a quick introduction: my name is James and earlier this year I joined Active Away on a 12 month internship after graduating from the University of Nottingham. During my time at Uni I was fortunate to spend a large portion of time training alongside, playing with and observing some of the top talents in University and college tennis. In addition to this, when back home, I’ve spent the last 8 years working as a tennis coach at my local club Kenilworth Tennis Club in Warwickshire, eventually hearing about Active Away through clients of the company who play at Kenilworth.
Having been fortunate enough over the last couple of months to sample some of Greece’s highest rated resorts I felt this was the perfect opportunity to kickstart this blog series by revisiting some of my personal highlights with Active Away from 2018 whilst also providing an insight into my thoughts on the resorts I visited.
I began my autumn season at one of the smaller resorts that Active Away tennis holidays frequents – Grecotel Daphnila Bay, Corfu. What this resort lacks in size it more than makes up for with its natural beauty. Corfu has long been regarded as one of the more beautiful Greek islands and
Daphnila Bay, situated on the Eastern Coast, is no exception with lush greenery throughout the resort right down to the water’s edge. The resort’s well-maintained tennis courts are situated on slightly higher ground to the side of the hotel, providing fantastic vistas. The close nature of the tennis set up at Daphnila Bay made for great social afternoon sessions, with the banter flying from court to court as scores got close and friendly rivalries were born. That said, my standout point of my time in Corfu came away from the tennis court. The resort has recently moved up to 5* and one key area its improved in has been the food. A sprawling buffet and 2 beachfront “speciality” restaurants, one Greek and one Italian, mean that guests have plenty of options to choose from. However, it would be foolish to think that this quantity negatively affects the quality and, on more than one occasion, I heard our guests remark that this was the best catered tennis holiday they’d ever experienced. A highlight of mine, which I feel encapsulates the Corfu Active Away tennis holiday experience, was sitting down as a group after an action packed doubles social afternoon at
the beachside Greek restaurant to sample the endless meze options whilst overlooking the tranquil Daphnila Bay. Great views, good food and a delightful tennis holiday set up. What more could you want from your tennis holiday?
What makes for the best tennis holiday is a question we often debate in the office. However, it goes without saying that the tennis facilities themselves are a vital part of any Active Away holiday. This brings us onto Lyttos beach, a 4* resort based in Crete with big ambitions in the tennis world. Offering 27 courts across 3 surfaces of acrylic, artificial grass and artificial clay it’s easy to see why the ITF circuit is also a regular visitor to this venue. I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks of this season at Lyttos Beach and can honestly say I never tired of the setup there. The variety of surfaces meant a new experience for many of our clients at the beginning of the week and it was always great to end the week with our Champagne Social and see so many big smiles as people, having adapted to a new surface, began to put into practice their newly learnt doubles tactics! The end of the week also meant a trip to the vibrant local town of Hersonnisos. Stepping outside of the all-inclusive bubble for the first time in a while meant I had my initial reservations. These could not have been more wide of the mark. Active Away has visited Kymata restaurant for years and it’s not hard to see why. A superb array of food was washed down with a glass of wine and a couple of ouzos and, before you knew it, the whole group was on their feet singing along toNeil Diamond, Whitney Houston and other classics. The rest
aurant is positioned right on the seafront (Kymata means ‘waves’ in Greek) and it’s a fantastic end to cap off the week before dancing the evening away and enjoying a cocktail or two at nearby bar New York!
Just down the road from Lyttos Beach, along the North Coast of Crete, lies Kalimera Kriti, a new resort for Active Away in 2018. The first thing that struck me about Kalimera Kriti was the setting. Behind the resort’s 6 impeccably maintained artificial grass courts lies a stunning mountain range and gorge which provides a staggering backdrop for a morning on the courts. This venue certainly delivers a tennis holiday with a view. The resort itself was built with a traditional sense in mind, with the bungalows and rooms being laid out in a style designed to emulate that of a Cretan village. The courts lie just a stone’s throw away from the accommodation making it a short walk to your room to get changed for the evening after an absorbing social afternoon of doubles!
