Opened on Feb. 1, 1998, the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center is one of the premier tennis facilities in the western United States and has become a key fixture in the recent success of the Fresno State men's and women's tennis teams.
The facility has played host to numerous NCAA events as well as the 2001 WAC Tournament. The men's team hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2000 while the women did the same in 2001, 2007, and 2008. Perhaps the Center's most memorable match came during the 1999 NCAA's, when Fresno State knocked off USC 4-1 in the second round before a throng of over 1,000 enthusiastic fans.
Both the men and women enjoy enthusiastic crowds at the spectator-friendly facility, and the support has lifted both programs to fantastic records at home. The men are 100-13 all-time in the facility while the women sport a 108-12 mark. The men's team was 13-1 at home during the 2008 campaign while the women were 11-2 during the same season.
Beginning in the summer of 2002, the Wathen Tennis Center underwent an expansion that enhanced the look of the facility. In addition to resurfacing all 12 courts and replacing all wind screens, the grass berm and wrought-iron fencing that runs along the east side of the Center was extended to the norht end of the courts. This allows spectators to comfortably enjoy viewing on all 12 courts and makes the complex the ideal location for WAC and NCAA Tournaments.
Additionally, a generous donation from the Wathen family allowed for the addition of lights during the summer of 2005. The six courts inside the stadium are now surrounded by light towers, making the facility the perfect home for night matches.
The Tennis Center was a result of a $250,000 donation from longtime Fresno State tennis supporter Spalding Wathen, an area hombuilder. The donation turned a good facility into a great one. Not long after receiving Wathen's donation, three new courts were constructed and six existing courts were resurfaced. A raised earthen berm was constructed alongside the six southernmost courts and an elevated viewing platform consisting of steel reinforced concrete was built between the six main courts. Approximately 400 luxury chair-back seats atop the platform face the complex's six main courts, making for easy viewing of all six courts while a dual match is in progress. Courts are also equipped with Colorado Time System scoreboards that keep running scores during matches, allowing spectators the opportunity to immediately know the score on every match at the facility.
The facility is widely regarded as being unmatched in the San Joaquin Valley for ideal viewing for tennis matches.