Ivan Lendl IJTA relocating to the Tennisclub of the Lowcountry at Rose Hill

ccox@islandpacket.comJanuary 10, 2014 

Cincinnati Tennis

Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, returns a volley to Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

TOM UHLMAN — File -- The Associated Press

After spending two years at the Port Royal Racquet Club, the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy has announced a move to Bluffton, where it will partner with the Tennisclub of the Lowcountry at Rose Hill.

"Moving the academy to Rose Hill will give Ivan Lendl IJTA a better opportunity to truly create a training environment that is aligned with the principles that propelled Ivan Lendl to his level of achievement," said Peter Orrell -- the CEO and president of the Junior Sports Corporation, which owns and operates IJTA -- in a release.

The partnership with TLC and Rose Hill made "perfect sense" for the IJTA, according to the release, as the facility's six specialized junior courts -- five 36-feet court and one 60-foot court -- could not be found within a 50-mile radius.

"I think Lendl and working with his name and association, I think we're a pretty good fit for them," said Butch Staples, a part owner of the TennisClub of the Lowcountry. "I think it's going to work well for both sides and we look forward to them growing with us and helping them in their development with their academy."

Staples and fellow owners Gavin Cox and Mike O'Regan had been looking to showcase an academy such as the IJTA for some time, they said in the release. The trio recently guided their club to Tennis Industry magazine's private facility of the year award.

"There's a lot of excitement and a big buzz around here," O'Regan said. "We're definitely excited."

Staples did not provide any parameters of the agreement with the IJTA, and Orrell could not be reached for comment.

The academy first laid its footprints in the Lowcountry in August 2011, when Lendl, whose resume is among the best in men's tennis history, brought the IJTA to the Port Royal Racquet Club.

Lisa Dahlstrom, Port Royal Racquet Club's director of revenue, declined comment for this story. She negotiated the original terms of the contract and was the IJTA's "point of contact when it comes to the major points" of the partnership, according to Brady Boyd, the club's director of operations.

The tennis academy's students will still attend Hilton Head Island's private Heritage Academy, which holds half-day classes as it allows students to train during the day.

"From a relationship standpoint, I think there's a good fit here," Staples said. "Our facility is convenient for them with regards to their lodging with where they lodge their children and their fitness center that's here in Bluffton. ... We're a good location for them."

Related content:

Lendl's tennis academy sends first to college with Wilson, Oct. 23, 2012

Under watchful eye of Ivan Lendl, new Hilton Head tennis academy begins to grow, Dec. 11, 2011

Ivan Lendl opening tennis academy on Hilton Head Island, June 3, 2011

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