Tennis first appeared in Larnaka in the 1920s. However, the official opening of a club there, according to colonial legislative records, didn’t happen till 1958. Its first name was Larnaka Tennis Club and was number 3 on the Larnaka Registry Records, a position it still holds today which shows how old it was in relation to the hundreds of clubs and organisations that exist in the town.
The first Executive Boards of the Club managed within a few years to acquire two clay courts, a clubhouse and land for future expansion. In the difficult years of the late 1950s none of this would have happened if it were not for the help and cooperation of the town municipality, especially its Mayor, Mr George Christodoulides and the Forestry Department and the Department of Antiquities.
Interest in the game grew and in 1972 a further two clay courts are added. The new clubhouse was built in 1977 and in 1981 two hard courts bring the total number of courts to six. That same year the club is renamed “Larnaka Tennis Association”.
From then on tennis in Larnaka improved by leaps and bounds. In the 1960s its only rival was the Nicosia Field Club and their various meetings over the years were memorable. The Larnaka Tennis Association continues its tradition with all-island champions amongst its ranks even today and with players that form the backbone of the Cyprus National Team.
One such player was Alkis Papamichael, who was repeatedly number one in Cyprus, following in the footsteps of two other excellent players, Haig Ashdjian and Yiannakis Constantinides, also Cyprus champions, as well as Photos Kallias, Lefteris Christou, Pavlina Akrita and Stella Kyratzi.
The Association’s strength is evident in the presence of its junior teams in the Cyprus Tennis Federation’s inter-club competitions. Out of six inter-club competitions that have been held, Larnaka Tennis Association came first in three and second in the remaining three. In addition several international tournaments have been held at the association’s premises, such as an annual ITF Veteran’s Tournament. Association players Haig Ashdjian and Marios Petrou marked several victories in recent years both in Cyprus and abroad.
It must be mentioned that the Larnaka Tennis Association’s progress these last 30 years is due to the continuous support provided by the various Boards, especially after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, when the population of Larnaka suddenly increased with the influx of refugees from the north.
Presidents of the various Boards were in order Messrs Yiannakis Constantinides, Nikos Louroutziatis and Spyros Charalambides (present), who with their untiring efforts managed to turn the Association into a true hothouse for tennis players.
Five coaches work at the club today, who totally devote their time to spreading the love of the game to the new generation of 8 to 18 year olds. The eight courts that the Association has today are already insufficient and the association is now exerting all its efforts to increase that number by looking for new premises that would allow such future expansion.