Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Break Adult Programs at Atkins

Spring Session I of Atkins Programming begins the week of Jan. 9th.  Between now and then check out these other great tennis opportunities for Adults at Atkins!

-Adult Holiday Camp- Dec. 31st 9am-12pm and 1:30pm-4:30pm $60/person
Drills, games, match play video analysis, and more!

Sign up by calling 217-244-8562.  Contact Brandon Lenfert at bdlenfer@illinois.edu with any questions

-Adult Holiday Drop-ins
Monday, Jan. 2nd 10am-11am Cardio Tennis ($12)
Tuesday, Jan. 3rd 12pm-1pm Stroke of the Day ($12)
Wednesday Jan. 4th 8am-9am Cardio Tennis ($12)
Wednesday Jan. 4th 9am-10:30am Ladies Morning Drill ($18)

Friday Jan. 6th 12pm-1pm Boot camp ($12)

Holiday Break Junior Programs at Atkins!

Spring Session I of Atkins Programming begins the week of Jan. 9th.  Between now and then check out these other great tennis opportunities for juniors at Atkins!

Junior Holiday Camp-Dec. 28th, 10am-5pm.  $75/player.  This includes 6 hours of tennis and pizza lunch.  Tennis from 10am-1pm, Lunch from 1-2pm, Tennis from 2pm-5pm.
MSITA Tourney Prep Matchplay- Jan. 3rd and 4th, 1-3pm each day. $20/day/player.  Practice matches to keep your game sharp over break and ready for tournaments or high school season!
Eligible players for both junior events listed above should be ages 10-18 or able to compete in either green ball or yellow ball USTA tourneys.  Sign up by calling 217-244-8562.  Contact Brandon Lenfert at bdlenfer@illinois.edu with any questions.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tennis players 56% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease

"An analysis of more than 80,000 adults who were tracked for nearly a decade finds that those who played tennis, badminton or squash had the lowest risk of dying during the course of the study. Compared with people who didn’t play racket sports, those who did were 47% less likely to die of any cause and 56% less likely to die as a result of cardiovascular disease."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kids Day at JSM Challenger! (FREE)

Come check out Kid's Day at the 2016 JSM Challenger this Friday, Nov. 11th from 5-6pm! Free tennis clinic for players age 3-10! Join Men's Coaches Brad Dancer, Marcos Asse and players from the team for this unique experience. If you don't have a racquet or any tennis experience, no problem! We will help you with both!

More information in the following link!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Park district tennis leagues start Monday

The next round of adult tennis league at Dodds Tennis Center start next Monday. There are openings for players with rated between 2.5 to 5.0 in one of four non-USTA sanctioned seven-week leagues.

To sign up or for more information contact league administrator and head pro Yuri Sohn at (217) 819-3993 or via email at yurisohn@champaignparks.com.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Atkins Fall Session II!

Fall Session II of Atkins Programming begins this coming Monday! Session II will run 6 weeks of clinics over an 8 week time period. Sign up for your favorite clinic before all the spots are filled! Call 217-244-8562 or stop by the front desk to register! Or try our online registration at atkins.clubautomation.com... Contact Head Pro, Brandon Lenfert with any questions regarding clinic registration at bdlenfer@illinois.edu.
See everyone soon!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Free 10 and Under Tennis Clinic and Shopping this Saturday!

Play Tennis and Pop-Up Boutique this Saturday at the Atkins Tennis center from 10am-12pm. FREE10 and under tennis clinic along with local shopping vendors for parents to browse! Spread the word to anyone looking to get their 10 and under child involved in a great sport like tennis or just to do some holiday shopping! We will have racquets for participants who do not have one and more information on our upcoming programs including our free racquet program for first time clinic participants! Check out our facebook page for all the information on the event and for more updates such as this!...https://www.facebook.com/AtkinsTennisCenter/

Friday, September 9, 2016

Atkins Fall Brochure

Check out the Fall Brochure online at the following link:


Be sure to check out our two new programs this year, Homeschool Tennis and Toddler Tennis and the brand new "Free Racquet Program" for all first time Atkins clinic participants in Hot Shots, Heavy Hitters and Toddler Tennis!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Atkins Tennis Center FREE Kickoff Event!

