Whitney Young High School’s tennis courts get facelift, new name

The revamped courts are named after 1985 alumna and former pro tennis player Katrina Adams, who attended a ribbon-cutting at the school Tuesday.

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Whitney Young Magnet High School coach and faculty members, along with Whitney Young alumna and tennis player Katrina Adams cut the ribbon to the school’s renovated tennis courts.

From left: Whitney Young Magnet High School Principal Joyce Kenner, Whitney Young tennis coach Carl Abram, former Ald. Bob Fioretti, former pro tennis player and Whitney Young alumna Katrina Adams and Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (5th) cut the ribbon Tuesday on the school’s newly renovated Katrina Adams Tennis Courts.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Bella Mendez-Robles, an incoming junior at Whitney Young Magnet High School on the Near West Side, was happy to see her school’s newly renovated tennis courts open for play.

“I’m on the tennis team and it’s great that I’m able to play tennis with everyone at these home courts, practice my skills and make new friendships here,” the 16-year-old said.

Whitney Young’s tennis courts, now named in honor of 1985 alum and former professional tennis player Katrina Adams, opened for community use on Tuesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony where Adams herself was present.

“My journey in tennis was solidified on these courts,” said Adams, who after retiring as a player went on to serve as the president and CEO of the United States Tennis Association. “I hope I can continue to inspire generations to come, and every time a new student or community player steps on the court and asks, ‘Who was Katrina Adams?’ may my story and legacy inspire them to own their arena as I have always walked in confidence in owning my arena.”

The renovations, which cost $240,000, began in March and took three months to complete. The courts got a complete resurfacing and new lines, among other improvements.

Carl Abram, Whitney Young’s boys tennis coach, said the renovations were greatly needed because the old courts had many potholes.

“The years have worn them out for sure,” Abram said.

The courts, located at 110 S. Laflin St., can be booked online by community members for a fee of $15 per hour, which will be used to pay for continued upkeep.

Principal Joyce Kenner said getting the courts renovated was part of a 10-year effort to refresh the school’s athletic facilities.

After the ribbon-cutting, members of the community and Whitney Young students took to the courts and started playing. Adams even joined in and participated in a few games with the players.

“I feel honored,” Mendez-Robles said about being able to hit shots with the former pro.

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