STOCKTON -- Once you pass the tiger guarding the door at University of the Pacific's Eve Zimmerman tennis center, you enter tennis paradise.
The state of the art facility features 12 courts, crowd seating locker rooms and a clubhouse. It's become a tennis destination arguably better than bigger schools like USC and Stanford.
"So now recruits are saying it's OK to go to Stockton, it's OK to go to Pacific, 'I'm going to be doing those same types of things,'" UOP Director of Tennis Ryan Redondo said.
Since the $5 million facility opened in 2016, word has spread around the world, bringing high-level collegiate and professional tennis to Stockton.
"Stockton gets a bad rap but this shows that it's not all bad," UOP sophomore Tadiwa Chinamo said. "People can come here, enjoy, get to know a bit of tennis and really enjoy to see what more Stockton has to offer because this is just a beautiful experience for people to see that there is always good."
The facility has brought over $1 million to the city in less than two years. Now, with the implementation of memberships, community members can show off their talents on the sponsored courts as well.
This community feel blends with the team's focus on family -- one that gladly represents Stockton.
"It’s not like this underdog kind of thing but to me it’s genuine. Stockton is a very genuine city. People are very real and those are values I take personally and those are values I think our team has taken. We have a sense of pride in where we are from. And being a beacon of light for the city, for the bad things they get, we show hey, that’s not correct. This is the light we are bringing, this is the positivity we are bringing," Redondo said.