Hope to see everyone out at the Atkins Tennis Center Fall Kickoff Event this Sunday from 4-6pm! This event is FREE and features the entire Atkins Tennis Center teaching staff and the Fighting Illini men's and women's teams! All Ages and Abilities are encouraged to come! Games, Prizes, Demos, meet and greet with the teams and so much more! Bring your tennis gear and some friends and we'll see everyone this Sunday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Labor Day Tournament Around The Corner

Didn't make the cut to play in the America's premier tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows this year? No need to keep your racquet in the bag over the upcoming holiday weekend. Once again the Champaign Park District will host its annual Labor Day Tennis Tournament and there is still time to register.

As in the past, the non-USTA sanctioned tournament will be held at Lindsay Courts starting on Sunday, September 4, and finishing up on Monday, September 5. Unlike the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for The Open, Lindsay offers intimate seating to enjoy area recreational players test their skills and make highlight-reel worthy moments against tenacious opponents. Organizers hope to see players of all ages from Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding communities battle for titles in 13 categories this September.

This year's event will offer three age groups for youth players 16 and under as well as ten events for adult competitors.

The divisions for juniors players are Boys and Girls 12 & under, Boys and Girls 14 & under and Boys and Girls 16 & under.

Adult divisions include Beginner/Intermediate Singles Open (NTRP 2.0 – 2.5), Men’s Open Singles, Women’s Open Singles, Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles, Men’s and Women’s 35 Singles & Doubles, Men’s and Women’s 45 Singles, Men’s and Women’s 55 Singles, Men’s 65 Singles, Men’s 70 Singles and Mixed Open Doubles.

Registration for all singles divisions closes at 5pm on August 30. Competitors are limited to one singles category and one doubles category. Doubles partners can enter until 12p on Sunday at the tournament location. Entry fee for singles is $25 and $20 per partner for doubles.

For more information or to register online go to https://champaignparks.com/programs/tennis/

Friday, August 19, 2016

String Review: TierOne's T1 Firewire

Having just made Kirchbaum's Black Shark and Pro Line II offerings my go-to strings, a Tier One's ad found its way on to my Facebook time line. Eager to try some of the strings they offered, I ordered several sets to test.

Over the past two months I have tried five or six other shaped/textured strings from various manufacturers and without a doubt Tier One's T1 Firewire string outperforms them all when it comes to generating spin. The string's triangle shape and rotating pattern produces the sickest amount of effortless spin on ground strokes and slices I've played with to date.

While stringing the 18 gauge version in the mains 10% under the normal synthetic gut tension it seemed like the stiffness of the string would be an issue in terms of power and comfort. However, in a hybrid with Gosen's Micro 17 in the crosses the ball seemingly explodes out of the string bed delivering deep trajectories into the back court while transmitting very little shock through the frame.

If you have a hard flat serve you probably won't be terribly impressed with this string. You will definitely notice a slower pace but will enjoy decent control when it comes to placement. On the other hand, the shape of the string delivers more explosive bounces on kick and wide slice serves.

Having only played a couple of hours on two different sticks – Babolat Pure Storm and a Prince TT Bandit - the jury is out on durability. As for control, which I think will vary from stick to stick, I feel like the heavier Pure Storm is more apt to put the ball on the target both with ground strokes and volleys than the lighter, more flexible Bandit.

Not only are these strings great for the baseliner, if you are the club or group Spin Doctor or Slice Master you'll have opponents frustrated and swatting at air. You won't be able to stop smiling after seeing the look on guy's face across from you after hitting a table tennis slice that jumps on the rise into their face or chest.

At $9 a set definitely worth seeing how Firewire will enhance and amplify the way you spin the ball. Check out this and other string in the TierOne line up here: TierOne USA.

By Clark Brooks

Friday, July 8, 2016

Session II Starting At Atkins With Awesome Clincs

Still time to get your tennis game in shape this Summer!

Summer Session II of Atkins Programming gets underway this coming week(July 10th) and runs through Aug. 12th. There is one conflict week(8/1-8/5) where classes and clinics won't meet.

Contact the front desk at 217-244-8562 to grab your spot in one of our clinics today!

Check out our brochure below:

Atkins 2016 Summer Brochure

Monday, June 27, 2016

EIU to host summer tennis camps

Looking to improve your tennis game this summer? Eastern Illinois University will host two week long junior camps for kids from ages five to 18 at Darling Courts led by the Panthers' head women's coach Emily Wang. There will also be two one-day camps for beginner and intermediate level adults tennis players. The camps will focus on all skills based on skill levels. Participants will receive an EIU t-shirt and have the opportunity to win special prizes.

