Thanks to a temperate climate and an array of top-notch facilities, tennis never goes out of season in Bermuda. The only dilemma is deciding whether to play oceanside and contend with a gentle breeze, or opt for an inland court and then take a dip in the pool. Either way, it’s game on.
The Island's Best Courts
At the Fairmont Southampton Tennis Facility, you’ll find six superbly maintained hard courts (three of them with floodlights), a pro shop and experienced coaches managed by Bermuda’s No.1 player, Gavin Manders. A Davis Cup player, his enthusiasm alone will inspire you to up your game. (Try to snag Court 6; it is separate from the others and draws the best ocean breeze. Ex-Wimbledon champ Pat Cash, who owned a home in Bermuda, used to practice with top local players on this court).
Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort and Spa has a tennis facility offering five plexipave courts in a stunning setting quite close to the beach but shielded by tall, evergreen casuarinas and palm trees. There’s a pro shop, bathrooms and courtside water coolers. It’s a family-run enterprise headed by husband and wife duo Laverne and Braxton Stowe. (The pair also manage the twin courts at Newstead Belmont Hills.)
Close to the airport at the East End of the island is Grotto Bay Beach Resort, with four hard courts (two of them floodlit). It's kid-friendly with lots of mini-racquets for hire. Consider booking a massage at the luxurious spa cave at the same time to ease your tired muscles and achieve full relaxation after your workout.
At Rosewood Bermuda, Tucker’s Point Tennis Club has four lighted har-tru, clay courts, a pro shop and locker rooms. This exciting tennis centre has partnered with esteemed management company Cliff Drysdale Tennis. The programme includes innovative retreats and engaging clinics for adults and juniors. Enjoy a post-match pizza at Sul Verde, with phenomenal views over Castle Harbour.
A sprinkling of other resorts have their own courts, among them: The Reefs Resort & Club; Cambridge Beaches; Pompano Beach Club and Coco Reef Resort. Keep your eye on the ball – don't be distracted by the breathtaking vistas.
A sprinkling of top resorts have their own courts.
While every guest in Bermuda is considered a VIP, only the privileged few get to play on the court at magnificent Government House, official home of the Governor, the Queen’s on-island representative. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is among dignitaries who have swung a racquet here.
A resort and private members club, Coral Beach for years hosted the XL Bermuda Open, an ATP event that drew stars like Andy Roddick and James Blake. Set on 21 landscaped and secluded acres, it features eight Har-Tru clay courts and an air of timeless elegance. Forget your neon Nadal-wear, you play in classy all-white here.
The Pomander Gate Tennis Club, just a few minutes outside Hamilton, welcomes guests as temporary members. There are four hard courts and, if you lose in straights sets, you can console yourself with a cocktail at the bar. A fifth court was converted to four pickleball courts – a sport that combines a badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net. Players volley with oversized plastic, table-tennis bats and a plastic ball with holes.
Tennis + Golf
Port Royal is world-famous for its PGA-standard golf course, but there’s tennis at this scenic Southampton location, too, with four hard courts. The talents of many of the island’s best young players have been nurtured here and there’s a welcoming, community feel to the place.
Prices vary but you can pay up to $100 per hour for private lessons and around $20 per hour for court hire (a little more under lights). All levels of proficiency are catered to and hotel guests enjoy discounts.
The Government-run W.E.R. Joell Tennis Stadium is among the less expensive options. A 10-minute walk from Hamilton’s city centre, it has five courts, a practice wall and three clay courts (a good option when it’s showery). Take a handful of quarters or a few $1 BDA coins for the soda/water machine.
Bermuda's Tennis History
Credit one Mary Outerbridge (nee Gray), born in Philadelphia to Bermudian parents, who played the game at Clermont, a house in Paget Parish with a sprawling lawn. Mary’s father, Sir Brownlow Gray, had been given racquets and other equipment by a pal, a Bermuda-based merchant who had learned the game in England.
Older tennis enthusiasts delight in reminding Americans that it was a Bermudian who introduced the game to the U.S.
Mary sailed back to the U.S. and in March 1872 set up the country’s first tennis court, on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket & Baseball Club. Curiously, it was shaped like an hourglass and the first game was played between Mary and her sister Lauren.
Learn more about how Bermuda brought tennis to America.
Most folks believe there are no grass courts left in Bermuda. Well, there's at least one but it’s on a private estate. It’s a long shot but if your coach has a strong link to the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association, who knows, you might wangle your way onto the grass.