Location :

Sale, VIC

Client :

Wellington Shire Council

Year :


Sector :

Red porous | Tennis

The Sale Tennis Centre is one of Australia’s largest en-tout-cas court facilities. The newly redeveloped facility consist of six (6) ITF ‘professional’ compliance sized courts and eight (8) ITF ‘club/recreation’ compliant courts (the difference being the greater run-off for pro compliant courts).

In addition to the redevelopment of the courts, the SPORTENG led team were also responsible for the design and documentation for the extension to the existing pavilion.

The facility is now considered an elite regional centre of excellence for junior development. The Council and Club will now be in a position to attract high-level tournaments to the region


The existing court run-offs were not ITF compliant and therefore the overall footprint needed to be increased. Additionally the surface grades were almost flat in some areas meaning that they did not drain well in a rain event and held water which delayed the use of the courts after a rain event.


The proposed location for the two additional ITF ‘professional’ compliant courts was the site of a historical landfill. The concern with building the courts over this landfill was the potential for long-term settlement which would significantly compromise the use of the court.

En-tout-cas courts are typically only constructed in Victoria and parts of NSW and South Australia, therefore the availability of court builders with this specific skill set was likely to be an issue for the project located almost 3 hours from the centre of Melbourne.


Working with Council and the tennis club SPORTENG were able to confirm which courts were to be ITF ‘profession’ compliant and which were to be ITF ‘club/recreation’ compliant. This helped to identify the extent of widening of the existing courts that would need to be completed.

The existing en-tout-cas surface had deteriorated significantly over the years with the top finer layers having been blended into underlying coarser layers due to use of the facility.


The geotechnical investigation provided some insight into the composition of the playing surface. Subsequently the design looked to retain the underlying drainage gravel layer where possible. This allowed the design to increase the gradient of the court by building up the gravel layer with imported material and then establishing the layered en-tout-cas profile.

The geotechnical investigation also provided direction as to how to treat the court construction over the landfill area. A bridging layer, including a tensar grid, was designed to address the potential for subgrade settlement.


The lack of local court builders with en-tout-cas experience was difficult to overcome. With limited industry technical specification for the layering of en-tout-cas courts and methodology for the construction meant we had to liaise with Tennis Australia, Tennis Victoria and other contractors to produce adequate documentation for the courts.


In the end the result was the deliverance of an ITF compliant regional en-tout-cas tennis centre which will not only support the local tennis players but allow the facility to host high level events.


"With four courts now meeting international requirements, the hope is now to be able to attract high-level tournaments here to Wellington Shire," Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said.