The youth camp will be divided into three sections starting with beginners from 5-12 years-old, intermediate players in the same age group and a separate section for middle school and high school players in grades 7 and up. There are two sessions to choose from with the first starting July 11-15 and the second August 8-12.

Wang, who was considered the top prep tennis player in Kansas, took the reigns of the EIU program last August. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2007 where she was four-year varsity athlete on the women's tennis team and earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week recognition. She is also a certified professional by United States Professional Tennis Association.

The adult mini-camp will be held on July 9 and August 13 from 9 a.m. until noon. The three-hour session will focus on a variety of strokes as well as game strategy. Registration can be made on the day of the camp starting at 8:45 a.m. and online here.

For more information or to register follow this link to Eastern Illinois sports camps page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Atkins Summer Program Brochure Is Out

Check out the 2016 Atkins summer brochure at the following link so you can make your summer tennis plans! 

Find our spring and summer brochures here:

Bantz Moves Up C-U Ladder

Michael Bantz rose one rung on the ladder earlier this month defeating Brant Houston, 6-3, 6-3. Bantz, who has been as high as #2 on the ladder at one point last fall, moved back up to third place forcing Houston down to fourth with the win.

The loss for Houston comes two days after defending his position on the ladder from Clark Brooks with a convincing 6-4, 6-0 victory. After snagging a break in the 8th game, Houston served out the first set for a hard-fought win. Taking advantage of his opponents frustration and inconsistency, he got the bagel in a set lasting less than 20 minutes.

The C-U Ladder is open to adult players of all ages and skill level. Learn more about the Champaign-Urbana Tennis Ladder and play more tennis today.

Current League Standings  

As of April 9, 2016

1  - D. Maloney
2  - T. Wilson
3  - M. Bantz
4  - B. Houston
5  - W. Smith
6  - D. Topkin
7  - P. Imoukheude
8  - C. Brooks
9  - T. Ellis
10 - P. Testa
11 - T. McAlpin
12 - C. Nerone
13 - M. Brenner
14 - P. Loechl
15 - J. Klug
16 - P. Hammie
17 - C. Chattic
18 - C. Gratkins
19 - S. Khan
20 - N. Ribeiro
21 - H. Wong
22 - S. Pickard
23 - S. Hohenwater

Recent Match Results  

As of April 9, 2016

April 9 - Bantz def. Houston, 6-3, 6-3
April 7 - Houston def. Brooks, 6-4, 6-0

You're Never Too Old To Start Playing The Pros

It's never too late to become a pro player. Just ask Gail Falkenberg, age 69, who started tennis as a walk-on at UCLA in the 1960s. Dropping out the sport to work for many years, she trained and hit the pro circuit at age 38. According the article in the link below, she won a qualifying match at the 1988 Australian Open and lost to Jennifer Capriati, who was 13 at the time.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hiltzik, Vukic Lead Illini In Conference Home Win

The Illinois men's tennis team improved to 16-7 on the season and 7-1 in Big Ten play after hosting Michigan State University on Friday, 4-0. The victory notched the eighth consecutive victory for the Illini who have not lost since March 22 against #18 Kentucky at the time.

The Fighting Illini jumped out to 1-0 lead after securing the doubles point for the eighth time in the last nine matches over the Spartans. MSU was looking for a win after losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota in the previous week.

Illini tennis player Aron Hiltzik
Aron Hiltzik hits a forehand shot Michigan State. Hiltzik picked up both the singles victory over Michael Dube and a doubles win with partner Aleks Vukic over Spartans' Mac Roy and Jasper Koenen.

Illini dynamic duo Brian Page and Julian Childers won their third straight match putting a 6-0 bagel on Billy Shisler and Ivan Rakic at #3 doubles. Later, Jared Hiltzik and Pengxuan Jiang defeated Michael Dube and Colin Harvey, 6-1, to give the Orange and Blue the doubles point.

With three nationally-ranked singles competitors on the roster, it didn't take long for Illinois to win the first of two matches this weekend.

Aron Hiltzik, ranked #70 nationally, extended his winning streak to eight matches after rolling over Spartans' Michael Dube, 6-2, 6-2.

