The University of South Carolina celebrated opening a brand-new, $7 million Carolina Indoor Tennis Center in a dedication ceremony on Friday evening.
The 55,000 square foot facility features six courts and will include locker rooms, public restrooms and athletics training space for medical treatment of student-athletes. This will allow the Gamecock tennis program to have the advantage of training and playing matches year-round.
"Now with this facility, we can do a lot of things that we've never been able to do before," athletics director Ray Tanner said. "Are the expectations to win at a higher level? Most athletics directors would tell you absolutely. I'm not just another athletics director. Winning is hard, but [this facility] does eliminate that opportunity that we didn't have before, so we're grateful for that."
The indoor courts will resemble the quality and look of the outdoor courts at the Carolina Tennis Center with garnet courts surrounded in gray. Additionally, custom lighting was installed to provide the best possible playing experience.
Josh Goffi, the men's tennis head coach, noted it was tough to schedule quality opponents like North Carolina, Ohio State and Michigan because of not having an indoor facility during the months of January and February.
Goffi said the new facility will allow the Gamecocks to host indoor matches during those colder months.
"We're going to be able to get in there with the big dogs right off the bat," Goffi said. "And that's going to allow us to be able to get out there and reap the benefits of all the work they're doing."
To raise the final $500,000 to complete the project, former student-athletes, alumni and tennis supporters helped achieve this goal by donating.
Former Gamecock tennis star Thiago Pinheiro brought his former teammates together to help raise money.
"This is an absolute state-of-the-art facility. I've had the opportunity to play in other indoor facilities across the SEC and college athletics in general, and this place is as good as any that I have seen," Pinheiro said.
Kendall Couch, a junior on the women's tennis squad, called the university's athletics department "so special."
"There are not many other athletic departments in the country that would work tirelessly to complete a project as big as this in a COVID era for a sport that doesn't produce any revenue in return," she said.
The tennis teams will host the Gamecock Hidden Dual from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31.