Tennis returns to 1406 Orange Street thanks to One Love

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Lenny Simpson moved back to Wilmington in 2012 with the hopes of making the tennis community what it once was. On Tuesday, he took another step toward doing that.

One Love Tennis held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the iconic clay tennis court at 1406 Orange Street. The court was originally open to all in the backyard of Dr. Hubert Eaton in the early 1950s. Black tennis icon Althea Gibson took advantage of that and trained to become the champion she was right here in Wilmington.

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One Love Tennis was able to purchase the property a few years ago and set out with the plan to restore it back to how it used to be. It wasn’t a small task as the tennis court had been neglected for years.

“1406 is going to be another component of our One Love Tennis program as it continues to grow,” Simpson, the founder of One Love Tennis, said.

One Love Tennis has nearly 500 kids take part in their program throughout the year. Even though Tuesday was just one step in the complete renovation of the property, it was a step in the right direction.



“I just want to say thank you to One Love Tennis and to Lenny Simpson,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. “It took everyone involved coming together for this great gift they have given back to the community and City of Wilmington.”