Tennis in Bermuda
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Bermuda has one tennis court for every 600 residents, a ratio that even the most tennis-crazed countries would find difficult to match. Many are private, but the public has access to more than 70 courts in 20 locations. Courts are inexpensive and seldom full. Hourly rates for nonguests are about $10 to $16. You might want to consider bringing along a few fresh cans of balls, because balls in Bermuda cost $6 to $7 per can—two to three times the rate in the United States. Among the surfaces used in Bermuda are Har-Tru, clay, cork, and hard composites, of which the relatively slow Plexipave composite is the most prevalent. Despite Bermuda's British roots, the island has no grass court.
Wind, heat (in summer), and humidity are the most distinct characteristics of Bermudian tennis. From October through March, when daytime temperatures rarely exceed 80°F, play is comfortable throughout the day. But in summer, the heat radiating from the court (especially hard courts) can make play uncomfortable between 11 am and 3 pm, so some clubs take a midday break. Most tennis facilities offer lessons, ranging from $25 to $30 for 30 minutes of instruction, and racket rentals for $4 to $6 per hour or per play.
P & R Tennis at Grotto Bay Beach Resort. A little more than a stone's throw from the L.F. Wade International Airport, Grotto Bay has four Plexipave cork-based courts, two lighted, with an hourly rate of $12, $15 under the lights. It's open daily, 8 to 7, with a midday break from 11-3 on weekdays. Tennis pros Paul Alves and Romar Douglas offer lessons from $35 per half hour and $55 per full hour. For juniors the cost is $25 per half hour and $40 per hour. Tennis attire is required. 11 Blue Hole Hill, Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, CR04. 441/293-8333 Ext. 1914 or 441/293-3420.
Coral Beach & Tennis Club. Introduction by a member is required to play at this exclusive club, which is the site of the XL Capital Bermuda Open tournament. Coral Beach has eight clay courts, three of which are floodlighted. It's open daily from 8:30 to 1 and from 2 to 6. Resident pro James Collieson is the man to talk to about scheduling lessons, which run $55 for a half hour and $100 for an hour. Tennis whites are required. 34 S. Shore Rd., Paget Parish, PG04. 441/236-2233. www.coralbeachclub.com.
Elbow Beach Tennis Facility. This facility is fortunate to have as its director of tennis David Lambert, who is also a former president of the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association. There are five Plexipave courts on hand, three with lights, and hours of play are 8 am to 7 pm daily. Courts cost $10 per hour for guests of Elbow Beach Resort or $12 per hour for members of the public. Lessons and match play can be arranged for hotel guests or other visitors at $40 per half hour, $75 for the hour. This facility also rents rackets and repairs rackets. Elbow Beach Resort, 60 S. Shore Rd., Paget Parish, PG04. 441/236-8737. www.elbowtennisbda.com.
Fairmont Southampton Tennis Club. Despite their position at the water's edge, the Plexipave hard courts here are reasonably shielded from the wind, although the breeze can be swirling and difficult. Six courts are at hand, costing $19 per hotel guest per day or $15 for a half-day. There's an added cost of $8 per hour to use the floodlights. Hours of service are daily from 8.30 to 6. Lessons from pro Mark Cordeiro are available at $45 per half hour or $90 per hour. Fairmont Southampton, 101 S. Shore Rd., Southampton Parish, SN02. 441/236-6950.
W.E.R. Joell Tennis Stadium. This government-run facility is the busiest of Bermuda's tennis courts, the inland location ideal for combating strong winds. Of the eight all-weather courts available, five are Plexi-Cushion and three are Har-Tru. Three courts in the main stadium have floodlights. Hours are from 8 am to 10 pm weekdays and from 8 to 7 on weekends (closing time is 5 pm during winter months). Rates are $10 per hour during the day and $20 per hour at night. Tennis attire is required, and lessons are available starting at $35 per half hour and $75 per full hour. 2 Marsh Folly Rd., Pembroke Parish, HM13. 441/292-0105.
Pomander Gate Tennis Club. There are five hard courts available (four with lighting) at this scenic club located off Hamilton Harbour. Temporary membership is available for $35 per couple per week. Hours of play are 7 am to 11 pm on weekdays, until 10 pm on weekends. 21 Pomander Rd., Paget Parish, PG05. 441/236-5400.
Port Royal Tennis Courts. Port Royal Golf Course has four hard courts tucked away to the west of the clubhouse, two of which are floodlit. A host of pros, including head pro Steve Bean, are on hand to offer instruction. Lessons are $40 per half-hour and $75 per hour. Rates for court play are the cheapest on the island; $10 per hour in the day and $15 per hour at night—it's open until 10 pm. Port Royal Golf Course, 5 Middle Rd., Southampton Parish, SNBX. 441/535-3695.
Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association. Established in 1964, the association is the governing body for tennis in Bermuda and hosts all the important tennis events on the island. Ask for an events calendar. 441/296-0834. www.blta.bm.
International Beach Tennis Tournament. The pink sand of Horseshoe Bay hosts the island's beach tennis tournaments at the end of August. A cross between tennis and beach volleyball, the three-day tournament features "stars" of the game, plus an amateur division that anyone can enter. If you're not visiting in August, the Bermuda Beach Tennis Association runs regular pickup games at Horseshoe Bay every Sunday from 1 to 5 pm throughout the summer. 441/334-8669. www.bermudabeachtennis.com.
XL Capital Bermuda Open. The clay courts at the Coral Beach & Tennis Club host this ATP Tour, a USTA-sanctioned event with the world's top professionals. Big names, such as Patrick Rafter and Todd Eldridge, have played in this event, as well as several of Bermuda's own tennis stars, such as James Collieson. Once held every April, is no longer an annual event. In November there's back-to-back tournament activity at the club, too. The action begins with the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Club Invitational followed by the Coral Beach Club Invitational.
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