Fighting Illini's Brian Page
Brian Page keeps the ball in play during a long second set rally against Ivan Rakic in the Illinois men's tennis team's home match against Michigan State. Page, a senior, defeated Ivan Rakic, 6-4, 6-2, and won his doubles match with Julian Childers over Billy Shisler and Rakic.

On the first 80ยบ day of the year and only the second outdoor match for the Illini, #4 ranked Aleks Vukic pummeled MSU's Mac Roy on the #1 singles court, 6-2, 6-4. The win keeps Vukic's conference record unblemished at 6-0 in Big Ten play.

Brian Page won his third straight singles contest sealing the deal for Illinois. He clinched the match for the Illini on court five defeating Ivan Rakic, 6-4, 6-2, in their #5 singles matchup.

The Lllini host Michigan on Sunday in their final home match of the season.


Singles competition
1. #4 Aleks Vukic (ILL) def. Mac Roy (MICHST) 6-2, 6-4
2. #70 Aron Hiltzik (ILL) def. Michael Dube (MICHST) 6-2, 6-2
3. Julian Childers (ILL) vs. Jasper Koenen (MICHST) 5-7, 4-4, unfinished
4. Asher Hirsch (ILL) vs. Alexander Kim (MICHST) 6-2, 4-6, unfinished
5. Brian Page (ILL) def. Ivan Rakic (MICHST) 6-4, 6-2
6. Alex Jesse (ILL) vs. Colin Harvey (MICHST) 6-4, 4-3, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Aleks Vukic/Aron Hiltzik (ILL) vs. Mac Roy/Jasper Koenen (MICHST) 5-3, unfinished
2. Jared Hiltzik/Pengxuan Jiang (ILL) def. Michael Dube/Colin Harvey (MICHST) 6-1
3. Brian Page/Julian Childers (ILL) def. Billy Shisler/Ivan Rakic (MICHST) 6-0

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ines Vias Post-Match Interview

Ines Vias Post-Match Interview - Indiana (4/8/16)

Ines Vias post-match interview following the #Illini's 5-2 win over No. 68 Indiana

Posted by Fighting Illini Women's Tennis on Saturday, April 9, 2016

Video Highlights From Illini Womens W Over Indiana

@IlliniWTennis vs. Indiana Highlights 4/8/16

Check out the highlights from the Illinois Women's Tennis victory over No. 68 Indiana last night! #Illini

Posted by Fighting Illini Women's Tennis on Saturday, April 9, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


If you gonna play like one of the best team in the country, you gotta rock that look. Can't wait for them to bring back the mullet!

#mohawkstrong 󾇔#Illini

Posted by Fighting Illini Men's Tennis on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Champaign Tennis Ladder Resumes

    CU Tennis Ladder's #1 Dan Maloney
With the temperatures turning warmer over the past couple of weeks, the Champaign-Urbana Tennis Ladder officially kicked off its fourth "outdoor" season with three matches last month.

On March 20th, southpaw Tom Wilson defeated league founder and challenger Brant Houston, 6-0, 6-4. The pair squared off again on the hard court with Wilson again coming out of top on game better at 6-3, 6-0.

Returning to the ladder after a injury hiatus, Princess Imoukhuede looked to win her play-in match for the #5 spot against Dayne Topkin. Surviving Imoukhuede's challenge, the singles battle ended in 6-2, 6-2 victory for Topkin, who made a mad dash up the ladder at the end of the 2015 season up 10 rungs from #15 to #5.

Organized in January of 2012, the CU Tennis Ladder provides a pool of players for friendly, competitive tennis play.  So far, approximately 20 players are returning to action this spring to play their way to the #1 spot. While the majority of the group are rated at 3.5, the league open to players of all ages and abilities. Looking to play more tennis? Click here to learn more about the Champaign-Urbana Tennis Ladder and join the group today.

