In September 2018, the results of a Danish study of nearly 8,600 men and women revealed that active tennis players extended their lives by an average of nearly ten years. Granted, this decade gain was in comparison to those with a sedentary lifestyle, but the lively racquet sport also aced the rest of its competition, with activities such as jogging, swimming, and cycling each increasing longevity by fewer than four years.
In additional good news for tennis players who love to travel, luxury resorts are upping their games. Take, for example, South Carolina’s Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which recently added ten Har-Tru HydroCourts (traditional clay courts require daily watering for maintenance; these use subsurface irrigation, so players never have to wait for the courts to dry), bringing its total count to an impressive 23. In Switzerland, Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa’s new “Diamond Domes” house two indoor Schöpp ProBounce carpeted courts to promote year-round play.
But the renewed focus on tennis at high-end hotels goes way beyond the surface: A number of properties are also pouring plenty of investment into professionals and related activities. Pamela Appleby, a Beverly Hills-based Virtuoso travel advisor, chalks up changes like these to travelers’ demanding schedules. “Many of my clients are busy executives who can barely steal away for court time at their local country club,” she says. “If they’re going to travel somewhere to play, the property, pros, and programming must all be exceptional.”
Case in point: San Diego’s Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, a favorite of Appleby’s and fellow Virtuoso advisors such as Melissa Porzak, who specialize, in part, in active getaways. A tennis pro for 25 years – named Pro of the Year in 1980 by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the first female president of its San Diego division – Porzak is quick to point tennis fans toward her hometown haven. And for good reason, as I learned during my recent visit: The resort excels at helping players of all levels (including those, like me, hoping to brush the rust off my skills after playing for my college team) discover their sweet spot. From getting a grip on your game to following through with some post-play pampering, here’s why you can expect to easily get in the swing of things during your stay.