A guide to the best tennis holiday resorts in the world

A guide to the best tennis holiday resorts in the world

by Alan August 11, 2018

Are you the type of person that appreciates a mix of activity, local exploration and relaxation when on vacation? We’re of the same ilk and have found intriguing new resorts around the world worth looking into. One common denominator? Each property has numerous tennis courts on site.

Rather than create a generic list of “the top ten resorts or academies”, we organised our findings based on the main purpose of your trip. In truth, there is no objective top 10 ranking - it all depends on what you’re looking for. In our experience there is more nuance to choosing a location than simply ensuring you’ll be able to hit while on your trip.

As a result, we’ve broken our list into 3 categories.

The best tennis resorts to travel to if you want to:

  1. Run into famous pro players training between tournaments
  2. Get some serious coaching and improve your game
  3. Mostly relax but also play a bit of tennis

The best tennis resorts to travel to if you want to run into famous pro players training between tournaments

  • Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy



    It goes without saying that the pro you’re most likely to see at this facility is Rafa Nadal himself. You’re also likely to encounter Carlos Moya who has become a regular part of Rafa’s coaching team and has the role of Technical Director at the Academy.

    You might expect the facility to be full of red clay courts, with coaches imparting the wisdom that has made Nadal the best player of all time on clay but beyond tennis, you can book packages to provide instruction in running, triathlon, paddle and cycling as well. Is Mallorca a bit too far for you? There have been recent reports that Rafa plans on opening a second location in Boca Raton Florida in the near future.

    Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy

      • Location: Mallorca, Spain
      • Tennis facilities: 26 courts (mix of clay and green set with indoor and outdoors options)
      • Teaching staff: 27 professionals are on the roster
        • Other amenities:
            • Fitness centre
            • 2 swimming pools: one indoor and one outdoor
            • Mini-football pitch (Football 7 a side)
            • Regulation size multi-sports court
            • 7 padel courts
            • Wellness spa

            • Prices & Packages: There are a variety of packages for both juniors and adults lasting different durations. 

          • La Quinta Resort

            There is an obvious time of the year to visit the La Quinta Resort in Indian Wells: early March when the BNP Paribas Masters Series is taking place less than 4 miles from the property. Before an event that hosts both the ATP and WTA tours there is often a situation where there are more pros than court times available - even in a big venue like the Tennis Garden. Thus, coaches will book other courts in the area for extra practice.

            Even if you haven’t seen your favourite player hitting at your hotel, it’s often free to check out practice sessions at tournament venues before the tournament gets underway.

            La Quinta Tennis Courts

              • Prices & Packages: You can take lessons, attend clinics and join drilling sessions at the facility. There is a session each morning during the BNP Paribas Open allowing you to hit the court yourself before settling in and marvelling at how easy the best the in world make it look.

              • Jumeirah Beach Hotel



                While we can’t say for sure that you will find top players hitting alongside you, we know that a large number of household names train in Dubai during the off- season including the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Jelena Jankovic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Borna Coric, Elina Svitolina and Kristina Mladenovic. 

                The tennis centre at the hotel is run by the Peter Burwash International Tennis Programme and caters to a variety of levels and playing abilities. The consistently warm and sunny weather means that the likelihood of getting rained out is small and you can have a dip in one of 6 pools to cool down after you play.

                Jumeriah Hotel Tennis Courts

                  • Location: Dubai, UAE
                  • Tennis facilities: 7 floodlit hard courts
                  • Teaching staff: There are a variety of teaching professionals on site
                  • Other amenities:

                    • 599 Ocean view rooms
                    • 6 swimming pools and a private beach
                    • 21 different cafes, lounges, restaurants and bars
                    • A full service spa and fitness centre
                    • 3 squash courts
                    • Prices & Packages: Prices will vary depending on the training format(s) you choose. Options include private and semi-private lessons, group lessons and skill and strategy clinics.

                  The best tennis resorts to travel in order to get some serious coaching and improve your game

                  • Saddlebrook Tennis Resort



                    Saddlebrook Tennis Resort is home to the Harry Hopman Tennis Academy which emerged on the radar of the tennis world when Jennifer Capriati took the WTA Tour by storm as a teenager. These days you’re far more likely to run into John Isner and Jack Sock trading 135+mph serves on the practice courts.

                    Saddlebrook Resort & Spa

                      • Location: Tampa, Florida
                      • Tennis facilities: 45 courts including all  four Grand Slam surfaces, with floodlit courts for night play
                      • Teaching staff: 25 teaching professionals led by Howard Moore and Alvaro Betancur
                      • Other amenities:
                        • 800 rooms, including 500 suites
                        • 5 restaurants, cafes and lounges on site
                        • Full-service spa
                        • 3 swimming pools including a 500,000 gallon ‘super pool’
                        • Golf course
                        • Fitness center
                        • One sand and two grass volleyball courts
                        • A regulation-size basketball court
                        • Prices & Packages: The standard programme offered to adults includes five hours of tennis each day (broken into a morning and afternoon session). Further details can be found here.