Current League Standings  

As of April 2, 2016

1  - D. Maloney
2  - T. Wilson
3  - B. Houston
4  - M. Bantz
5  - W. Smith
6  - D. Topkin
7  - P. Imoukheude
8  - C. Brooks
9  - T. Ellis
10 - P. Testa
11 - T. McAlpin
12 - C. Nerone
13 - M. Brenner
14 - P. Loechl
15 - J. Klug
16 - P. Hammie
17 - C. Chattic
18 - C. Gratkins
19 - S. Khan
20 - N. Ribeiro
21 - H. Wong

Recent Match Results  

As of April 2, 2016

March 31 - Topkin def. Imoukhuede, 6-2, 6-2
March 27 - Wilson def. Houston, 6-3, 6-0
March 20 - Wilson def. Houston, 6-0, 6-4
Feb. 8 - McAlpin def. Nerone 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fighting Illini Fast 5 Adult Mixed Doubles Tourney

To anyone looking for some great open mixed doubles competition, we are hosting the first annual “Fighting Illini Fast 5” mixed doubles tourney on Saturday April 9th  at 4pm! 

This tournament is open to any and all mixed doubles teams looking for a lot of competition and fun in a jam packed 4 hour compass draw format. 

Matches will be 1 set to 5 games, no-ad scoring, win by two games, 9-point tiebreaker (first to 5 points) at 5-5.  This will be a compass draw format so you will keep playing matches win or lose.  Match Snacks and Gatorade will be provided for players during play!

Entry fee is $40.00 per team. Contact the Atkins Tennis Center front desk at 217-244-8562 or stop by to register!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Illini ready for home match tomorrow

No. 10 #ILLINI face Indiana tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT before hosting Purdue Sunday at Noon. Preview: bit.ly/1XQqXlI

Posted by Fighting Illini Men's Tennis on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Brad Dancer Previews Upcoming Exciting Illini Opponents

Coach Dancer met with media today to preview the BIG home weekend vs. No. 2 Virginia and No. 8 TCU. #Illini

Posted by Fighting Illini Men's Tennis on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Premature Closing

Atkins Participants,
Due to the Blizzard warning and weather conditions outside, Atkins Tennis Center will be closing early today at 5:30pm. All Clinics, Permanent Court Time and Random Court Reservations will not be held tonight. We plan to re-open tomorrow morning at 7am.
Please spread the word to any Atkins Participants that would benefit from this information

Monday, February 22, 2016

Atkins Spring Session II Underway

Atkins Spring Session II begins today, Feb. 22nd!  Session II runs through April 9th with the lone conflict week being spring break Mar. 20-26.  There is a clinic for all players that fit your needs!  Contact Brandon Lenfert at 217-300-3411 or bdlenfer@illinois.edu for more information or register by calling 217-244-8562. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Atkins Tennis Mixer Next Week!

Head teach pro Brandon Lenfert just announced another tennis mixer will be held at Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, February 12th. Registration can be done in person at the front desk or by phone at (217) 244-8562.

"Tennis mixed with great music and great food always equals a good time inside the Atkins Tennis Center," Lenfert said about the upcoming event.

The fun starts at 7pm with food and refreshments provided and athletes are encouraged to bring their favorite tunes that will be pumped through the facilities premier sound system during the three hour session of doubles play. The cost is just $20 and enrollment is limited to the first 24 people to reserve their spot.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fighting Illini tennis season starts Friday

The 2016 dual season officially starts Friday at Atkins Tennis CenterValpo & #ITAKickoff Preview >> bit.ly/1S85sw8

Posted by Fighting Illini Men's Tennis on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Illinois starts with dual win, video highlights

Check out some of the highlights from our match against Eastern Illinois on Saturday!

Posted by Fighting Illini Women's Tennis on Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Spring tennis clinic and lesson begin January 11th

Atkins Spring programming begins tomorrow, Jan. 11th!  We offer clinics and private lessons for all levels of adults starting with our popular Adult Level I and Adult Level II classes for those players just getting started!

New this spring also, is a pro-guided 2.0-2.5 matchplay league on Saturday mornings for those players that have a bit of experience but need some more matchplay strategy and experience to take their game to the next level and get involved with the USTA leagues in town! 

Contact Head Pro, Brandon Lenfert at 217-300-3411 or bdlenfer@illinois.edu for more information on all of our adult programs!  It's an exciting time to get involved in the game and be a part of Illinois tennis! 

Hope to see everyone out on the courts! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jack Sock sportsmanlike conduct a hit

"... Sock shouted, "That was 'in' if you want to challenge it.""

Sportsmanship at its finest. Way to set an example Jack Sock!

Posted by USTA/Midwest Section (official) on Wednesday, January 6, 2016