The New Shop in Town!

By Crystal Klimavicz

From Charleston trolleys to tennis, Derek and Terry Williams have history, experience, and a passion for a great sport. They also have a cool new tennis shop - Centre Court Tennis – conveniently located in Mt. Pleasant within a short drive to six different local tennis facilities. The address is 712 S. Shelmore Boulevard, and there is so much more to Centre Court Tennis to be seen.

Terry Williams was born and raised in Charleston, Derek Williams has been here for twenty-six years, and they’ve been married for thirty-two years with three adult children who are now grown and gone. Their number of years of marriage was said hesitantly by Derek, though, and then quickly confirmed by Terry with a smile. However, there was no hesitation when I asked Derek about the goals and mission of their new store: To serve the tennis community and be an integral part of players, both new and experienced, before they step onto the court.

Terry and Derek are two tennis enthusiasts who have been playing tennis together out of LTP for many years. After their children left home, they decided it was time to do something different with their lives: something that they truly loved. They had owned a trolley tour company for years named Lowcountry Loop tours and sold that business to new ownership. As a reminder of their past, there is still a trolley that sits in the parking lot outside the shop. It proudly displays a large banner of the shop’s name on the side.

Centre Court Tennis has been open for eight weeks now. Before their grand opening on May 8th, Derek consulted with dozens of pro shops around the country, from Seattle to Florida to Boston, and worked with multiple manufacturers who were helpful in the store’s development. Another integral piece of the planning was bringing in their longtime friend and fellow tennis ‘expert’, Mack Madonick.

Mack is a humble 4.0 player, as is Derek, though a peek at his USTA stats shows nary a near-perfect tennis record. The two men first met on the courts at Park West. Derek asked Mack to come in on the new store venture because of his product knowledge and racquet stringing expertise. Mack has worked at numerous other tennis shops, and managed and directed two tennis facilities in Los Angeles: Westwood Tennis Center and the Cheviot Tennis Center, working for Steve Bellamy who was one of the co-founders of the tennis channel. Derek stated this: “Mack brings knowledge and expertise through his experience on the courts, and we are pleased to have him.”

A walk around the shop shows that Centre Court sells great clothes, top-end shoes, accessories and offers two stringing machines for replacement and repair. Derek shared with me that the new technology in racquet stringing is what has most significantly changed the world (and game) of tennis. Strings used to be made from simple gut or synthetic material. “What has happened over time, more specifically the last several years,” he said, “is that different chemical polymers and combinations have been used

to produce higher-impact strings. More recently, they have created ‘sided strings’, where the strings are designed with an edge to them to better grip the ball and produce more spin.”

So, has tennis always been a passion? I asked Derek and Mack. Derek quickly jumped in. “Yes, I love the competition and camaraderie, and it’s great to be so involved in a place where people are passionate about their tennis.” Mack chuckled and confided that he was actually primed to become a golfer early on. It wasn’t until he was fifteen years old that he turned from golf, and picked up a racket and started to play.

"The players are bigger, stronger, and
the technology has only propelled that on.”

When I inquired about their favorite players, Terry immediately said Serena Williams and Germany’s Angelique Kerber, as well as Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal. Derek agreed on Serena and Federer, and then Mack said that South African’s Kevin Anderson was one of his favorites, essentially because Mack got to meet with him (among many other Division 1 athletes and future tennis-greats) at the University of Illinois where he attended school. He also mentioned Pete Sampras, and Belgium’s Justine Henin because of her effective one-handed backhand which is unique in women’s tennis.

As we wrapped up our meeting, I asked for some recommendations for beginner tennis players looking to get started. Derek offered this: “I think the biggest thing is to get correct advice about which racquet and strings as well as string tension to start with. The number one reason that people stop playing is because of injury and pain, so getting expert advice is key. Overall, as a sport, tennis has just become a bigger, faster game. I’ve been playing since the 70’s where it was more precision-based. Now, it’s power, spin, and speed. Even the players are bigger, stronger, and the technology has only propelled that on.” Mack agreed with him, and said the best thing is get private lessons to learn the basics, and then to decide whether to not to continue but definitely do clinics to learn.

Go check out Centre Court Tennis for Asics, Babolot, Nike and Prince brand sneakers… and clothing lines like Lija, Eleven, Tail, and Iciuls, and racquets from Babalot, Prince, Wilson, Head, and Yonex. They are advertising through Moultrie News on TV during French Open and Women’s open and have an extensive email list to help spread the word. Contact them via email at shopcentrecourttennis@gmail.com, or even better, stop by the store and introduce yourself to Mack, Terry, or Derek. Three people who truly love the fast-paced, ever-changing game of tennis!

Crystal Klimavicz is a Maine native and resident of Mt. Pleasant, who spent time living in Boston, Atlanta, and overseas in Ukraine. After fifteen years in Healthcare Sales, she left the corporate world to pursue a passion in writing. She has since written two novels and two historical memoirs. Writer, mother, runner, tennis player and beach lover.