                        • IMG Academy



                          Formerly known as the Bollettieri Academy in the ‘80s and ‘90s when the likes of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas and Maria Sharapova were affiliated with arguably the first high performance tennis boarding school, the re-named IMG Academy has broadened its scope beyond tennis. Athletes looking to excel in golf and basketball now live on camps with up and coming tennis stars.

                          No longer aiming for the tour but interested in the methodology that has made Nick Bollettieri a hall of fame coach? There are adult programs to check out.  

                          IMG Sports Academy

                            • Location: Bradenton, Florida
                            • Tennis facilities: Over 50 courts, indoor and outdoor
                            • Teaching staff: There are 5 coaches specialising in adult tennis (including Nick Bollettieri) and approximately 20 more teaching pros on site
                            • Other amenities:
                              • 20+ multi-sport fields
                              • 18 hole golf course
                              • 2 basketball gyms
                              • 2 two 10,000+ square foot weight rooms
                              • Prices & Packages: There are 1, 3 and 5 day camps for adults at all skill levels which include a mix of sessions that emphasize footwork and technical skills, developing match strategy, serve techniques, and attacking skills. For athletes participating in 3- or 5-day programs, they offer morning and afternoon training sessions, performance sessions, video analysis and nutritionally-balanced meals.


                              • Mouratoglou Academy

                              Situated in the South of France, this academy was founded in 1996 by Serena Williams’ current coach: Patrick Mouratoglou. While his fame as a coach is mainly derived from his six-year partnership with Williams, he has an illustrious list of players he’s worked with in the past: Grigor Dimitrov, Jeremy Chardy, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Marcos Baghdatis. Beyond players working with Mouratoglou, the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alizé Cornet have used the facilities for training.


                              Needless to say, if you’re keen to improve your game while having a reasonably high probability of seeing some of the best tennis players in the world (especially during the Europe-based clay court season), this is an option worth looking into.

                              Mouratoglou Academy

                                • Location: Between Nice and Cannes in the French Riviera  
                                • Tennis facilities: 34 clay and hard courts (8 indoors); 6 connected courts using Playsight technology
                                • Teaching staff: The academy has a large roster of tennis coaches and fitness trainers which provide guidance according to the Mouratoglou approach
                                • Other amenities:
                                    • Athletics track and multisports area
                                    • Fitness room and weight lifting area
                                    • Sports-Medicine Center
                                    • 2 pools: one outdoor and indoor
                                    • Prices & packages: The academy offers junior camps and adult camps for varying durations most weeks of the year. The prices vary by season and whether you opt to stay onsite or at a local hotel.

                                    The best tennis resorts to travel to if you mostly want to relax but also play a bit of tennis

                                    • Boca Raton Resort & Club

                                      Boca Raton is a verifiable paradise for golf and tennis fans. There are many tennis facilities and luxury hotels in the area but the Waldorf Astoria is so expansive with such a vast array of premium amenities that it’s reminiscent of a 5 star hotel in Vegas (without the carnage of the strip on its doorstep).

                                      Boca Raton Resort

                                        • Prices & Packages: There are daily drills, camps, lessons and round robins offered at the tennis resort. However, there is a truly unique opportunity to join a 90-minute clinic and 90-minute Q&A with Jimmy Connors if you book in advance as well.

                                        • Punta Mita

                                          If you aren’t familiar with Punta Mita and the idea of spending time on a somewhat secluded island in Mexico with luxury resorts and villas, beaches, golf and tennis facilities is attractive to you, it’s worth looking into further.

                                          The island, situated in the Riviera Nayarit, is easily accessible with direct commercial flights from major airports throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America.

                                          Punta Mita Tennis Resort

                                          • Four Seasons Nevis

                                            If you haven’t seen photos of this destination they’re worth looking up. There’s a volcano on the island which created black lava sand beaches juxtaposed against bright turquoise water. It basically checks most boxes in the ‘island paradise’ category. 

                                            The natural splendour combined with the impeccable amenities at a Four Seasons property will contribute to a memorable vacation.

                                            • Prices & Packages: If you’re after some serious court time, you can pay for an ‘unlimited’ tennis package. Included are five hours of tennis lessons, three tennis clinics and unlimited use of courts and the ball machine. However, if you want to spend less time on the court and take lessons, join a clinic or attend a mixer instead, that is easily arranged. The resort hosts a tennis-themed happy hour each day which sounds like the perfect way to transition from day to night.

                                          Now that you’ve chosen your vacation destination and pulled the trigger on your hotel booking and airline tickets, the next step is packing. Airlines everywhere have become increasingly (and exceedingly!) stingy with baggage allotments for economy tickets. In order to be on the safe side and avoid paying an unanticipated surcharge, why not travel with stylish, versatile bags you can use for any activity or occasion. The Epirus collection was designed for active living, including travelling with tennis rackets. Our extensive research has shown that they fit the guidelines issued by all major airlines.

                                           




                                          Alan Kelly
                                          Alan Kelly

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