|By any measure, this has been a difficult year for tennis travel. Personally, I’ve had to cancel four tennis-related trips, including one to Europe, as well as a bike trip to Scotland. So instead of using this newsletter to highlight a region’s tennis or report about new properties or noteworthy developments at old favorites, I feel the need to look at where tennis travel stands given the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not all bad news: many resorts and camps are open and functioning or are about to reopen. In an era of social distancing, the clinics may have lower pro:player ratios and the tennis programming may not be as robust—social round robins are a frequent notable casualty—but tennis directors all across the country are adapting to the new reality and structuring their daily tennis activities to ensure not only everyone’s safety but also their tennis needs. So if you’re ready to reschedule that tennis vacation, this newsletter will give you an idea of what to expect.Otherwise, in miscellaneous news, Cliff Drysdale Tennis has signed on to manage two additional tennis resorts, one in California and their first one in Hawaii. Former world No. 1 and 8-time Grand Slam singles champion Mats Wilander has come out with a wearable training device called NeuroTennis. It’s also a sign of the times that several clothing companies have manufactured face masks for sports. And finally, if you have a Roomba at home but wish there were something equivalent to pick up tennis balls, a company called Tennibot has you covered
Tennis In the Time Of the Coronavirus
When a hurricane strikes the Caribbean or parts of the U.S., it’s painful to report about the affected areas but usually fairly straightforward to list the tennis resorts that suffered damage and outline their timetable for recovery. The coronavirus, by contrast, has brought devastation of an entirely different kind, one that affected not just a geographic region but the world. The pandemic didn’t damage places; it targeted people, and unlike a hurricane that eventually blows itself out, the coronavirus has lingered, drawing renewed strength each time it finds another cluster of vulnerable people
Tennis Resort/Camp News
Drysdale Tennis Adds To Portfolio
Cliff Drysdale Tennis has contracted to manage two additional properties: the Ritz-Carlton, Bacara (pictured above) in Santa Barbara, CA and the Mauna Lani, Auberge Collection Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island. Bacara perches atop a bluff overlooking two miles of beach, a little north of Santa Barbara. Architecturally it resembles a Spanish Colonial village, as winding pathways connect low-slung buildings with open balconies and courtyards with fountains. Within its 78 acres are 311 rooms and suites, a 42,000-square-foot spa, a fitness center, 3 rimless swimming pools, and 4 Har-Tru tennis courts. Its connection to a 1,000-acre lemon and avocado ranch adds more dimensions, like horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Golfers, meanwhile, have privileges at local courses. Drysdale’s Luis Vallecillo runs the programs, having most recently directed the junior programs at the Omni Amelia Island Resort.
Mauna Lani debuted as an Auberge Collection Resort in January of this year following a $200 million “reimagination.” Set on 32 acres of the Kohala Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island, the hotel has long been notable for a seaside location that includes Kalāhuipua’a Historic Park, a sacred place of petroglyphs, royal fishponds, and lava caves. It has 332 rooms and suites as well a five two-bedroom bungalows with private pool and concierge. Other amenities include three restaurants, a beach shack, mini-market, a spa and fitness center, a six-court Cliff Drysdale Tennis Center, two 18-hole and one 9-hole golf course,a water sports center, a kids’ island hideaway, and a cultural center, the last a mini-museum offering guided cultural walks, entertainment, and workshops in lei making, lauhala weaving, mo’olelo story telling, and stargazing. The Drysdale group appointed Matt Dudley, the former Adult Program Director at the California’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, to run the tennis operation. All of his programs, including cardio tennis and pickleball, are open to hotel guests, members, and the general public. (Hawaii opens with some restrictions, including a negative COVID test, on Oct. 15.)
NeuroTennis By Mats Wilander
Former world No. 1 and 8-time Grand Slam singles winner Mats Wilander has developed a wearable wrist band called NeuroTennis that provides coaching instructions as you play. Those instructions are synchronized with the rhythm of your playing, which, the website says “conditions your brain to develop the best skills and habits.” Like so much these days, the band is controlled by an app on your smartphone. From there, you can select and customize lessons and drills from an extensive library designed by our world-class coaches, including Mats Wilander. Unlike other wearable devices that may measure the speed and spin of your ball, or the number of various strokes you hit, Neuro Tennis is designed to help you develop professional-level focus. The intent, says Wilander, is “to modify your game not just measure it.” He continues, “I believe that to reach your full potential, you need to train your brain just as hard as your skills and fitness.” The website shows how it all works.
A Roomba For Tennis Balls
Forget ball hoppers and tennis tubes, Tennibot™ cruises around the court using artificial intelligence and computer vision to gather up all the tennis balls, thus giving you an estimated 20 percent more hitting time. It comes with an app that allows you to program it to pick up everything on both sides of the net, one side only, or only those at the net. And it keeps track of how many it’s picked up so you know how many you’ve hit. See it in action here.
Need a mask for getting to and from the tennis court? Under Armour has you covered, so to speak. Designed to be worn while playing sports, theirs are constructed from layers of washable fabric—the inner one antimicrobial, the outer waterproof—with a bendable nose bridge and SPF 50+ sun protection. Polyurethane open-cell foam middle layer lets air in but makes it hard for moisture and sweat to pass through. A detailed size chart aids in choosing one with the best fit. The cost: $30. Rafa Nadal has also come out with a mask for his academy, priced at €12.90. Not to miss out, adidas, and Reebok also make masks but theirs are currently sold out.
Packages and Discounts
Adult Tennis Camps