs, Dalhousie, Richmond Green, Douglasglen, West Springs and Whitehorn communities are scheduled for maintenance this summer.

Tennis players can report graffiti damage or safety concerns to 311.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener