Greg Betza was a nonresident member of FishHawk Ranch Tennis Club for almost two years, shuttling himself, his wife and son to lessons and games.
Betza hadn’t played tennis in years but wanted to get back into the sport during COVID-19. He searched the area and joined FishHawk Ranch Tennis Club because of the quality of the courts and its seasoned staff. Soon after, his wife, who has never played organized sports, started taking group lessons and fell in love with the game. His son also started taking lessons, both group and private, and joined the club’s tennis team.
One day, he realized his family was spending so much time in FishHawk that they may as well live closer to the courts, so he bought a home in the neighborhood. “One of the main reasons we moved here was because we play so much tennis and it was just more convenient to live closer to the club, and the fees would be included in our CDD,” he said.
The same week they moved, he received news that Dave Freiman, owner of The Tennis Connection and FishHawk Ranch Tennis Club’s director, would soon be replaced by Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis.
“We were so satisfied with Dave and his staff and the way they were running the club that we were surprised that a change was being made,” he said. “We were on our way to the club when we heard the news that a new director would be coming, and when we got to the club, it was just a surreal moment. Families started showing up, and it was a moment of sadness and disbelief.”
Betza had signed a petition in support of the current director, but FishHawk Ranch’s CDD board voted on the change after receiving several proposals from other companies. Proposals were submitted by Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis, Arch Amenities Group, PNW Wellness, Rizzetta Amenity, Boom Boom Management, Scott Smith Tennis and The Tennis Connection.
CDD board members voted to accept Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis’ proposal. The company was founded in 2013 and is managed by Janko Tipsarevic, who achieved a career-high singles ranking of number eight on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour. Other clubs managed by the company can be found in Dubai, Cancun, Montenegro and Berlin. According to its proposal, the company will provide a world-class staffed tennis program for all ages and levels, a high level of customer service and satisfaction, a stocked pro shop with top-named brands, upkeep of the facility and optional exhibition matches. It offered a three-year contract that included three resident tennis professionals (a tennis director, head pro and first assistant pro) who would be paid by the CDD (a total of $60,000 a year). Thirty percent of the club’s total revenue will be paid to the CDD.
CDD District Counsel Vivek Babbar said the change was necessary so the CDD would be remain in compliance with updated IRS guidelines regarding tax-exempt entities.
“Because of IRS updates, we needed to make certain we were in compliance with its rules,” he said. “The CDD board was tasked with making the decision that they think is in the best interest of the district and its residents. It had to take back control over this amenity and all aspects of it.”
The revenue breakdown was very favorable to the district, said Babbar.
Tipsarevic began its contract on May 1. It is already offering registration for junior and adult clinics in May as well as summer camps beginning on Tuesday, May 31.
For Betza said the future of the club is uncertain, but he has hopes that the new director will offer the same level of great service he’s come to expect from the club.
“I’m hoping for the best,” he said. “But if it doesn’t work out here, it’ll be a shame, but we’ll have to look elsewhere for a tennis program.”
For more information about Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis, visit www.tipsarevicluxurytennis.com. For more information about FishHawk Ranch CDD, call management company Halifax Solutions’ president, Eric Dailey, at 813-575-1955.