Lurking just beyond the engineering buildings, in the leafy south-eastern corner of the Universities at Medway Campus, lie the universities’ tennis courts.
Whilst few students know of their existence, fewer still dare to use them. A lack of proper maintenance has given the tennis courts an infamous reputation and branded them a public menace. But now pressure from the Universities at Medway Students’ Association (UMSA) and an ever-larger tennis team has resulted in the Greenwich Campus Facilities Manager for Medway promising to better maintain the courts.
Bora Rexha, captain of the Medway Campus Tennis Society, explained just why the tennis courts are in dire need of better maintenance: “No one uses them because of the moss. It’s very slippery and hence very dangerous…unless you want to kill yourself!”
Due to the state of the tennis courts, the campus tennis team is forced to play and train in Rochester instead. Bora said the distance means “transport costs to members are high, so they miss training sessions”. With the tennis team entering the British Universities College Sports (BUCS) tournament next year, not being able to train on campus is becoming a serious problem.
The dangers posed by an unkempt tennis court however aren’t limited to tennis players alone; last year Christopher Brown, a University of Greenwich student, slipped and broke his foot while playing football on the tennis court. “I dare say we shouldn’t have been playing football in the tennis courts to begin with,” he said, but had the courts been kept free of moss he believes he could have avoided the painful incident.
Richard Cottam, the Greenwich Campus Facilities Manager for Medway, has now assured UMSA the tennis courts will be better maintained in future. “We will regularly sweep them of leaves in the Autumn, but it’s hard to stop the moss growth. We will shortly be raising the order for a contractor to address the moss growth which has appeared over the winter months…we will also look to re-mark the lines on both courts this year.” Whether the courts will be maintained over the winter is as of yet unclear, with Mr Cottam explaining the growth of moss was unavoidable due to the “position and shade on the courts”. The courts are expected to be in a safe and usable condition within the next two weeks.