Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to significantly change our lifestyles, including the way we exercise. For many, tennis has become a way to get exercise and also be able to maintain a certain level of social distancing that gyms and other forms of group workouts do not. Whether you’re new to the sport, looking to reengage after taking some time away from the sport or a seasoned veteran, the Indianapolis Racquet Club (IRC) is ready to serve your needs. The IRC has a complete package of facilities, teaching programs and equipment offerings that is unmatched in the Indianapolis area. Facilities If anyone were to write a history of tennis in the Indianapolis area, it would have to include the significant role that the IRC has played over the years. Opened in October 1965, the IRC for several years hosted the RCA Championships, which included players like Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Manuel Orantes and Arthur Ashe. Although the IRC can boast of having a rich history of tennis, that doesn’t mean that the facilities at the Indianapolis Racquet Club are antiquated. Just this summer, the 24 indoor courts were resurfaced with the same color and exacting specifications that were used for the courts at the US Open this year. Currently, the IRC is the only tennis club in the country that has this cutting-edge quality of court to offer its members. Pro Shop Offering Professionalism at Competitive Prices In addition to having the highest-quality courts in the country, the IRC also has a pro shop that has a history as being recognized as one of the finest in the country. In 2015, the IRC pro shop was named by the Tennis Industry Association as the Tennis Specialty Retailer of the Year. The IRC pro shop has been headed for the past 24 years by Jeff Rodefeld, director of retail operations. Before coming to the IRC, Rodefeld gained valuable retail experience by working for large retailers such as Macy’s. If you talk with Rodefeld, you will quickly see that he is as passionate about the game of tennis as he is in maintaining the IRC pro shop’s reputation as one of the best in the nation. Unlike many “pro shops” where a tennis pro is giving lessons one minute and then running over to sell someone a racquet before the next lesson starts, Rodefeld has built a team of 15 dedicated professionals that work just in the pro shop who are knowledgeable about the game of tennis and the newest products available in the industry. Remarkably, the average tenure of the folks working in the pro shop at the IRC is 11 years. If you want the advantage of having a seasoned professional advising you on your tennis equipment needs, the IRC pro shop is the place to go. In addition to its stable of experienced professionals, the IRC pro shop has one of the largest selections of racquets, shoes, clothing and accessories available in the country. According to Rodefeld, the IRC pro shop offers products comprising 20,000 different SKUs to choose from at competitive prices. In fact, the IRC has a policy of price matching with local competitors, big-box retailers and most online tennis specialty stores. Additionally, the IRC offers an initial free stringing on select strings. What many of you new to tennis may not know, but the experienced player appreciates, is that there is a myriad of combinations of materials and tension formulations that can go into stringing a racquet properly. Unique to the IRC is a staff of four full-time Master Racquet Technicians that have been certified by the United States Racquet Stringers Association to make your racquet play the way it was designed. Instruction to Meet Your Level of Play While IRC prides itself on offering instruction at the highest levels, it also understands that it has to be fun. As stated by Jamie Dieveney, director of tennis, “There are so many ways to have fun with tennis. Our goal at IRC is to offer an amazing tennis experience to all ages and levels of play.” The IRC has 30 professionals on staff to provide the right level of instruction for your game. You would be hard-pressed to find a group of teaching professionals with more experience than the staff at the IRC. The “Dean” of instruction at the IRC, Prem Gupta, has been teaching members there since 1968. If you’ve spent enough time on the couch the past few months and want to give tennis a try, the IRC offers a program called Tennis 101. It is an eight-week program, once a week, that is open to nonmembers and is specifically designed to introduce the basics of tennis to the new player. Think of this program as a tryout or sampler platter to whet your appetite to make tennis a game for the rest of your life. For those who have advanced from the Tennis 101 level, the IRC offers private instruction and some fun, quicker-paced instructional options. The Live Ball Program is a fast-paced group session that includes a pro offering instruction with an emphasis on strategy and point play while getting a great workout. For those of you more interested in a cardio workout, the IRC offers its Cardio Tennis. The focus there is less on teaching tennis technique and more on getting that heart rate and cardiovascular system going. If during this unusual time of social distancing, you have found it harder to get the exercise you need or the competitive juices flowing, call the Indianapolis Racquet Club and let them put you into the proper equipment and instruction level to make tennis a game for the rest of your life. For more information, visit indyracquet.com.