The West End Lawn Tennis Club is now an integral part of Cox’s Bay Reserve but in 1930 the area at the corner of West End Road and Fife Street was swampy ground, washed by the tide and covered with mangroves, with a large open drain running through the property. After an approach from a group of tennis enthusiasts, the Auckland City Council decided to set aside this land for the laying down of tennis courts.
The Official Opening was held on 6th February 1932. The Club at that stage consisted two bitumen courts and a City Council tin shed as our pavilion. Membership numbers had to be restricted to 50 players including five Juniors.
Nine months later at the Opening of the 1932-33 Season, the Club had a two level pavilion, volley-board and four courts. All play took place on Saturdays until 1935 when the committee obtained the City Council's sanction to play on the courts on Sundays. Due to the number of membership applications, a further 2 courts were laid in 1937, making for a total of six courts which still operate today.
When the Club replaced the bitumen courts with en-tout-cas surface in 1947 it became the first tennis club in New Zealand to provide an all-weather surface and hence hosted many premier players during winter months. An annual invitation tournament attracted the top Auckland players at the beginning of each tennis season and in 1952 drew a crowd of over 1,000 spectators (photo in clubhouse).
West End’s Annual Invitation Tournament, which pre-dated Auckland Tennis’s national tournaments, continued until the 1960’s when cheaper air travel enabled top players to compete in overseas tournaments. During this period the Club won numerous Senior Interclub pennants and produced many tennis champions both in junior and senior ranks.
West End has always focused on the development of junior players and employed its first professional coach in 1945. This emphasis continues today with after school beginners’ classes and our talented Juniors extended in the WEST SQUAD programme, as well as the Club’s regular Junior and Intermediate Club Days.
The clubhouse was extended in 1956 to accommodate increasing social activities, especially indoor bowls. The kitchen, bar, and changing rooms were re-vamped in 1992 and a coach’s office added in 2000. The old en-tout-cas surface was replaced in 1985 by what is now known as astrograss and, after much dialogue with neighbours and the Council, a resource consent was granted in 1986 for flood lighting the six courts. Play now continues until 10pm every night except Sundays.
The Club was delighted to win the top two men’s interclub trophies in 2004 - the Caro Bowl as well as the Caro Bowl Reserve.
The West End Cup is an annual event in Tennis New Zealand’s Money Tournament Circuit (NZMT). It draws good crowd support and provides some great viewing. Free to the public, the West End Cup provides a unique opportunity to enjoy top level sport in the local community.
Today the Club is flourishing with approximately 500 members.