Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
If the town could swing it, local high school student Jehan Godrej would like Los Altos Hills to build public tennis courts.
“Since LAH is such a wonderful town, we should have more public facilities,” said Godrej, a Los Altos High School sophomore who aspires to play tennis professionally. “It would be nice to have something in the Hills that’s not private or a country club.”
Godrej, who said his drive to see more local youth play tennis inspired the request, approached City Clerk Deborah Padovan and scheduled a PowerPoint presentation during the Jan. 24 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting to outline his proposal. Like any member of the community, he was allocated two minutes to address the council.
Godrej argued that an affluent town like Los Altos Hills should be able to provide lighted tennis courts as a public amenity for residents. The town’s only public tennis courts are at Foothill College, where he explained that parking fees, lack of lights and traffic on and around campus make the facility challenging to access. Residential tennis courts and country clubs meet some of the demand, he noted, but they come with steep price tags.
Godrej, whose parents cited the cost and an environmental easement on their property as reasons they couldn’t build a tennis court at their home, takes lessons at Stanford University and Fremont Hills Country Club. The latter is an invitation-only club in Los Altos Hills with 10 courts. Godrej added that many of his friends and other local youth are unable to afford to play where he does.
A community survey conducted by the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee in 2006-2007 revealed that 4 percent of respondents were interested in the construction of tennis courts. A community park, a soccer field and aquatic facilities received significantly more support.
Although he did not receive an immediate response from the council regarding his proposal, Godrej remains undeterred. He insisted that there is a demand for public tennis courts and that they could lead to a resident’s turning pro in the sport – just as former Los Altos Hills resident Nick Saviano did. Godrej cited Saviano, who ranked among the top 50 pro players worldwide for nine years, as a role model for local youth.
Godrej plans to volunteer with the Parks and Recreation Committee and hopes to encourage more people to explore the sport he loves.
“It’s a very intricate sport,” he said. “While it seems really easy when you first pick up a racket and hit the ball, it gets more intricate and complicated as you go along.”