As someone who believes tennis to be an outdoor game, the famously damp and gloomy weather that forms the basis of a winter in northern Europe invariably means I don’t get to play much between October and March.
But a February trip to Marbella’s five-star Puente Romano resort to watch Great Britain versus Spain in the Davis Cup (a thrilling affair with a vociferous crowd) led to the discovery of plans to introduce a high-end coaching programme overseen by Novak Djokovic’s brother Marko and world-class Spanish professional David Sánchez.
The Puente Romano Tennis Club was opened by Swedish former number one Bjorn Borg in 1979 and boasts 10 immaculately maintained courts that, thanks to the area’s clement weather, offer the opportunity to enjoy the sport year-round.
And now, thanks to the introduction of the Master the Art of Tennis package, it’s possible to not only to stay on your mettle during an English “off season”, but also to improve your game in advance of spring.
The three-night package (from €1,731) combines a stay in a junior suite with four private tennis classes, including lessons with Marko Djokovic and the newly recruited Sánchez, who brings a wealth of experience such as playing in the Australian Open and appearances at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon.
You’ll also be invited to two gym classes designed to improve your “tennis fitness” and two 50-minute sports massages – and, of course, the opportunity to use the impressive facilities at the resort, which is built in the style of an Andalusian village with subtropical gardens, three swimming pools, 11 restaurants (including Nobu Marbella) and a Six Senses spa overlooking the sea.
Adult players with tennis-mad children in tow can also take advantage of the Amor & Paz School run by two of Novak Djokovic’s coaches, Pepe Imaz and Marko Djokovic. The “mindfulness-based” teaching method is open to children aged between three and 16 and uses a “shot visualisation” technique rather than conventional repetitions and drills.
Those looking to experience an interesting take on conventional tennis, meanwhile, might like to try their hand on one of Puente Romano’s four courts dedicated to padel tennis, the game created in Mexico and championed on the Costa del Sol. It is played on a smaller court with end walls, off which shots can be played.