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Lawn Tennis Club opens in Michigan with big hopes

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2014 at 7:07 pm •  Published: June 24, 2014

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The Wessen Lawn Tennis Club has opened and its owner is hoping to impress the ATP Tour enough to bring a tournament to the Motor City in a couple years.

Bill Massie said he has spent $1.5 million to build 24 outdoor grass courts, adding he has plans to add seven hard and three clay courts in the future.

"My wife thinks I'm crazy and thinks this better work," he said Tuesday.

Former pro Armand Molino, who tested he rain-slicked surface during the grand opening, said the courts have the same ryegrass as Wimbledon.

"It's fantastic," Molino said. "It's going to take some time for the ground to settle, but I'm amazed by the quality of the bounce."

Massie said he spent approximately $300,000 a year ago to buy an abandoned Water Works building and eight acres of property surrounding it, along with about 40 acres adjacent to it. A state board is overseeing Pontiac's finances and the city has been under state control since 2009.

"This building was built in 1919, was a community center in the 1970s and was slated for demolition," Massie said. "For over 10 years, it was vacant."

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