Despite all of Ratner's amenities, it has one major flaw: no indoor tennis courts. The pool was an important step for the swimming and diving programs, which are now able to practice and compete on campus. The tennis programs, despite remaining homeless, have made tremendous strides over the past few months, dominating established competitors with young and talented squads (see our coverage on the back page). Still, they could do far better at recruiting and scheduling with a proper, year-round home facility. As it stands, only a fraction of the matches are truly played at home, while other courts considered "home" are played at various private South Side tennis clubs. It's unreasonable to expect the tennis teams to develop to their full potentials when prospective students are told that they have to drive to a Bally's Fitness Center to practice.
Of course, an indoor tennis facility would have additional benefits for the entire University community. Just as Ratner and the current outdoor courts, when weather allows, are filled everyday with students, an indoor tennis facility would join the ice-skating rink and basketball courts as another place to have athletic fun in the winter months. Looking at the bigger picture, the current situation dictates that there is not a single tennis court available for use on the University of Chicago campus from December until April, the bulk of the academic year. This is hardly appropriate for a University of our stature.
Construction of an indoor tennis facility would by no means be inexpensive, but it would be a worthwhile investment both for the University community as a whole, and for the University's ever-improving sports culture.