By Garth Shanklin
As bad as the weather was around the tri-state last week, the clouds parted and sun shined down on the area for one day, which was all Batavia High School needed.
Battling a bit of a breeze, Batavia opened the Nau Family Tennis Center on Friday, March 23 with a home match against Clermont Northeastern. The facility, named after the family of Batavia head coach Jon Nau, is the first set of on-campus tennis courts Batavia has ever had.
“We started our program in 2000 playing in two courts at the Ritz club,” Nau said. “For 13 years, we couldn’t play home matches. The state wanted you to have three matches instead of two, and the courts became unusable.”
The new facility will house Batavia tennis and the community for years to come, something Batavia Board of Education president Michael Enriquez said he looks forward to seeing.
“On behalf of the board of education, an expression of gratitude toward the Nau family for the opportunity to have something this district has never had: their own home tennis courts,” Enriquez said. “I look forward to seeing kids utilize the courts, both school kids and the community as well. When we’re not using it, it’s a community asset.”
Superintendent Keith Millard gave some background on the project, which along with the recently-completed elementary school continues to change the shape of Batavia’s campus.
“This whole project started when [Athletic Director Ben Stewart] came to me one day and said, ‘There’s someone who wants to give us money for tennis courts,’” Millard said. “He wouldn’t tell me who, and superintendents can sometimes be skeptical. We didn’t tell anyone about this project, we spent months walking all of Bulldog place looking for the site that would be best to put tennis courts down…This whole project, this whole side of campus really started with generous donations.”
Stewart thanked the Nau family for their donation.
“We are very lucky to be here, we’re very happy to be here,” AD Ben Stewart “We certainly wouldn’t be here without the Nau family and their generous donation.”
The court’s namesakes, Charles and Ann Nau, are the parents of Batavia’s head coach. Charles died on January 9 of this year.
“He would have loved to be here,” Nau said. “He would have loved the sign, I know that.”
Charles and Ann Nau, Charles died Jan. 9 at 95 years old.
Ann Nau reiterated that notion, adding that she hopes the community puts the courts to good use.
“We’re just happy that we could do it and we hope it’s well used by many people, both students and the community,” Ann Nau said. “I wish he could be here, but he’s looking down on us. I hope people enjoy it and have fun.”
In addition to thanking the visiting Rockets for helping open the courts, Nau reminisced about the past Batavia tennis players who did not get the chance to play in front of a home crowd.
“I was thinking about all those kids who played, who got in that Suburban and went to all away matches,” Nau said. “They loved tennis. They never got the opportunity to play on a home court. Those guys are in my thoughts as much as anyone.”
Batavia opened the courts in style, sweeping all five matches against the Rockets. The team returns to action on Thursday, March 29 with a home bout against Goshen.