Many of us feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful place, yet every now and again you catch a glimpse of an earlier, more innocent Costa del Sol. When such an enchanting setting blends with today’s comforts and amenities it creates something special.
Though a large number of people in this region – local and foreign alike – play tennis and paddle tennis, few will have heard of the Club de Tenis Estepona. Fewer still will be able to place it, not surprisingly assuming it to be in or around Estepona town.
Is it because this is a newly opened facility as yet to be discovered by those who enjoy the sport, atmosphere and social life of a racket club? No, the Estepona Tennis Club is a well-established sports venue with a proud sporting tradition and lively members’ scene.
The reason why this particular tennis club is so relatively unknown can be traced to the fact that throughout its history it has been a private members-only club. So where other facilities admitted both members and ran as a commercial entity welcoming outside players, the Estepona Tennis Club basked in the privacy of a selective status and a beautiful country setting.
Opening its doors
The longstanding splendid seclusion of the Estepona Tennis Club is coming to an end as the club embraces a new era and opens its doors to outside players as well as new members. Like an old gent dusting off his coat and putting a spring in his step, the club has come of age in more ways than one, as last year more new clay courts were added and existing facilities upgraded.
This applies to the tennis and paddle courts as well as a five-a-side pitch, a multi-purpose sports field and of course the clubhouse itself, whose contemporary décor is warm, comfortable and welcoming, offering players and visitors a chance to enjoy a drink or snack inside or overlooking the courts and surrounding greenery from the terrace.
The force behind this revitalisation of the club is Fernando Gil, a majority shareholder who is running the Estepona Tennis Club with his family. “This is a family-oriented club and it is run by a family – my wife Mari, my sons Ferdy and Alberto, and myself,” says the former pro player and long-time professional coach who trained as an international coach in Florida under Nick Bollettieri.
The man who guided such stars as Agassi, Courier, Sharapova, the Williams sisters and Boris Becker. RPT qualified himself, Fernando Gil has worked with the likes of Bjorn Borg and Manolo Santana, and for many years managed the Puente Romano Tennis Club.
He brings his 37 years in the sport to bear at Estepona Tennis, where he has upgraded not only the facilities but also the training programme. Though small and intimate, the club now boasts the level of management usually reserved for the sport’s top establishments, yet Fernando wishes to preserve the relaxed, friendly atmosphere that first drew him to Estepona.
“This is not the kind of club that gives off a snooty vibe or where people come to show off. We are all about the sport, the camaraderie and the social ambience, which is why it’s a place where members, pay-and-play visitors and people who simply wish to sit on the terrace and soak up the atmosphere get on very easily.”
For this reason the club offers coaching classes for individuals, kids and groups at a variety of levels, organises mix-ins during the week and on weekends BBQs with karaoke. The pool is also available, as is the possibility to book the venue for five-a-side games, other sports or functions. “This is a classic tennis club where the people and the sport come first, but it makes sense to make the most of a beautiful country setting that is simply inspiring.”
Indeed, situated just behind Forest Hills in the Estepona countryside, directly inland from Laguna Village, the five clay courts, six conventional courts and six glass paddle tennis courts are surrounded by the kind of pristine countryside that makes you sit back with a sigh of contentment. “We have all nationalities as members and visiting players,” says Fernando, “and I suspect that many of them come as much for the gorgeous location as for the sport.”
For all this, the Club de Tenis Estepona is situated less than ten minutes from the coastal AP-7 road, offering great facilities and a warm welcome to new players and members.
For more information about joining, day rates or discounted seasonal packages contact Fernando Gil and his management team. The club is open seven days a week from 09:00-23:00hrs, 365 days a year.