My travels for the season concluded with a trip to the famed Sani Resort which was recently voted within the top 5 resorts in Europe and number 6 in the world! I’d heard much about Sani before travelling there, both in the office and from our clients, but the resort still managed to exceed my expectations. The attention to detail and service is incredible, with everything right down to the daily room supply of teabags accounted for. The resort offers 6 Canadian clay courts, which are well maintained daily and present a new experience to many of our clients. My week in Sani took place during one of Active Away’s popular family weeks and the fact that all the courts were so close together meant for a brilliant tennis experience whereby the adult sessions could be spread across 3 courts and the kids, separated by their relevant levels and abilities, played on the adjacent 3 courts. Looking back on my Sani experience, there were two particular moments that stood out for me as highlights. Firstly, partying the evening away at the infamous Sani ‘White Party’ for which guests are encouraged to dress all in white, order a cocktail and take in the relaxing ambience of beachfront Bousolas bar. Reaching the middle of the week and seeing so many newly made friends dancing and laughing the night away was a fantastic experience. My second highlight would have to be the end of week tournament. With it being a family week, this provided a great opportunity for parents to join forces with their kids and face off against other families and the
light hearted nature and good feeling that encapsulated this tournament was the perfect way tosign off a season of delivering 5* tennis holidays!
First let me start this blog by saying there is no better way to get fit for tennis than actually playing the game, this is assuming you are fit enough to play. No matter what exercise you do, jogging, gym work etc you will always find playing tennis uses muscles that you didn’t even know existed. So how do you get fit for tennis?
Tennis is such a complex sport it requires so many different physical attributes. You require a good Cardiovascular fitness as well as, strength, power, stamina and flexibility. I am going to look at this not from a Pro players perspective but from a typical tennis holiday client of ours who generally plays doubles from improver to advanced club levels.
Firstly fitness for a doubles player does not have to be anywhere near as high as for a singles player. In doubles you will do lots less running and will get loads more rest than in singles. You will play over half the amount of shots and will only serve 1/4 of the times.
Ways to improve your general tennis fitness. All of the below points will help and I’ve put them in my preferred order of importance.
- Funnily enough I would say try and play some singles! You will be made to move more and you will hit double the amount of balls. Don’t just play points though, try and arranged 1hr practice sessions where you are just trying to stay as consistent as possible. Yes this should be physically hard work and you should be able to get a very good work out if you are not getting out of breath during this session then you are not working hard enough, chase the ball more no double bounces. Do some simple drills like you hit down the line whilst your partner hits cross court.
- Warm up and cool down every time you play. This is the most missed opportunity not only will it help to prevent injury but it will also improve your fitness if you add it to your tennis sessions. Turn up 15mins early forget the preplay chitchat and complete a thorough 15min warm up before hitting a ball (include some jogging, skipping, crossovers during which make sure you are loosening up your upper body. Try and understand your body and loosen off the areas you feel need it the most). At the end of the session spend 10mins stretching all areas of your body.
- Yoga – look no further Yoga will help you improve you flexibility and strength it might also help with you focus on court. If you can’t make any classes then buy a learn yoga dvd and get started at home.
- Jogging – start off with a couple of steady 20-30min jogs per week. Measure your distance and try and improve your time / distance each time. Best to buy running trainers for this not tennis trainers
- Learning to weight train. You are never to old to lift weights, I train with a my good friend Pat who is 75 and holds the world record for combined squat deadlift and bench press he’s a true inspiration. Now I’m not asking you to go crazy but if your were to manage to train with weights 2 times for 45mins per week you will increase your strength dramatically not only this, it will help keep your bones strong, help reduce body fat and help prevent injuries. Done correctly weight training will also improve your core strength. The upside is you will feel stronger when playing shots and will find certain shots will improve due to the extra strength. I would advise you book the services of a good personal trainer who will show you the basic movements and can give you a simple to follow program.
We now offer a ‘tennis fit’ package add on to a number of our hosted tennis holidays
. The package includes the following:
- 3 x 30min Morning jogs and stretch with an instructor.
- 2 x 1hr Yoga sessions (All levels)
- 2 x 1hr group personal training learning to weight train
- 2 x 55min Cardio Tennis sessions
- 1 x Personalised fitness program
The object of ‘tennis fit’ package is to give you the knowledge and understanding of how to improve your basic fitness. The sessions will be fun and informative. At the end of your tennis holiday you will leave with a personalised fitness program which can be easily followed upon your return home following your tennis holiday.
Cost of the above program is £149
. There will need to be a minimum of 5 participants for tennis fit to commence on the tennis holiday.