THE man in charge of the Royal Navy expects nothing but the best for all his staff.
So when the First Sea Lord opened a revamped sports centre yesterday, he brought along his tennis whites to try out the courts himself.
Work has now finished on a £600,000 makeover of the Portsmouth Indoor Tennis Centre, in Burnaby Road.
The makeover was paid for by the Ministry of Defence and the Portsmouth Tennis Academy.
It is open for use by naval personnel and members of the public.
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, and Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral David Steel officially opened the centre.
Afterwards, Adml Zambellas changed into his tennis whites and tried out the new courts for himself.
He said: ‘So many people have shown commitment and care for this amazing facility.
‘The trick is to turn that off-the-court partnership into something on the court.
‘The location we have here I think is fantastic. It’s important to us to stay within the community, to stay partnered with the community and our friends beyond the immediate confines of service tennis.
‘It’s a great privilege for Adml Steel and I to open this facility.’
The Portsmouth Indoor Tennis Centre, in Burnaby Road, has four courts. The building itself has been given a new cover, newly-laid courts and new office areas.
The navy’s five adjacent outdoor grass courts have also had a facelift.
Three of them have been given artificial turf and floodlights.
The coach of the Royal Navy’s men’s tennis team and the head coach of the Portsmouth Tennis Association is Kevin Baker.
He said: ‘It’s got a completely different feel here now and everyone feels very good about
‘It’s a real privilege the First Sea Lord and Second Sea Lord made the effort to come down and open the centre for us.’
The work on the tennis centre comes alongside a £600,000 cash injection for HMS Temeraire, the Royal Navy’s base for physical training.
The centre, which is also in Burnaby Road, has had upgrades to its squash courts, a new cardiovascular suite, new offices and a glass-fronted entrance.