The Coronavirus pandemic has squashed a community sport of 35 years with the Werrington Squash and Fitness Centre now permanently closed after the forced lockdown.
Business partners Dennis Spicer and Rebecca Rock said the restrictions were the final nail in the coffin for the struggling business.
“I have run the courts for over 25 years and Becky ran the gym for the last 15 and things had really slowed down before but when we closed our doors on March 23, we knew we wouldn’t re-open,” Mr Spicer told the Weekender.
“We rented the building so with overheads and no income it became unmanageable plus we are getting older and are dealing with health issues, so it was time for us to leave.”
Mr Spicer, who had campaigned in 2013 for the sport of squash to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games, said the decline was due to lack of support.
“Squash is such a good way to stay active and be social and it is still going ahead everywhere else in the world but in Australia it is practically dead,” he said.
“The government doesn’t push sports in education so, when schools don’t do it, younger people don’t get exposed to it to take an interest.”
While the pair said it was a tough decision to close the courts for good, Ms Rock said they are thankful to the loyal customers over the years.
“It was very hard for all of us as we made so many friends who played squash that turned into a good little family at the centre,” she said.
“The building has been already sold by the owner for more shops in the future, but we will have to organise a proper party soon with everyone to say goodbye.”
The Weekender understands that a real estate agent has been actively engaged to look for a potential new operator for the courts in what could be a last ditch bid to save the sport in Penrith.
For now, fans who still want to flex their racquet skills, will need to be prepared to travel.
“There are still squash courts at Northmead, Rooty Hill, TLC at Toongabbie and Baulkham Hills, but they only do morning, ladies and in-house comps – not night competitions which are very popular,” Ms Rock said.
“There are talks about pennant competitions being held in Springwood, which will still be a fair amount of travel to participate, but hopefully it doesn’t stop completely.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.