GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 3, 2012

MAC gets Boston's pro net franchise

A professional sports franchise is coming to make Cape Ann its home.

The Boston Lobsters, Boston’s World TeamTennis franchise, announced Friday that it will call the Manchester Athletic Club home for its 2013 season next summer. The franchise is moving from the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, the team’s home court for five years, to the MAC’s facility on Atwater Avenue in Manchester.

With the Boston Lobsters will come a new 1,800-seat show court to be built at the MAC’s SkyJax park. The court will be a recognized World TeamTennis Court, and will also be home to several MAC tournaments and community tennis events.

The team’s marketing head, Darlene Hayes, said they’ll have the show court up before the 2013 season.

“We’ll be ready for opening night in July,” Hayes said.

The show court project, said Hayes, will also include parking on land behind the current Manchester Athletic Club building. What she doesn’t know yet, is how much the whole project is going to cost. Hayes said both the Boston Lobsters and the MAC will fund the project, which is still in design stages.

Hayes added both companies plan to add improvements to the SkyJax facilities as well.

The move is a natural one, said Hayes. The MAC, she said, has a strong tennis program and serves 3,000 tennis players — many of whom actively support the pro team, Hayes added. The new facility, she said, also provides seven indoor courts on-site, in case of inclement weather. Before this, they played indoor games at the Latitude Sports Club in Peabody.

The Boston Lobsters, with a 2012 roster that included noted tour pros John Isner, Jan-Michael Gambill, and Irina Falconi, moved to the North Shore in 2005. The team’s owner, Bahar Uttam, said the team’s success in the North Shore caused them to look for a new venue.

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