International Tennis Center files for bankruptcy protection

The International Tennis Center, an off-Strip attempt to revive visitor interest in a game that has attracted little local interest for years, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday.

The center has indoor eight courts at a site just east of McCarran International Airport. CEO Jim Ahearn had hoped by operating a shuttle for visitors that wanted to play a few sets, he could attract a steady clientele that had very few options on the Strip.

Ahearn could not be reached for comment on why the business plan did not work. He and some partners took over the project in 2008, after the partnership that started it ran into trouble, and finished the complex for a total investment of $10 million.

About three decades ago, tennis was a star attraction in Las Vegas, with several tournaments headlined by top entertainers. But it slowly faded from public view and is now barely an afterthought.

The tennis center’s experience also highlights that what some boosters call fitness tourism is still a difficult sell in Las Vegas outside of a few signature events.

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