Why was Gladiator Tennis started?

Out of his own desire to meet more players and Get Back in the Game, Founder and League Coordinator Steve Hess put out an interest list and discovered that he wasn’t the only one looking for the same thing. 50 men Got Back in the Game during our first year in 2007.


Who plays?

1. Players “Getting Back in the Game”
Gladiator Tennis is often the first organized competition that many of our players have participated in since high school or college. It’s not uncommon to talk to a Gladiator player and here some version of: “After college I just got really busy with work and family, and I couldn’t commit my money and a set time each week to play at a club. I played casually with a friend from work once in awhile, but it’s been about ___ years since I’ve played competitively. Gladiator gave me a chance to get back in the game.”

2. Club players staying in the game over the summer
Gladiator Tennis is a great way to keep up your game over the summer when the indoor season takes a 4-5 month break. Many of our players play in clubs around the area: Naperville Tennis Club, Wheaton Sports Center, Vaughn Athletic Center, Norris Rec Center, Centre Court in Hanover Park, Challenge Fitness of Lockport, Heritage Tennis Club In Arlington Heights, and The Lincolnshire Club to name a few in the Chicagoland area. The same is true in St. Louis.

3. Traveling team players (NITTL, USTA, clubs) looking for an extra match each week to stay sharp.
Some of our players are already playing team tennis for the USTA, NITTL, and other area club teams, and see Gladiator Tennis as a means of getting an additional match in per week to sharpen their game. Our league’s flexible scheduling format makes this possible.

4. Players who are competing for the first time.
Gladiator Tennis has many players at our lower skill levels who are trying out competitive tennis for the first time. Maybe you have taken lessons for awhile and you want to see what you’re made of in real competition.


Where do we play?

We play at public courts all over Chicagoland and St. Louis. When you sign up, you choose one of these locations as your “Home Court”, and play 3 or 4 of your 7 matches there. The other 3 or 4 matches on your schedule are at your opponent’s home court, which is almost always no more than 20 minutes away from yours.


When do we play?

There is no set day and time when matches are played. Match times are arranged by both players when it is most convenient for them. Any of the 7 matches can be played ahead of schedule, as long as they are not played past the Score Reporting Deadline for each week. There is a 2 week window for each match to be played, and all 7 matches of each season are played in an 8 week time frame.


How many play in Gladiator Tennis?

In 2007, Gladiator Tennis began in Chicagoland with only 50 players. It has grown to over 2400 players in 2023, with an average of 880 singles players, 400 doubles players, and 170 mixed doubles players per season. 200+ players played in St. Louis.