Island Tales
Tennis on the Islands ©
- Libby Boren McMillan

Whether you're looking for a game, a new outfit, or a little instruction, you'll soon come to associate Sanibel and Captiva Islands with tennis. The popular sport, which is played year-round on the islands, is a great way to meet new friends. Many visitors find they are able to play with local friends year after year.

Check in with a few of the local pro shops and see what's cooking on the courts near you.

'Tween Waters Inn on Captiva has two hard-surface courts for guests. Tuesday, Thursday And Saturday mornings, the resort also offers clinics from 9:00-11:00 am. by a local teaching pro. The courts often enjoy a sea breeze from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. You will, however, find yourself distracted by the view of the resort's (very) large swimming pool and pool bar, located directly adjacent to the courts. Perhaps you can use this to your advantage! Call 239-472-5161 for more information.

Tennis at Sundial Resort, Sanibel
Photo courtsey of Sundial Resort

Head pro Toni Halski has enjoyed giving lessons at Sundial Beach Resort on Sanibel for more than two decades. Guests and the public are invited to sign up for clinics or lessons. Lessons are available by the hour or half-hour with resort pros.

Sundial also works hard to arrange matches between guests, locals and visitors staying at nearby resorts, so check in at the pro shop when you arrive on-island.

Families who play will especially enjoy the ambience at Sundial's courts, where proud parents watch the one-hour Junior clinics, and half-hour Tiny Tot clinics daily. Adult clinics are also offered each day, and round robins are organized when enough guests are in residence.

Racquets are available for rent for on-property use, and the resort has a ball machine available for rental. You'll also have the opportunity to shop for women's clothing and tennis accessories. Balls are sold by the sleeve, and racquet stringing is another service offered.

Sundial has a very active tournament schedule from May through November, including NTRP and USTA tournaments. This fall, the resort expects another big turnout for two popular annual tourneys - October's Champagne Sips, with champagne iced down on each court for sipping between matches - and November's Turkey Bowl. These two particular tournaments attract a large number of local participation, so suit up, come out and see how much fun you can have. For more information call the Sundial pro shop at 239-395-6016.

On Sanibel, serious players often gravitate to The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club on Sandcastle Road. Offering seven clay courts at their popular tennis center, The Dunes gladly takes reservations from non-members for court-time. The Dunes is open daily.

Visitors can beef up their game with the help of longtime head pro Terry See, who offers private lessons, group lessons and round robins throughout the week.

The Dunes shop, carrying apparel, tennis shoes, racquets and all accessories. As a full-service shop, it also provides restrings and gripping. Of particular interest will be the wide array of demo racquets that people can rent, prior to making the "big decision" of racquet replacement. Players can also rent any one of three ball machines.

Should you feel the desire for a cocktail, snack or meal after crushing your opponent, head straight for the nearby clubhouse restaurant and lounge.
The Dunes also conducts several tournaments throughout the year. For more information, call The Dunes tennis pro shop at 239-472-3522.

The year 2000 saw a terrific new tennis center opened on the islands. Beachview Golf & Tennis Club on Sanibel Island is a state-of-the-art facility, with five sub-irrigated HydroGrid courts. They didn't mess around when choosing a pro, either; Beachview's head tennis pro Justin Touchstone was ranked #1 in Florida in the 25 And Older division, in the year 2000.
Being a relative newcomer to the tennis scene on-island, Beachview offers highly personalized service. Monthly and weekly tennis memberships are available, or you may pay-as-you-play, with hourly court fees. (The perk of membership is a reduced rate on several games).

The full-service pro shop offers apparel, equipment and stringing, as well as racquet rental.

The tennis scene on Sanibel is HUGE!

Both adults and children can participate in specialized clinics, or sign up for private lessons by the hour. Round robins are arranged in season.
Each year, Beachview holds several special events and exhibition matches. A local favorite is the exhibition for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; for the last 2 years, Johan Kreik has played this particular Beachview event. For more information, call Beachview at 239-472-9099.

Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa is located at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, adjacent to the Sanibel causeway tollbooths. Having twice hosted the Davis Cup, this impressive tennis center sports grandstands; take a short drive and treat yourself to a match on Center Court!
The tennis center is open to guests of the hotel, and members. The facility offers 8 clay courts, rental racquets and private or semi-private lessons by the hour or half hour. At 10 am daily the Pro conducts a "Stroke of the Day" clinic. The pro shop carries tennis apparel, and is open to the public.
For more information, call the tennis pro shop at 239-466-2159.

* Originally published in Times of the Islands - 9/01
© Libby Boren McMillan - Legal Rights Apply

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