West Haven tennis contractor has hand in warming U.S.-Cuba relations

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WEST HAVEN -– A West Haven-based tennis contractor will make history in Cuba next month.

Hinding Tennis, one of the largest installers and coating contractors of tennis courts in the Northeast, is going international following a recommendation from the United States Tennis Association and a Vermont tennis instructor.

After President Barrack Obama lifted sanctions on Cuba, Vermont tennis instructor Jake Agna's "Kids On The Ball" group was able to get approval to rebuild 10 tennis courts at the National Tennis Center in Havana. This is where Hinding Tennis, whose work Agna is very familiar with, came into the picture.

Last August, company and CEO and President Steven Hinding visited the Cuba’s national tennis center in Havana to assess the condition of the center’s 10 courts, which had not been tended to since the venue hosted the Pan American games 25 years ago.

“There were no nets, just a line, with two chairs at either side of the court, holding the line in place,” said Hinding.

Beginning in late April, Hinding Tennis will spend two to three weeks laying what's called a sheet good system over the existing courts surfaces.

“So, we then form a monolithic surface over the courts,” said Hinding. “We color coat those courts with the same products that are used at the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.”

New fencing, posts, nets and a structure with new locker rooms and offices are all sure to assist in a warming dialogue between the two countries.

“With kids here in the United States traveling to Cuba and Cubans traveling to the U.S. is, it's just almost unthinkable,” said Hinding.

For Hinding Tennis,  helping to promote tennis is the company’s primary goal. But this project will also make history.

“There has not been a U.S. company involved in a brick and mortar project since the Eisenhower administration, 53 years ago,” noted Hinding.

The company’s website states its specialty is all-weather cushioned courts.

“I am humbled and honored to even be a part of this,” said Hinding, who added that materials for the construction will be shipped to Cuba from South Florida in the next several weeks.